SPARK Virus (.SPARK Files) Ransomware – How to Remove?

Written by Brendan Smith
The Spark virus falls within the ransomware type of malicious agent. Ransomware of this type encrypts all user’s data on the PC (photos, documents, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and appends its extra extension to every file.
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Spark virus: what is known so far?

☝️ A scientifically correct description for the Spark would be “a ransomware-type infection”.

Spark will add its specific .Spark extension to the name of every encrypted file. For instance, an image entitled “photo.jpg” will be altered to “photo.jpg.Spark”. Likewise, the Excel table with the name “table.xlsx” will be renamed to “table.xlsx.Spark”, and so on.

The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to purchase the decryption tool from the ransomware developers. You can obtain this decryptor after contacting notvalidemailadress.ransom@gmail.com via email. That is pretty much the scheme of the malefaction.

Spark summary:
NameSpark Virus
Extension.Spark
Contactnotvalidemailadress.ransom@gmail.com
Detection1TrojanSpy:Win32/Ursnif!K, Ransom:Win32/StopCrypt.PMB!MTB, FileRepMalware [Wrm]
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) get a .Spark extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Spark virus

The note coming in package with the Spark malware states the following:

Spark Ransomware

Whats wrong with my files?

Your files have been encrypted and you are now a victim of Spark ransomware!
You can still recover your files, but you will have to pay for a special key that allows you to decrypt the files.
You can buy the decryption key from our email address. Just write to our email and we will send you instructions.
Be sure not to disable or modify encrypted files! If you do, your files will not be recoverable! Don\'t turn off your computer either!

RISK OF DATA LOSS AND DAMAGE TO THE SYSTEM AFTER SWITCHING OFF THE COMPUTER!

HOW CAN I PAY?

Payment will be made by appointment at the email address provided.
Send us all the information about what happened and then send us the amount in bitcoin.
You must have a bitcoin address. If you do not know how to get the bitcoin address click on the \"Don\'t have a bitcoin address\".

notvalidemailadress.ransom@gmail.com

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

Spark Virus - encrypted .Spark files

An example of encrypted .Spark files.

How did my computer get infected with Spark ransomware?

There are many possible ways of ransomware infiltration.

Nowadays, there are three most exploited methods for evil-doers to have the Spark virus planted in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan introduction and peer networks.

If you access your inbox and see letters that look like familiar notifications from utility services companies, postal agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose mailer is unknown to you, be wary of opening those letters. They are most likely to have a harmful file attached to them. Thus it is even more dangerous to open any attachments that come with emails like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan file scheme2. A Trojan is a program that infiltrates into your PC pretending to be something else. For example, you download an installer of some program you need or an update for some software. But what is unpacked turns out to be a harmful program that encrypts your data. Since the update package can have any name and an icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the resource of the stuff you’re downloading. The best thing is to trust the software companies’ official websites.

As for the peer networks like torrent trackers or eMule, the danger 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 websites. Also, it is a good idea to scan the folder containing the downloaded items with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is finished.

How to remove the Spark virus?

It is crucial to note that besides encrypting your files, the Spark virus will probably install the Azorult Spyware on your PC to get access to credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned program can derive your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Sometimes criminals would decrypt several of your files so you know that they really have the decryption tool. Since the Spark virus is relatively recent ransomware, safety measures developers have not yet found a way to reverse its work. However, the decoding tools are frequently updated, so an effective countermeasure may soon arrive.

Sure thing, if the tamperers do the job of encrypting someone’s critical files, the desperate person will probably comply with their demands. Despite that, paying criminals does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your blocked information back. It is still dangerous. After receiving the ransom, the racketeers may send the wrong decryption code to the victim. There were reports of hackers simply vanishing after getting the money without even bothering to reply.

The optimal safety measure against ransomware is to have an OS restore point or the copies of your essential files in the cloud storage or at least on an external disk. Of course, that might be not enough. The most important thing could be that file 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 anti-malware utility after the system is rolled back.

Spark 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, Jhdd, Hhjk, Xcvf, and some others. The two basic differences between them and the Spark are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is almost identical: files become blocked, their extensions changed, ransom notes are created in every folder containing encrypted files.

Some lucky people were able to decrypt the blocked files with the help of the free tools provided by anti-ransomware developers. Sometimes the criminals mistakenly send the decoding key to the wronged in the ransom readme. Such an extraordinary fail allows the user to restore the files. But of course, one should never expect such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a bandits’ instrument to pull the money out of their victims.

How do I avoid ransomware injection?

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

You can armor yourself from a ransomware attacks in three easy steps:

  • Never open any emails from unknown mailers with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are expecting (can you win in a money prize draw without even taking part in it?). If the email subject is likely something you are expecting, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious letter carefully. A fake email will surely have a mistake.
  • Avoid using cracked or unknown programs. Trojans are often spread as an element of cracked software, most likely as a “patch” to prevent the license check. Understandably, dubious programs are very hard to tell from trustworthy software, as trojans sometimes have the functionality you seek. Try searching for information about this software product 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, scan them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software will be a powerful armor 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 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 PC for Spark 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 “.Spark” files?Can I somehow access “.Spark” files?

Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.Spark” files first. Then you will be able to open 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. If not, there is still a function of System Restore but it needs a Restore Point to be previously saved. There are other ways to beat ransomware, but they take time.

🤔 Will GridinSoft Anti-Malware remove all the encrypted files alongside the Spark virus?

Of course not. The encrypted files are not harmful, so they won’t be deleted.

With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your system off the actual viruses. The ransomware that has attacked your device is must be still functional and launching checks every so often to arrest any new files you might create on your computer after the infection. As it has been mentioned above, the Spark ransomware does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide criminals with easy access to your system after some time.

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

If that happened, you need to have a flash memory card with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the procedure. The point is that the ransomware runs automatically as the system launches and encrypts any new files created or imported into your machine. To block this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital applications to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 And what should I do now?

Many of the encoded files might still be at your disposal

  • If you sent or received your critical files via email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
  • You may have shared images or videos with your friends or family members. Just ask them to post those images 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 networks pages, and cloud drives might have all those files as well.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old PC, a notebook, phone, memory stick, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can use file recovery programs5 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 can do it only after you kill the ransomware itself 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 SPARK Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: SPARK Virus

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

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. Encyclopedia of threats.
  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 the best 10 file recovery tools of 2021.

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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