SKYLOCK Ransomware 🔐 (.SKYLOCK File) — Removal Guide

Written by Brendan Smith
The Skylock virus falls within the MedusaLocker ransomware family. Malware of such sort encrypts all the data on your computer (photos, text files, excel tables, audio files, videos, etc) and appends its own extension to every file, creating the How_to_back_files.html text files in every directory containing encrypted files.
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What is Skylock virus?

☝️ A strictly correct designation for the Skylock would be “a MedusaLocker family ransomware-type malicious agent”.

Skylock adds its own .skylock extension to every file’s name. For instance, an image named “photo.jpg” will be turned into “photo.jpg.skylock”. Just like the Excel table named “table.xlsx” will be renamed to “table.xlsx.skylock”, and so on.

In each directory with the encrypted files, a How_to_back_files.html file will be created. It is a ransom money note. Therein you can find information about the ways of paying the ransom and some other remarks. The ransom note most probably contains a description of how to buy the decryption tool from the tamperers. You can get this decryptor after contacting ithelp02@decorous.cyou, ithelp02@wholeness.business through email. That is how they do it.

Skylock outline:
NameSkylock Virus
Ransomware family1MedusaLocker ransomware
Extension.skylock
Ransomware noteHow_to_back_files.html
Contactithelp02@decorous.cyou, ithelp02@wholeness.business
DetectionTrojan:MSIL/Seraph.RG!MTB, Win32/GenKryptik.GIML, Win32/GenKryptik.GILV
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) have a .skylock extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Skylock virus

The How_to_back_files.html document coming in package with the Skylock malware states the following:

YOUR PERSONAL ID:
-
/!\\ YOUR COMPANY NETWORK HAS BEEN PENETRATED /!\\
All your important files have been encrypted!

Your files are safe! Only modified. (RSA+AES)

ANY ATTEMPT TO RESTORE YOUR FILES WITH THIRD-PARTY SOFTWARE
WILL PERMANENTLY CORRUPT IT.
DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES.
DO NOT RENAME ENCRYPTED FILES.

No software available on internet can help you. We are the only ones able to
solve your problem.

We gathered highly confidential/personal data. These data are currently stored on
a private server. This server will be immediately destroyed after your payment.
If you decide to not pay, we will release your data to public or re-seller.
So you can expect your data to be publicly available in the near future..

We only seek money and our goal is not to damage your reputation or prevent
your business from running.

You will can send us 2-3 non-important files and we will decrypt it for free
to prove we are able to give your files back.

Contact us for price and get decryption software.

qd7pcafncosqfqu3ha6fcx4h6sr7tzwagzpcdcnytiw3b6varaeqv5yd.onion
* Note that this server is available via Tor browser only

Follow the instructions to open the link:
1. Type the addres \"hxxps://www.torproject.org\" in your Internet browser. It opens the Tor site.
2. Press \"Download Tor\", then press \"Download Tor Browser Bundle\", install and run it.
3. Now you have Tor browser. In the Tor Browser open qd7pcafncosqfqu3ha6fcx4h6sr7tzwagzpcdcnytiw3b6varaeqv5yd.onion
4. Start a chat and follow the further instructions.
If you can not use the above link, use the email:
ithelp02@decorous.cyou
ithelp02@wholeness.business
* To contact us, create a new free email account on the site: protonmail.com
IF YOU DON\'T CONTACT US WITHIN 72 HOURS, PRICE WILL BE HIGHER.

In the image below, you can see what a folder with files encrypted by the Skylock looks like. Each filename has the “.skylock” extension appended to it.

Skylock Virus - encrypted .skylock files

An example of encrypted .skylock files.

How did my computer get infected with Skylock ransomware?

There are many possible ways of ransomware infiltration.

Nowadays, there are three most popular ways for criminals to have ransomware planted in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan injection, and peer networks.

If you access your mailbox and see letters that look just like notifications from utility services companies, postal agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose mailer is unknown to you, beware of opening those emails. They are very likely to have a viral item attached to them. Thus it is even more dangerous to download any attachments that come with emails like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan horse model2. A Trojan is an object that infiltrates into your machine pretending to be something else. For instance, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some service. But what is unpacked reveals itself a harmful program that compromises your data. Since the installation wizard can have any name and any icon, you have to make sure that you can trust the resource of the files you’re downloading. The optimal way is to use the software developers’ official websites.

As for the peer-to-peer file transfer protocols like torrent trackers or eMule, the danger is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Internet. You can never guess what you download until you get it. Our suggestion is that you use trustworthy websites. Also, it is reasonable to scan the folder containing the downloaded objects with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is complete.

How to remove the Skylock virus?

It is important to inform you that besides encrypting your data, the Skylock virus will probably install the Azorult Spyware on your computer to seize your credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned spyware3 can extract your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.

Sometimes tamperers would decrypt few of your files so you know that they indeed have the decryption tool. Since Skylock virus is a relatively recent ransomware, anti-malware designers have not yet found a way to reverse its work. Nevertheless, the decoding tools are frequently upgraded, so the effective countermeasure may soon arrive.

Understandably, if the tamperers do the job of encoding someone’s essential data, the hopeless person will most likely fulfill their demands. Despite that, paying to criminals gives no guarantee that you’re getting your blocked information back. It is still risky. After getting the ransom, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption key to the victim. There were reports of racketeers just vanishing after getting the money without even writing back.

The best 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 disk. Obviously, that might be not enough. The most crucial thing could be that file you were working upon when it all started. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also reasonable to scan your PC for viruses with the anti-malware utility after the OS restoration.

There are other ransomware products, besides Skylock, that work similarly. Examples of those are Nitz, Nifr, Niwm, and some others. The two basic differences between them and the Skylock are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is almost identical: documents become encrypted, their extensions altered, ransom notes appear in every folder containing encoded files.

Some lucky victims were able to decode the arrested files with the help of the free tools provided by anti-malware experts. Sometimes the criminals accidentally send the decoding code to the wronged in the ransom note. Such an epic fail allows the victim to restore the files. But obviously, one should never rely on such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a criminals’ technology to lay their hands on the money of their victims.

How to avert ransomware infiltration?

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

You can protect yourself from its attack taking several easy steps:

  • Ignore any letters from unknown mailers with strange addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (can you win in a money prize draw without even taking part in it?). If the email subject is likely something you are expecting, check all elements of the dubious email carefully. A fake letter will surely have mistakes.
  • Avoid using cracked or unknown programs. Trojan viruses are often distributed as a part of cracked software, possibly as a “patch” to prevent the license check. But untrusted programs are very hard to distinguish from reliable ones, as trojans sometimes have the functionality you seek. You can try to find information on this program on the anti-malware forums, but the best solution is not to use such programs at all.
  • And to be sure about the safety of the files you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a powerful 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 PC.

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 Skylock 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 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.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

🤔 The encrypted files are very important to me. How can I decrypt them quickly?

Hopefully, you have made a copy of those important files. 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. The rest of the methods require patience.

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

No way! Unlike the ransomware program itself, the encrypted files do not jeopardize your system.

With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your PC off the actual threats. The ransomware that has infiltrated your computer is must be still active and running scans every so often to arrest any new files you might create on your PC after the attack. As it has been mentioned above, the Skylock virus comes with the company. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can take your account passwords by trespass and provide criminals with easy access to your system after some time.

🤔 What actions should I take if the Skylock ransomware has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation key.

In such an unfortunate situation, you need to prepare a memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the procedure. You see, the ransomware starts automatically as the system boots and encrypts any new files created or brought into your computer. To block this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital applications to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on booting Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What could help the situation right now?

Some of the encrypted files can be located elsewhere.

  • If you exchanged your critical 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. Simply ask them to give those images back to you.
  • If you have initially got any of your files from the Web, you can try doing 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 computer, a notebook, mobile, memory stick, etc.

HINT: You can employ data recovery programs6 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware arrests the copies of your files, removing the authentic ones. In the video below, you can learn how to use PhotoRec for such a recovery, but be advised: you can do it only after you remove the ransomware itself with an antivirus program.

Also, you can contact the following official 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 SKYLOCK Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: SKYLOCK Virus

Description: SKYLOCK Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .skylock 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. You can read more on spyware variants and nature in the respective section of GridinSoft official website.
  4. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  5. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/comparison
  6. 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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