QEWE Virus (.qewe Files Ransomware) – DECRYPT & REMOVAL TOOL

Qewe is a DJVU family of ransomware-type infections1. The ransomware encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by specific “.qewe” extension. So, you can’t use them at all.
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In this tutorial I will try to help you remove Qewe virus for free. As a bonus, I will assist you in decoding your encrypted files.

What is “Qewe”?

Qewe can be correctly identify as a ransomware infection.

Ransomware is a kind of virus that encrypted your documents and then forces you to pay for them. Note that DJVU (aka STOP) ransomware family was first revealed and analyzed by virus analyst Michael Gillespie2.

Qewe is similar to other ransomware like: Lezp, Lalo, Mpaj. It encrypted all popular file types. Hence, users cannot use the your documents . Qewe adds its particular “.qewe” extension into all files. For instance, the file “video.avi”, will be changed into “video.avi.qewe”. As soon as the encryption is accomplished, Qewe drops a specific text file “_readme.txt” and puts it into all folders that contain the modified files.

Here is a info for the Qewe infection:
Ransomware family3 DJVU/STOP4 ransomware
Extension .qewe
Ransomware note _readme.txt
Ransom From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)
Contact helpdatarestore@firemail.cc, helpmanager@mail.ch
Detection5 Generik.CNMFSW, Generik.ETDNQBV, Backdoor:MSIL/Noancooe.A
Symptoms Most of your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .qewe extension and you can’t open it
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by .qewe file virus

This text asking payment is for get files back via decryption key:

Qewe infection message

The scary alert demanding from users to pay the ransom to decrypt the encoded data contains these frustrating warnings

The cryptography algorithm used by Qewe is AES-256. So, if your files got encrypted with a specific decryption key, which is totally unique and there are no other copies. The sad reality is that it is impossible to recover the information without the unique key available.

In case if Qewe worked in online mode, it is impossible for you to gain access to the AES-256 key. It is stored on a distant server owned by the frauds who promote the Qewe infection.

For receiving decryption key the payment should be $980. To obtain the payment details the victims are encouraged by the message to contact the frauds by email (helpdatarestore@firemail.cc), or via Telegram.

Do not pay for Qewe!

Please, try to use the available backups, or Decrypter tool

_readme.txt file also indicates that the computer owners must get in touch with the Qewe representatives during 72 hours starting from the moment of files where encrypted. On the condition of getting in touch within 72 hours, users will be granted a 50% rebate, thus the ransom amount will be minimized down to $490). Yet, stay away from paying the ransom!

I strongly advise that you do not contact these frauds and do not pay. The one of the most real working solution to recover the lost data – just using the available backups, or use Decrypter tool.

The peculiarity of all such viruses apply a similar set of actions for generating the unique decryption key to recover the ciphered data.

You can figure out if your files were encrypted with online or offline key. You need to find PersonalID file in SystemID folder, which is located on C:/. If this file contains an entity which ends with offline key. That means your files can be decrypted in the shortest possible time. If none, you need to wait until Qewe ransomware distributors wouldn’t give them away.

Qewe ransomware does a typical for STOP/Djvu ransomware family actions with Windows system components. The first element under attack is the registry. Ransomware adds own .exe file to RunOnce registry key. Hence, if the encryption started, it will not be interrupted by system reboots or user, who stopped a suspicious process using the Task Manager.

Another popular action for Qewe ransomware is hosts file editing. This file contains a list with DNS-adresses for some sites, and if none are in this file, default will be used. The main sophistication is in next action : it adds an additional entry of Microsoft update server, specifying it’s DNS as 127.0.0.1 – an IP adress of your localhost (i.e. your PC). After such manipulation your Windows will lost an ability to get any update, which can wipe out some system component changes done by Qewe ransomware. Fortunately, hosts file can be easily edited.

Thus, unless the ransomware is still under the stage of development or possesses some hard-to-track flaws, manually recovering the ciphered data is a thing you can’t really perform. The only solution to prevent the loss of your valuable data is to regularly make backups of your crucial files.

Note that even if you do maintain such backups regularly, they ought to be put 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. Optionally, you may refer to the help of online (cloud) information storage.

Needless to mention, when you maintain your backup data on your common device, it may be similarly ciphered as well as other data.

For this reason, locating the backup on your main device is surely not a wise idea.

How I was infected?

Qewe has a various methods to built into your system. But it doesn’t really matter what concrete way was used in your case.

Qewe virus attack

Qewe ransomware attack following a successful phishing attempt.

Nevertheless, these are the common leaks through which it may be injected into your PC:

  • hidden installation along with other apps, especially the utilities that work as freeware or shareware;
  • dubious link in spam emails leading to the Qewe installer
  • online free hosting resources;
  • using illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) resources for downloading pirated software.

There were cases when the Qewe virus was disguised as some legitimate tool, for example, in the messages demanding to initiate some unwanted software or browser updates. This is typically the way how some online frauds aim to force you into installing the Qewe ransomware manually, by actually making you directly participate in this process.

The typical situation for Qewe ransomware is a “hibernation mode” at the moment it reaches user’s PC. It can be unactive for a long time, so you wouldn’t see any sign of ransomware presence. The trigger which launches an encryption process is a specific command from the server, which is controlled by ransomware distributors.

Consequently, that’s a big risk of creating a backup, which contais a ransomware inside. That would be a very bad surprise to use such backup to restore your system after Qewe ransomware attack, and then discover that your files were been encrypted, again.

And if you have an already created backup in the moment of Qewe ransomware attack, be ready that it can be fully or partially encrypted. To avoid this, you may use external drives or cloud storages as a carrier for your backup.

One more thing that is important to mention is OneDrive backups. Be very careful with this backup creating method, because it has a very specific mechanism. In process of new backup creation OneDrive rewrites it over the older backup, and you wouldn’t get any notification about this process. Hence, that’s a big chance of getting a OneDrive backup with already encrypted files inside. It could be very frustrating to rely on this backup and then discover that it contains encrypted files.

Surely, the bogus update alert will not indicate that you are going to actually inject the Qewe ransomware. This installation will be concealed under some alert mentioning that allegedly you should update Adobe Flash Player or some other dubious program whatsoever.

Of course, the cracked apps represent the damage too. Using P2P is both illegal and may result in the injection of serious malware, including the Qewe ransomware.

The popular way of Qewe ransomware injection is the peering networks. We have a lot of complaints about ransomware distribution on Gnutella, The Pirate Bay, 1337x and other torrent-trackers. It’s quite hard to track, who is sharing you a file at the moment. And it’s also hard to detect any changes that could be brought by a donor. So, that’s quite easy for fraudsters to create a “ransomware seeding”.

Usually, Qewe ransomware can be got with some games you downloaded through peering networks. Typically they are distributed with the potentially unwanted programs of some sort, but their installation can be cancelled. Ransomware takes roots into the game files, so it will launch together with it’s “carrier”.

To sum up, what can you do to avoid the injection of the Qewe ransomware into your device? Even though there is no 100% guarantee to prevent your PC from getting damaged, there are certain tips I want to give you to prevent the Qewe penetration. You must be cautious while installing free software today.

Be also very vigilant about your PC’s performance, especially if it’s not very powerful. The common sign of ransomware activity is bad performance, which can be smoothered on high-performance machines, but will be distinctive on old computers.

Make sure you always read what the installers offer in addition to the main free program. Stay away from opening dubious email attachments. Do not open files from the unknown addressees. Of course, your current security program must be always updated.

UPD. 10.05.2020. A big number of Qewe ransomware victims told us about the suspicious e-mails they got before ransomware attack. That was a message from unknown address, which told that the reciever can get a jobless payment. To get this payment, as were told in the e-mail, user needed to fill the attached form and send it to the e-mail specified inside of this form. Of course, no real form were attached – the file that were sent inside the e-mail, contained Qewe ransomware.

The malware does not speak openly about itself. It will not be mentioned in the list of your available programs. However, it will be masked under some malicious process running regularly in the background, starting from the moment when you launch your computer.


The message by the Qewe ransomware states the following frustrating 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:

helpdatarestore@firemail.cc

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

helpmanager@mail.ch

Your personal ID:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The image below gives a clear vision of how the files with “.qewe” extension look like:

Qewe Virus - encrypted .qewe files

Example of encrypted .qewe files

How to remove Qewe virus?

In addition to encode a victim’s files, the Qewe virus has also started to install the Azorult Spyware on computer to steal account credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, desktop files, and more.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft6

The is an excellent way to deal with recognizing and removing threats – using Gridinsoft Anti-Malware. This program will scan your PC, find and neutralize all suspicious processes7.

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 system for Qewe 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

How to decrypt .qewe files?

Restore solution for big “.qewe files

Try removing .qewe extension on a few BIG files and opening them. Either the Qewe ransomware read and did not encrypt the file, or it bugged and did not add the filemarker. If your files are very large (2GB+), the latter is most likely. Please, let me know in comments if that will work for you.

The newest extensions released around the end of August 2019 after the criminals made changes. This includes Lezp, Lalo, Mpaj, etc.

As a result of the changes made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer supported. Tt has been removed and replaced with the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu Ransomware developed by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie.

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:

Emsisoft Decryptor - license terms

As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:

Emsisoft Decryptor - user interface

Select folders for decryption.

Based on the default settings, the decryptor will automatically populate the available locations in order to decrypt the currently available drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. Extra (optional) locations can be selected with the help of the “Add” button.

Decryptors normally suggest several options considering the specific malware family. The current possible options are presented in the Options tab and can be activated or deactivated there. You may locate a detailed list of the currently active Options below.

Click on the “Decrypt” button.

As soon as yo 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:

Emsisoft Decryptor - the decryption statistics

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 forum messages if you need to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I open “.qewe” files?

No way. These files are encrypted by Qewe ransomware. The contents of .qewe files are not available until they are decrypted.

qewe files contain important information. How can I decrypt them urgently?

If your data remained in the .qewe 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.

You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove Qewe. Does this mean that the program will delete my encrypted files?

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. In addition, these viruses install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions
(for example theft of passwords, credit cards) often.

Decrytor did not decrypt all my files, or not all of them were decrypted. What should I do?

Have patience. Apparently you are infected with the new version of Qewe ransomware, and decryption keys have not yet been released. Follow the news on our website.
We will keep you posted on when new Qewe keys or new decryption programs appear.

What can I do right now?

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.

Also, I recommend that you contact the following government fraud and scam sites to report this attack:

Video Guide

It’s my favorite video tutorial: How to use GridinSoft Anti-Malware and Emsisoft Decryptor for fix ransomware infections.

If the guide doesn’t help you to remove Qewe infection, please download the GridinSoft Anti-Malware that I recommended. Also, you can always ask me in the comments for getting help. Good luck!

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References

  1. Ransomware-type infection: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ransomware
  2. Twitter: https://twitter.com/demonslay335
  3. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
  4. About DJVU (STOP) Ransomware.
  5. Encyclopedia of threats.
  6. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  7. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products/

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About the author

Brendan Smith

Journalist, researcher, web content developer, grant proposal editor. Efficient and proficient on multiple platforms and in diverse media. Computer technology and security are my specialties.

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