The Nullthegame virus falls under the Chaos ransomware family. Exactly, it uses its codebase, which was leaked some time ago. A harmful program of such sort encrypts all user’s data on the PC (images, text files, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and adds its extra extension to every file, creating the read_it.txt files in every folder with the encrypted files.
It is better to prevent, than repair and repent!
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What is Nullthegame virus?
☝️ A strictly accurate denomination for the Nullthegame is “a Chaos family ransomware malicious agent”.
Nullthegame appends its own .NULL extension to every file’s title. For example, an image named “photo.jpg” will be changed to “photo.jpg.NULL”. In the same manner, the Excel sheet with the name “table.xlsx” will be changed to “table.xlsx.NULL”, and so on.
In each folder containing the encoded files, a read_it.txt text file will be found. It is a ransom money memo. Therein you can find information about the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other information. The ransom note usually contains a description of how to buy the decryption tool from the ransomware developers. That is how they do it.
|Ransomware family1||Chaos ransomware|
|Detection||Crytex.Virus.FileInfector.DDS, Win32/Filecoder.OLC, Malware-Cryptor.InstallCore.5|
|Symptoms||Your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .NULL extension and you can’t open them.|
|Fix Tool||See If Your System Has Been Affected by Nullthegame virus|
In the image below, you can see what a directory with files encrypted by the Nullthegame looks like. Each filename has the “.NULL” extension appended to it.
How did Nullthegame ransomware end up on my PC?
There are plenty of possible ways of ransomware infiltration.
There are currently three most exploited ways for evil-doers to have the Nullthegame virus planted in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer-to-peer file transfer.
If you access your mailbox and see letters that look like familiar notifications from utility services providers, delivery agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is strange to you, beware of opening those letters. They are most likely to have a ransomware file attached to them. So it is even more dangerous to download any attachments that come with emails like these.
Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan file model2. A Trojan is an object that gets into your machine pretending to be something else. Imagine, you download an installer for some program you want or an update for some program. But what is unpacked reveals itself a harmful agent that encrypts your data. As the update package can have any name and any icon, you have to make sure that you can trust the source of the files you’re downloading. The best way is to trust the software companies’ official websites.
As for the peer networks like torrents or eMule, the threat is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Internet. You can never know 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 files with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is finished.
How do I get rid of the Nullthegame virus?
It is important to note that besides encrypting your data, the Nullthegame virus will most likely install the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That spyware3 can derive your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.
Often criminals would decrypt few of your files to prove that they do have the decryption program. Since Nullthegame virus is a relatively new ransomware, anti-malware designers have not yet found a way to reverse its work. However, the decryption instruments are constantly updated, so the solution may soon be available.
Understandably, if the hackers do the job of encoding victim’s critical files, the desperate person will most likely comply with their demands. Despite that, paying to racketeers does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your blocked information back. It is still dangerous. After receiving the ransom, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption code to the injured party. There were reports of hackers just disappearing after getting the ransom without even writing back.
The optimal solution against ransomware is to have a system restore point or the copies of your essential files in the cloud drive or at least on an external storage. Surely, that might be insufficient. Your most important thing could be that one you were working on when it all started. But at least it is something. It is also advisable to scan your PC for viruses with the antivirus program after the OS is rolled back.
Nullthegame is not the only ransomware of its kind, since there are other specimens of ransomware out there that act in the same manner. For instance, Zatp, Bowd, Tcvp, and some others. The two main differences between them and the Nullthegame are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is almost identical: files become encoded, their extensions changed, ransom notes appear in each folder containing encrypted files.
Some lucky users were able to decode the arrested files with the aid of the free tools provided by anti-ransomware experts. Sometimes the hackers accidentally send the decoding key to the wronged in the ransom readme. Such an extraordinary fail allows the user to restore the files. But naturally, one should never expect such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a tamperers’ instrument to lay their hands on the money of their victims.
How сan I avoid ransomware attack?
Nullthegame ransomware doesn’t have a endless power, so as any similar malware.
You can protect your computer from its attack in several easy steps:
- Ignore any letters from unknown senders with unknown addresses, or with content that has likely no connection to something you are waiting for (can you win in a money prize draw without even taking part in it?). If the email subject is more or less something you are waiting for, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious email carefully. A hoax email will surely contain mistakes.
- Never use cracked or untrusted software. Trojans are often shared as an element of cracked software, possibly as a “patch” preventing the license check. But potentially dangerous programs are very hard to tell from trustworthy ones, because trojans sometimes have the functionality you seek. Try to find information about this software product on the anti-malware forums, but the optimal way is not to use such programs at all.
- And finally, to be sure about the safety of the objects you downloaded, use GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a perfect armor for your system.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft4
There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft5.
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 computer.
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.
Press “Install” button.
Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.
Wait for the Anti-Malware scan to complete.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your computer for Nullthegame 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.
Click on “Clean Now”.
When the scan has completed, 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.
🤔 How can I open “.NULL” files?Is it possible to open“.NULL” files?
Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.NULL” files first. Then you will be able to open them.
🤔 I really need to decrypt those “.NULL” files ASAP. How can I do that?
If the “.NULL” files contain some really important information, then you probably have them backed up. Otherwise, you might try to employ System Restore. The only question is whether you have saved any Restore Points that would be helpful now. All other solutions require time.
🤔 If GridinSoft deletes the Nullthegame malware, will it also delete my files that were encrypted?
No way! Your encrypted files are no threat to your PC.
With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your PC off the actual threats. The virus that has infected your system is must be still active and it scans your system periodically to arrest any new files you might create on your computer after the infection. As it has been mentioned above, the Nullthegame virus does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can take your account passwords by trespass and provide hackers with easy access to your system after some time.
🤔 What to do if the Nullthegame malware has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation code.
In such an unfortunate situation, you need to prepare a flash memory card with a pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the cleaning. You see, the ransomware starts automatically as the system launches and encrypts any new files created or brought into your system. To stop this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential applications to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.
🤔 And what should I do now?
Many of the blocked files might still be at your disposal
- If you exchanged your important files via email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
- You may have shared photographs or videos with your friends or relatives. Simply ask them to post those images back to you.
- If you have initially got any of your files from the Internet, you can try to do it again.
- Your messengers, social media pages, and cloud disks might have all those files too.
- Maybe you still have the needed files on your old computer, a laptop, mobile, external storage, etc.
HINT: You can employ data recovery programs6 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware encodes the copies of your files, removing the authentic ones. In the video below, you can see how to use PhotoRec for such a recovery, but be advised: you can do it only after you eradicate the virus with an anti-malware program.
Also, you can contact the following governmental fraud and scam sites to report this attack:
- In the United States: On Guard Online;
- In Canada: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre;
- In the United Kingdom: Action Fraud;
- In Australia: SCAMwatch;
- In New Zealand: Consumer Affairs Scams;
- In France: Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information;
- In Germany: Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik;
- In Ireland: An Garda Síochána;
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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How to Remove NULLTHEGAME Ransomware & Recover PC
Name: NULLTHEGAME Virus
Description: NULLTHEGAME Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .NULL extension. So, you can't use them at all.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
User Review( votes)
- My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
- You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
- You can read more on spyware variants and nature in the respective section of GridinSoft official website.
- GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
- More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
- Here are the best 10 file recovery tools of 2021.