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

Written by Brendan Smith
The Snwkz virus belongs to the Hive ransomware family. Ransomware of such sort encrypts all user’s data on the PC (images, text files, excel sheets, music, videos, etc) and appends its extra extension to every file, leaving the Djfk_HOW_TO_DECRYPT.txt text files in each folder which contains the encrypted files.
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What is Snwkz virus?

☝️ A scientifically accurate description for the Snwkz is “a Hive family ransomware malicious agent”.

The renaming will be executed according to this scheme: [random_string].snwkz. As a part of encryption, a file named, for instance, “report.docx” will be changed to “report.docx.5GidBrZG88lGZxe-YMbrNscpw4h9e6-NISHVchGL8Ov_qHLbTXn2TV00.snwkz”.

In every folder containing the encrypted files, a Djfk_HOW_TO_DECRYPT.txt text file will appear. The readme file name is not linear either – the first 4 symbols are random. It is a ransom money note. It contains information about the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other remarks. The ransom note usually contains instructions on how to buy the decryption tool from the ransomware developers. You can obtain this decryptor after contacting Tor website through email. That is how they do it.

Snwkz summary:
Name Snwkz Virus
Ransomware family1 Hive ransomware
Extension .snwkz
Ransomware note Djfk_HOW_TO_DECRYPT.txt
Contact Tor website
Detection Crytex.Virus.FileInfector.DDS, Win32/Filecoder.OLC, Malware-Cryptor.InstallCore.5
Symptoms Your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .snwkz extension and you can’t open them.
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Snwkz virus

The Djfk_HOW_TO_DECRYPT.txt file coming in package with the Snwkz ransomware provides the following dispiriting information:

Your network has been breached and all data were encrypted.
Personal data, financial reports and important documents are ready to disclose.

To decrypt all the data and to prevent exfiltrated files to be disclosed at
hxxp://hiveleakdbtnp76ulyhi52eag6c6tyc3xw7ez7iqy6wc34gd2nekazyd.onion/
you will need to purchase our decryption software.

Please contact our sales department at:

-  
Login:    -
Password: -

To get an access to .onion websites download and install Tor Browser at:
hxxps://www.torproject.org/ (Tor Browser is not related to us)


Follow the guidelines below to avoid losing your data:

 - Do not modify, rename or delete *.key.snwkz files. Your data will be
   undecryptable.
 - Do not modify or rename encrypted files. You will lose them.
 - Do not report to the Police, FBI, etc. They don\'t care about your business.
   They simply won\'t allow you to pay. As a result you will lose everything.
 - Do not hire a recovery company. They can\'t decrypt without the key.
   They also don\'t care about your business. They believe that they are
   good negotiators, but it is not. They usually fail. So speak for yourself.
 - Do not reject to purchase. Exfiltrated files will be publicly disclosed.

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

Snwkz Virus - encrypted .snwkz files

That is how encrypted “.snwkz” files look.

How did my computer get infected with Snwkz ransomware?

There are many possible ways of ransomware injection.

Nowadays, there are three most popular ways for criminals to have the Snwkz virus settled in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer-to-peer networks.

If you access your mailbox and see emails that look just like notifications from utility services companies, postal agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is strange to you, be wary of opening those letters. They are very likely to have a malicious file enclosed in them. Thus it is even more dangerous to download any attachments that come with letters like these.

Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan file scheme2. A Trojan is an object that infiltrates into your PC disguised as something legal. For instance, you download an installer for some program you want or an update for some software. But what is unpacked reveals itself a harmful agent that corrupts your data. As the installation package can have any title and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the resource of the stuff you’re downloading. The best thing is to use the software developers’ official websites.

As for the peer file transfer protocols like BitTorrent 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. Our suggestion is that you use trustworthy websites. Also, it is reasonable to scan the directory containing the downloaded items with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is done.

How to remove the Snwkz virus?

It is crucial to note that besides encrypting your files, the Snwkz virus will most likely deploy the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That program can extract your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.

Sometimes racketeers would decode some of your files so you know that they do have the decryption program. As Snwkz virus is a relatively new ransomware, security software developers have not yet found a method to undo its work. However, the anti-ransomware instruments are constantly updated, so the effective countermeasure may soon be available.

Understandably, if the criminals do the job of encrypting someone’s essential data, the hopeless person will probably fulfill their demands. However, paying to criminals does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your files back. It is still risky. After receiving the money, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption code to the victim. There were reports of criminals simply disappearing after getting the ransom without even bothering to reply.

The optimal solution against ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your essential files in the cloud storage or at least on an external storage. Surely, that might be insufficient. The most crucial thing could be that one you were working on when it all started. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also reasonable to scan your PC for viruses with the antivirus program after the OS is rolled back.

There are other ransomware products, besides Snwkz, that work similarly. Examples of those are Hhoo, Hhee, Vvmm, and some others. The two main differences between them and the Snwkz are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: documents become blocked, their extensions altered, ransom notes appear in each folder containing encrypted files.

Some fortunate victims were able to decrypt the arrested files with the aid of the free tools provided by anti-ransomware specialists. Sometimes the racketeers mistakenly send the decoding code to the victims in the ransom note. Such an extraordinary 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 bandits’ instrument to pull the money out of their victims.

How to avoid ransomware injection?

Snwkz ransomware has no superpower, neither does any similar malware.

You can defend your system from its infiltration within three easy steps:

  • Ignore any letters from unknown mailboxes with strange addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are expecting (can you win in a money prize draw without participating in it?). If the email subject is likely something you are waiting for, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious email carefully. A fake email will surely have mistakes.
  • Do not use cracked or untrusted software. Trojan viruses are often spreaded as a part of cracked products, most likely under the guise of “patch” to prevent the license check. Understandably, dubious programs are difficult to distinguish from trustworthy software, because trojans sometimes have the functionality you need. Try searching for information about this program on the anti-malware forums, but the optimal solution 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 defense for your personal computer.
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 computer.

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 Snwkz 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

🤔 Is it possible to open “.snwkz” files?

Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.snwkz” files first. Then you will be able to open them.

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

It’s good if you have fаr-sightedly saved copies of these important files elsewhere. Otherwise, you might try to employ System Restore. The only question is whether you have saved any Restore Points that would be helpful now. There are other ways to beat ransomware, but they take time.

🤔 If GridinSoft deletes the Snwkz 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 system off the actual viruses. The ransomware that has infected your system is must be still functional and launching checks from time to time to encode any new files you might create on your computer after the infection. As it has been said above, the Snwkz malware does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide hackers with easy access to your PC after some time.

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

In such an unfortunate situation, you need to prepare a memory stick with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the procedure. You see, the ransomware runs automatically as the system boots and encodes any new files created or imported into your PC. To suppress this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential programs to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on booting Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What could help the situation right now?

Some of the blocked files can be found elsewhere.

  • If you exchanged your critical files through email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
  • You may have shared photographs or videos with your friends or relatives. Just ask them to send those pictures 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 storage might have all those files as well.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old PC, a laptop, phone, memory stick, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can use data recovery utilities5 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware encodes the copies of your files, deleting the authentic ones. In the tutorial below, you can learn how to use PhotoRec for such a recovery, but remember: you won’t be able to do it before you kill the virus with an anti-malware 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 SNWKZ Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: SNWKZ Virus

Description: SNWKZ Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .snwkz 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/comparison
  5. Here are 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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