NETLOCK Virus 🔐 (.NETLOCK Files) — How to Remove?

Written by Brendan Smith
The Netlock virus belongs to the MedusaLocker ransomware family. Ransomware of this type encrypts all the data on your computer (photos, documents, excel tables, music, videos, etc) and appends its extra extension to every file, creating the how_to_back_files.html text files in each directory containing encrypted files.
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What is known about the Netlockvirus?

☝️ A scientifically accurate description for the Netlock is “a MedusaLocker family ransomware-type infection”.

Netlock will add its specific .netlock extension to the title of each encoded file. For instance, a file entitled “photo.jpg” will be changed to “photo.jpg.netlock”. In the same manner, the Excel sheet with the name “table.xlsx” will end up as “table.xlsx.netlock”, and so on.

In every directory that contains the encrypted files, a how_to_back_files.html file will be created. It is a ransom money note. It contains information about the ways of paying the ransom and some other information. The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to buy the decryption tool from the tamperers. That is it.

Netlock overview:
Name Netlock Virus
Ransomware family1 MedusaLocker ransomware
Extension .netlock
Ransomware note how_to_back_files.html
Detection Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Cryptodef.zv, Ransom:Win32/StopCrypt.SK!MTB, Trojan:Win32/Phorpiex.AE!MTB
Symptoms Your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .netlock extension and you can’t open them.
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Netlock virus

In the screenshot below, you can see what a folder with files encrypted by the Netlock looks like. Each filename has the “.netlock” extension added to it.

Netlock Virus - encrypted .netlock files

An example of encrypted .netlock files.

How did my machine catch Netlock ransomware?

There are many possible ways of ransomware infiltration.

Nowadays, there are three most exploited ways for tamperers to have ransomware settled in your system. These are email spam, Trojan infiltration and peer-to-peer networks.

If you open your inbox and see letters that look like familiar notifications from utility services companies, delivery agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is unknown to you, beware of opening those emails. They are very likely to have a malware file enclosed in them. So it is even riskier to download any attachments that come with emails like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan virus model2. A Trojan is a program that gets into your machine pretending to be something else. Imagine, you download an installer of some program you need or an update for some service. However, what is unpacked turns out to be a harmful agent that encrypts your data. As the update file can have any title and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the source of the stuff you’re downloading. The best thing is to trust the software developers’ official websites.

As for the peer file transfer protocols like torrents or eMule, the threat is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Web. You can never guess what you download until you get it. So you’d better be using trustworthy resources. Also, it is a good idea to scan the directory containing the downloaded objects with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is complete.

How to remove the Netlock virus?

It is crucial to note that besides encrypting your data, the Netlock virus will most likely install the Azorult Spyware on your computer to seize your credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned program can extract your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.

Often racketeers would unblock several of your files so you know that they indeed have the decryption program. As Netlock virus is a relatively new ransomware, safety measures developers have not yet found a way to reverse its work. Nevertheless, the decoding instruments are frequently updated, so the solution may soon be available.

Of course, if the malefactors do the job of encrypting victim’s essential files, the desperate person will probably fulfill their demands. Despite that, paying to criminals gives no guarantee that you’re getting your files back. It is still dangerous. After receiving the money, the racketeers may send a wrong decryption code to the injured party. There were reports about ransomware developers simply disappearing after getting the ransom without even bothering to reply.

The optimal safety measure against ransomware is to have a system restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud disk or at least on an external drive. Surely, that might be not enough. The most crucial thing could be that file you were working upon when it all went down. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also reasonable to scan your drives with the anti-malware utility after the system is rolled back.

Netlock is not the only ransomware of its kind, since there are other specimens of ransomware out there that act in the same manner. Examples of those are Eewt, Aawt, Mmdt, and some others. The two major differences between them and the Netlock are the ransom amount and the method of encryption. The rest is the same: files become encoded, their extensions altered, ransom notes emerge in every directory containing encrypted files.

Some fortunate people were able to decrypt the arrested files with the help of the free software provided by anti-malware developers. Sometimes the hackers accidentally send the decoding code to the victims in the ransom readme. Such an epic fail allows the injured part to restore the files. But obviously, one should never rely on such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a criminals’ instrument to lay their hands on the money of their victims.

How to avoid ransomware attack?

Netlock ransomware has no endless power, neither does any similar malware.

You can armour your computer from ransomware injection taking three easy steps:

  • Never open any letters from unknown senders with unknown addresses, or with content that has likely no connection to something you are expecting (can you win in a lottery without participating in it?). In case the email subject is more or less something you are expecting, check all elements of the suspicious letter with caution. A hoax letter will always contain mistakes.
  • Avoid using cracked or untrusted programs. Trojan viruses are often shared as an element of cracked products, most likely under the guise of “patch” which prevents the license check. But untrusted programs are difficult to distinguish from trustworthy software, because trojans sometimes have the functionality you need. Try searching for information on this program on the anti-malware forums, but the best way is not to use such software.
  • And finally, to be sure about the safety of the files you downloaded, use GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a perfect shield for your PC.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft3

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft4.

Download Removal Tool.

You can download GridinSoft Anti-Malware by clicking the button below:

Run the setup file.

When setup file has finished downloading, double-click on the setup-antimalware-fix.exe file to install GridinSoft Anti-Malware on your system.

Run Setup.exe

An User Account Control asking you about to allow GridinSoft Anti-Malware to make changes to your device. So, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Setup

Press “Install” button.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Install

Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Splash-Screen

Wait for the Anti-Malware scan to complete.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your computer for Netlock infections and other malicious programs. This process can take a 20-30 minutes, so I suggest you periodically check on the status of the scan process.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scanning

Click on “Clean Now”.

When the scan has finished, you will see the list of infections that GridinSoft Anti-Malware has detected. To remove them click on the “Clean Now” button in right corner.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

FAQ

🤔 How can I open “.netlock” files?Are the “.netlock” files accessible?

Negative. That is why ransomware is so frustrating. Until you decode the “.netlock” files you will not be able to access them.

🤔 I really need to decrypt those “.netlock” files ASAP. How can I do that?

It’s good if you have fаr-sightedly saved copies of these important files elsewhere. In case you haven’t, there is still a chance that you do have a Restore Point from some time ago to roll back the whole system to the moment when it had no virus yet, but already had your files. All other solutions require time.

🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to get rid of the Netlock virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?

No way! The encrypted files are not harmful, so they won’t be deleted.

With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your PC off the actual viruses. The virus that has infiltrated your device is probably still active and it scans your system from time to time to arrest any new files you might create on your PC after the initial attack. As it has been mentioned above, the Netlock ransomware does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide malefactors with easy access to your computer after some time.

🤔 What should I do if the Netlock virus has blocked my computer and I can’t get the activation code.

In such a case, you need to have a flash memory drive with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to do the cleaning. The point is that the ransomware runs automatically as the system launches and encodes any new files created or brought into your PC. To stop this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital applications to run upon system boot. Consider reading our manual on booting Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What could help the situation right now?

Some of the encrypted data can be located elsewhere.

  • If you sent or received your important files through email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
  • You may have shared images or videos with your friends or relatives. Just ask them to post those pictures back to you.
  • If you have initially downloaded any of your files from the Web, you can try to do it again.
  • Your messengers, social media pages, and cloud disks might have all those files too.
  • It might be that you still have the needed files on your old PC, a laptop, cellphone, flash memory, etc.

HINT: You can use file recovery utilities5 to get your lost data back since ransomware encrypts the copies of your files, removing the original ones. In the tutorial below, you can see how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but remember: you can do it only after you kill the ransomware itself with an anti-malware program.

Also, you can contact the following governmental fraud and scam sites to report this attack:

To report the attack, you can contact local executive boards. For instance, if you live in USA, you can have a talk with FBI Local field office, IC3 or Secret Service.

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Brendan Smith
How to Remove NETLOCK Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: NETLOCK Virus

Description: NETLOCK Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .netlock extension. So, you can't use them at all.

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
  2. You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
  3. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  4. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
  5. Here’s the list of Best Data Recovery Software Of 2023.

About the author

Brendan Smith

I'm Brendan Smith, a passionate journalist, researcher, and web content developer. With a keen interest in computer technology and security, I specialize in delivering high-quality content that educates and empowers readers in navigating the digital landscape.

With a focus on computer technology and security, I am committed to sharing my knowledge and insights to help individuals and organizations protect themselves in the digital age. My expertise in cybersecurity principles, data privacy, and best practices allows me to provide practical tips and advice that readers can implement to enhance their online security.

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