The Hgew virus belongs to the STOP Djvu ransomware family. This malware is notorious for its ability to maliciously encrypt files. Once the Hgew virus infiltrates your computer, it scans for various file types including photos, videos, documents, and more. It alters the file structure by appending the “.hgew” extension to each file, rendering them inaccessible and unusable unless a decryption key is provided.
Hgew Virus Overview
🤔 Hgew virus is ransomware that originates from the DJVU/STOP ransomware family. Its primary purpose is to lock all of your files it can reach. After that ransomware virus asks to pay the ransom – ($490 – $980) in Bitcoin.
The Hgew virus falls under the category of malware that encrypts your files and pressures you into paying for their recovery. This malicious software targets a wide range of file types, which can be identified by the distinctive “.hgew” extension. Consequently, files affected by this ransomware become inaccessible and unusable.
Following the encryption process, the ransomware demands a payment in Bitcoin for file decryption, typically ranging from $490 to $980. The instructions for making this payment are usually provided in a text file named “_readme.txt“.
The Hgew Ransomware utilizes Salsa20 encryption algorithms to encrypt files. Due to this robust encryption method, finding the decryption key without the assistance of the attackers is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.
Upon completing the encryption process, the Hgew malware displays a ransom note to the victim, demanding a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. This ransom note includes instructions for fulfilling the payment and often includes threats of permanent data loss or an increase in the ransom amount if the demands are not met within a specified timeframe.
I have created an all-encompassing list of the solutions, advice, and practices to remove the Hgew ransomware and decrypt your files. There are cases where it may be possible to restore your files, but sometimes, it may be impossible.
📌 Important Reminder!
It is essential to voice that paying off the bill does not guarantee the successful recovery of your files. The rascals who stand behind the Hgew virus are not trustworthy. There have been instances where victims have paid the ransom, only to be denied by the cyber criminals with the decryption key provision.
Hgew uses a unique key for every victim, with one exception:
- If Hgew fails to connect the command and control server (C&C) before starting the encryption process, it resorts to using offline keys. An offline key is not unique and is the same for all users, which allows for the decryption of files encrypted by the ransomware.
The Hgew virus is similar to other DJVU ransomware variants like Hgfu, Hgkd, Hgml, and Rzew. This virus encrypts a wide range of common file types and appends its distinct “.hgew” extension to all files. For instance, a file named “1.jpg” would be altered to “1.jpg.hgew” and “2.png” to “2.png.hgew“.
After successful encryption, the virus spawns a special text file named “_readme.txt” and places it in every folder containing the encrypted files. It also adds the readme file to the desktop, so the user will not miss the attack even without opening folders.
The image below provides a visual representation of files with the “hgew” extension:
|Ransomware family1||DJVU/STOP2 ransomware|
|Ransom||From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)|
|Contact||[email protected], [email protected]|
|Detection||Ransom:MSIL/PenTera.F!MSR Virus Removal, Win32/Injector.CNJW Virus Removal, Win32/Patched.IP Virus Removal|
To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:
6-day free trial available.
This message asking payment is for restore files via decryption key:
Hgew ransomware arrives as a set of operations that are needed to carry out different activities on a victim’s computer. One of the first processes being launched is winupdate.exe, a tricky process that shows a fraudulent Windows update pop-up during the attack. This is meant to convince the victim that a sudden PC slowdown is caused by a Windows update.
Simultaneously, the ransomware runs another process (named as 4 random chars) which starts scanning the PC for target files and ciphering them. Then the ransomware deletes Volume Shadow Copies from the system disk through the following CMD command:
vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet
Once removed, it becomes impossible to restore the previous computer state using System Restore Points. The issue is, ransomware operators are getting rid of any built-in Windows methods that could aid the victim to restore files for free. In addition, the rascals modify the Windows HOSTS file by including a list of domains to it and linking them to the localhost IP. As a result, the victim will witness a DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error when accessing one of the blacklisted websites.
We’ve observed that ransomware attempts to block websites that publish various how-to guides for computer users. It is clear that by limiting specific domains, the malefactors are attempting to stop the victim from reaching relevant and helpful ransomware-attack-related information online. This malware also stores two .txt files on the victim’s computer that present attack-related information – the victim’s public key and personal ID. These two files are named bowsakkdestx.txt and PersonalID.txt.
After all these changes, the malware doesn’t halt. Variants of STOP/DJVU have a tendency to release Vidar password-stealing Trojan on compromised systems. This threat possesses an large list of capabilities, including:
- Manipulating and viewing files on the victim’s computer without their knowledge.
- Extracting sensitive information such as browser cookies, saved passwords, and browsing history.
- Obtaining unauthorized access to login credentials of Steam, Telegram, and Skype.
- Granting the hackers remote control over the victim’s computer for various malicious activities.
- Stealing cryptocurrency wallets from the victim’s system.
- Gathering sensitive data by running malicious software on the victim’s computer.
The cryptography algorithm used by DJVU/STOP virus is AES-256. So, if your data got encrypted with an online decryption key, the chances to get your files back are quite low. Thing is, the key is unique for each victim, and finding a suitable one will take too much time.
Obtaining the online decryption key in any other way is also close to impossible. It is stored on a remote server controlled by the criminals who promote the Hgew infection. For receiving unlocking key the payment should be $980. To get the payment details, the victims should contact the fraudsters by email ([email protected]).
The message by the ransomware states the following information:
ATTENTION! Don't worry, you can return all your files! All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key. The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you. This software will decrypt all your encrypted files. What guarantees you have? You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free. But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information. You can get and look video overview decrypt tool: https://we.tl/t-WJa63R98Ku Price of private key and decrypt software is $980. Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490. Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment. Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours. To get this software you need write on our e-mail: [email protected] Reserve e-mail address to contact us: [email protected] Your personal ID: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Do not pay the ransom!
Please, try to use the available backups, or Decrypter tool
The _readme.txt document also requests that the system user should contact the hackers’ representatives within 72 hours since the file encryption. If user contacts hackers during 72 hours, hackers grant a 50% discount. This decreases the ransom sum down to $490.
Yet, stay away from paying the ransom! I highly recommend that you to avoid contacting these swindlers and do not pay. A highly effective solution to regain the lost data is just using the available backups, or using Decrypter tool from Emsisoft.
The distinctiveness of all such viruses is the application a similar set of actions for generating the unique decryption key to recover the ciphered data. Thus, unless the ransomware is still in development or exhibits some hard-to-track flaws, manual data recovery is a thing you can’t perform. The only solution to prevent the loss of your valuable data is to regularly make backups of your crucial files.
Remember that even if you do maintain such backups regularly, they must be stored into a specific location without loitering, not being connected to your main workstation. For instance, the backup may be kept on the USB flash drive or some alternative external hard drive storage. Alternatively, you may rely to the help of online (cloud) information storage.
Needless to say, when you maintain your backup data on your common device, it may be similarly ciphered as well as other data. For this reason, storing the backup on your computer’s disk is surely not a wise idea.
How I was infected?
Ransomware has a various methods to built into your system. But it doesn’t really matter what way had place in your case.
Ransomware attack following a successful phishing attempt.
Nevertheless, these are the common leaks through which it may be injected into your PC:
- Utilizing online free hosting resources to distribute the virus discreetly.
- Disguising the virus installer within other apps, particularly utilities offered as freeware or shareware.
- Propagation through spam emails containing dubious links leading to the virus installation.
- Downloading pirated software from illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) resources, which may include hidden malware.
There were cases when the Hgew virus was disguised as a legit procedure, for example, the messages demanding to install a browser update or a vastly needed codec for online media playback. This is typically the way how some online frauds aim to force you into installing the ransomware manually, by actually making you directly participate in this process.
Surely, the bogus update alert will not indicate that you are going to actually install the virus. This process will be concealed under some alert stating that you should install an urgent security update or some dubious program whatsoever.
Certainly, the software cracks represent the threat as well. Using P2P is both illegal and may result in the introduction of severe malware, including the Hgew ransomware.
To sum up, what can you do to avoid the penetration of the ransomware into your PC? Even though there is no 100% assurance to prevent your PC from getting compromised, there are some tips I want to give you to prevent the Hgew penetration. You must be vigilant while setting up free software today.
Ensure you always read what the installation window offers aside from the main free program. Keep away from opening questionable email attachments. Do not run files from the unknown addressees. Naturally, your current anti-malware program must always be updated.
The malware does not show itself openly. It will not appear in the list of your available programs. Instead, it will be masked under some malevolent process running consistently in the background, that starts at the moment when you start your computer.
How To Remove Ransomware?
Remove Hgew Virus with Gridinsoft Anti-Malware
We have also been using this software on our systems ever since, and it has always been successful in detecting viruses. It has blocked the most common Ransomware as shown from our tests with the software, and we assure you that it can remove Hgew Virus as well as other malware hiding on your computer.
To use Gridinsoft for remove malicious threats, follow the steps below:
1. Begin by downloading Gridinsoft Anti-Malware, accessible via the blue button below or directly from the official website gridinsoft.com.
2.Once the Gridinsoft setup file (setup-gridinsoft-fix.exe) is downloaded, execute it by clicking on the file.
3.Follow the installation setup wizard's instructions diligently.
4. Access the "Scan Tab" on the application's start screen and launch a comprehensive "Full Scan" to examine your entire computer. This inclusive scan encompasses the memory, startup items, the registry, services, drivers, and all files, ensuring that it detects malware hidden in all possible locations.
Be patient, as the scan duration depends on the number of files and your computer's hardware capabilities. Use this time to relax or attend to other tasks.
5. Upon completion, Anti-Malware will present a detailed report containing all the detected malicious items and threats on your PC.
6. Select all the identified items from the report and confidently click the "Clean Now" button. This action will safely remove the malicious files from your computer, transferring them to the secure quarantine zone of the anti-malware program to prevent any further harmful actions.
8. If prompted, restart your computer to finalize the full system scan procedure. This step is crucial to ensure thorough removal of any remaining threats. After the restart, Gridinsoft Anti-Malware will open and display a message confirming the completion of the scan.
Remember Gridinsoft offers a 6-day free trial. This means you can take advantage of the trial period at no cost to experience the full benefits of the software and prevent any future malware infections on your system. Embrace this opportunity to fortify your computer's security without any financial commitment.
Trojan Killer for “Hgew Virus” removal on locked PC
In situations where it becomes impossible to download antivirus applications directly onto the infected computer due to malware blocking access to websites, an alternative solution is to utilize the Trojan Killer application.
There is a really little number of security tools that are able to be set up on the USB drives, and antiviruses that can do so in most cases require to obtain quite an expensive license. For this instance, I can recommend you to use another solution of GridinSoft - Trojan Killer Portable. It has a 14-days cost-free trial mode that offers the entire features of the paid version. This term will definitely be 100% enough to wipe malware out.
Trojan Killer is a valuable tool in your cybersecurity arsenal, helping you to effectively remove malware from infected computers. Now, we will walk you through the process of using Trojan Killer from a USB flash drive to scan and remove malware on an infected PC. Remember, always obtain permission to scan and remove malware from a computer that you do not own.
Step 1: Download & Install Trojan Killer on a Clean Computer:
1. Go to the official GridinSoft website (gridinsoft.com) and download Trojan Killer to a computer that is not infected.
2. Insert a USB flash drive into this computer.
3. Install Trojan Killer to the "removable drive" following the on-screen instructions.
4. Once the installation is complete, launch Trojan Killer.
Step 2: Update Signature Databases:
5. After launching Trojan Killer, ensure that your computer is connected to the Internet.
6. Click "Update" icon to download the latest signature databases, which will ensure the tool can detect the most recent threats.
Step 3: Scan the Infected PC:
7. Safely eject the USB flash drive from the clean computer.
8. Boot the infected computer to the Safe Mode.
9. Insert the USB flash drive.
10. Run tk.exe
11. Once the program is open, click on "Full Scan" to begin the malware scanning process.
Step 4: Remove Found Threats:
12. After the scan is complete, Trojan Killer will display a list of detected threats.
13. Click on "Cure PC!" to remove the identified malware from the infected PC.
14. Follow any additional on-screen prompts to complete the removal process.
Step 5: Restart Your Computer:
15. Once the threats are removed, click on "Restart PC" to reboot your computer.
16. Remove the USB flash drive from the infected computer.
Congratulations on effectively removing Hgew Virus and the concealed threats from your computer! You can now have peace of mind, knowing that they won't resurface again. Thanks to Gridinsoft's capabilities and commitment to cybersecurity, your system is now protected.
How To Decrypt .hgew Files?
How to restore big files?
Try deleting .hgew extension on a few big files and opening them. This malware has issues with large files encryption. Either the virus read and did not lock the file, or it bugged and did not add the filemarker. If you have files that are very large (2GB+), such a situation is highly probable. Please, text me in the comments whether this helped you or not.
As a result of the changes made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer backed. It has been replaced with the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu Ransomware developed by Emsisoft.
You can download free decryption tool here: Decryptor for STOP Djvu.
Download and run decryption tool.
Start downloading the decryption tool.
Make sure to launch the decryption utility as an administrator. You need to agree with the license terms that will come up. For this purpose, click on the “Yes” button:
As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:
Select folders for decryption.
Based on the default configurations, the decryptor will automatically choose the reachable directories in order to decode the currently reachable drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. You can select additional locations with the “Add” button.
Decryptors usually propose several options considering the specific malware family. The existing possible options are presented in the Options tab and can be enabled or disabled there. You may locate a detailed list of the currently active Options below.
Click on the “Decrypt” button.
As soon as you add all the desired locations for decryption into the list, click on the “Decrypt” button in order to initiate the decryption procedure.
Note that the main screen may turn you to a status view, letting you know of the active process and the decryption statistics of your data:
The decryptor will notify you as soon as the decryption procedure is completed. If you need the report for your personal papers, you can save it by choosing the “Save log” button. Note that it is also possible to copy it directly to your clipboard and to paste it into emails or messages here if you need to do so.
The Emsisoft Decryptor might display different messages after a failed attempt to restore your files:
✓ Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [your ID]
✓ No key for New Variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
✓ Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
It can take a few weeks or months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. Please follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here.
✓ Remote name could not be resolved
How to Restore .hgew Files?
In some case ransomware is not doom for your files…
The Hgew ransomware encryption mechanism feature is next: it encrypts every file byte-by-byte, then saves a duplicate, erasing (not overriding!) the original file. Thus, the information of the file location on the physical disk is lost, but the original file is not erased from the drive. The cell, or the sector where this file was kept, can still hold this file, but it is not present in the file system and can be replaced by data that has been loaded to this disk after the removal. Hence, it is possible to recover your files using special software.
Anyway, after realizing it was an online algorithm, it is impossible to retrieve my encrypted files. I also had my backup drive plugged in at the time of the virus, and this was also infected, or so I thought. Every folder within my backup drive had been infected and was encrypted. However, despite losing some important files, I retrieved almost 80% of my 2TB storage.
When I started going through the folders, I noticed the readme.txt ransom note in every folder. I opened some of the folders and found that all files that were not in a subfolder within that folder had been encrypted. However, I found a flaw and glimmer of hope when I went into the subfolders in other folders and found that these files had not been encrypted. Every folder within my c and d drives, including subfolders, had been encrypted, but this was not the case with the backup drive. Having subfolders created within a folder has saved 80% of my data.
As I said, I believe this to be only a small loophole on a backup drive. I’ve since found a further 10 % of my data on another hard drive on a different pc. So my advice is if you use a backup drive, create subfolders. I was lucky, I guess. But I was also unlucky that the virus hit as I was transferring some files from my backup.
Hopefully, this can help some other people in my situation.Jamie Newland
Recovering your files with PhotoRec
PhotoRec is an free program, which is originally created for file retrieval from damaged disks, or for file retrieval in case if they are unintentionally deleted. However, as time has gone by, this program got the ability to retrieve the files of 400 different file types. Hence, it can be used for file restoration after the Hgew attack.
First, you need to download this app. It is 100% free, but the developer states that there is no assurance that your files will be recovered. PhotoRec is distributed in a pack with another program of the same developer – TestDisk. The downloaded archive will have TestDisk name, but don’t worry. PhotoRec files are right inside.
To launch PhotoRec, you need to find and open “qphotorec_win.exe” file. No installation is required – this program has all the files it need within the archive, hence, you can mount it on your USB drive, and help your friends/parents/anyone who has been attacked by Hgew ransomware.
Upon the start, you will encounter the screen showing you the entire list of your disk drives. However, this details are presumably futile, because the required menu is placed a bit higher. Click this tab, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.
After picking the disk, you need to pick the destination folder for the retrieved files. This menu is located at the lower part of the PhotoRec window. The best selection is to export them on USB drive or any other type of removable disk.
Then, you need to indicate the file formats. This option is located at the bottom, too. As it was mentioned, PhotoRec can retrieve the files of about 400 different formats.
Finally, you can start files restoration by pressing the “Search” button. You will view the screen where the results of the scan and recovery are shown.
Hgew files recovery Video Guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
No way. These files are encrypted by ransomware. The contents of encrypted files are not available until they are decrypted.
If your data remained in the .hgew files are very valuable, then most likely you made a backup copy.
If not, then you can try to restore them through the system function – Restore Point.
All other methods will require patience.
Of course not. Your encrypted files do not pose a threat to the computer. What happened has already happened.
You need GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove active system infections. The virus that encrypted your files is most likely still active and periodically runs a test for the ability to encrypt even more files. Also, these viruses install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions (for example, theft of passwords, credit cards) often.
In this situation, you need to prepare the memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer.
Have patience. You are infected with the new version of STOP/DJVU ransomware, and decryption keys have not yet been released. Follow the news on our website.
We will keep you posted on when new keys or new decryption programs appear.
The Hgew ransomware encrypts only the first 150KB of files. So MP3 files are rather large, some media players (Winamp for example) may be able to play the files, but – the first 3-5 seconds (the encrypted portion) will be missing.
You can try to find a copy of an original file that was encrypted:
- Files you downloaded from the Internet that were encrypted and you can download again to get the original.
- Pictures that you shared with family and friends that they can just send back to you.
- Photos that you uploaded on social media or cloud services like Carbonite, OneDrive, iDrive, Google Drive, etc
- Attachments in emails you sent or received and saved.
- Files on an older computer, flash drive, external drive, camera memory card, or iPhone where you transferred data to the infected computer.
If the guide doesn’t help you to remove infection, please download the GridinSoft Anti-Malware that I recommended. Do not forget to share your experience in solving the problem. Please leave a comment here! This can help other victims to understand they are not alone. And together we will find ways to deal with this issue.
I need your help to share this article.
It is your turn to help other people. I have written this guide to help people like you. You can use buttons below to share this on your favorite social media Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.Brendan Smith
How To Restore & Decrypt .HGEW Files?
Name: HGEW Ransomware
Description: The HGEW Virus belongs to the STOP/DJVU family of ransomware infections. This malicious software encrypts various file types, including videos, photos, and documents, which become identifiable by a distinct hgew extension. As a result, the affected files become inaccessible and unusable. Subsequently, the HGEW ransomware demands a ransom payment in Bitcoin from its victims, ranging from $490 to $980.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
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