The Unique virus falls under the ransomware type of malicious agent. Harmful software of such sort encrypts all user’s data on the PC (photos, text files, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and adds its own extension to every file, creating the info.txt files in every folder containing encrypted files. This ransomware belongs to Phobos ransomware family.
It is better to prevent, than repair and repent!
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Unique virus: what is known so far?
☝️ A scientifically correct designation for the Unique would be “a ransomware infection”.
The scheme of renaming is the following: id[xxxxx].[contact_email].unique. In the process of encryption, a file entitled, for example, “report.docx” will be altered to “report.docx.id[9ECFA84E-3379].[firstname.lastname@example.org].unique”.
In every folder that contains the encrypted files, a info.txt file will be created. It is a ransom money note. It contains information on the ways of paying the ransom and some other remarks. The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to purchase the decryption tool from the racketeers. You can obtain this decoding tool after contacting email@example.com by email. That is it.
|Detection1||Trojan.BlackCat, Win32/TrojanDownloader.Agent.FDU, Python/Filecoder.JW|
|Symptoms||Your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .unique extension and you can’t open them.|
|Fix Tool||See If Your System Has Been Affected by Unique virus|
The info.txt document accompanying the Unique malware states the following:
!!!All of your files are encrypted!!! To decrypt them send e-mail to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. If we don\'t answer in 24h., send e-mail to this address: email@example.com
In the image below, you can see what a folder with files encrypted by the Unique looks like. Each filename has the “.unique” extension added to it.
How did Unique ransomware end up on my PC?
There is a huge number of possible ways of ransomware injection.
There are currently three most exploited ways for hackers to have ransomware planted in your system. These are email spam, Trojan introduction and peer networks.
If you open your mailbox and see letters that look just like notifications from utility services companies, delivery agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is strange to you, be wary of opening those emails. They are very likely to have a viral file enclosed in them. Therefore, 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 gets into your PC pretending to be something different. For instance, you download an installer of some program you want or an update for some program. However, what is unpacked turns out to be a harmful agent that compromises your data. As the installation file can have any title and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the source of the files you’re downloading. The best thing is to trust the software companies’ 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 Web. You can never know what you download until you get it. Our suggestion is that you use trustworthy websites. Also, it is a good idea to scan the directory containing the downloaded files with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is done.
How to remove the Unique virus?
It is important to note that besides encrypting your files, the Unique virus will most likely install the Azorult Spyware on your machine to seize your credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That spyware3 can extract your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.
Sometimes racketeers would decode some of your files to prove that they really have the decryption program. As Unique virus is a relatively recent ransomware, anti-malware engineers have not yet found a method to reverse its work. However, the anti-ransomware tools are constantly updated, so the solution may soon arrive.
Sure thing, if the tamperers succeed in encrypting someone’s essential files, the desperate person will most likely 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 ransom, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption key to the victim. There were reports of malefactors simply vanishing after getting the money without even writing back.
The optimal countermeasure to ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud disk or at least on an external drive. Surely, that might be insufficient. Your most crucial thing could be that one you were working upon when it all started. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also wise to scan your drives with the anti-malware utility after the OS is rolled back.
There are other ransomware products, besides Unique, that work similarly. For instance, Eewt, Aawt, Mmdt, and some others. The two basic differences between them and the Unique are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: files become encrypted, their extensions changed, ransom notes emerge in each directory containing encoded files.
Some lucky victims were able to decode the arrested files with the aid of the free tools provided by anti-malware specialists. Sometimes the racketeers accidentally send the decoding code to the wronged in the ransom note. Such an epic fail allows the victim to restore the files. But naturally, one should never expect such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a criminals’ tool to lay their hands on the money of their victims.
How do I avoid ransomware attack?
Unique ransomware doesn’t have a endless power, so as any similar malware.
You can protect your PC from ransomware infiltration in several easy steps:
- Ignore any emails from unknown mailers with strange addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are expecting (how 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 email carefully. A fake email will always have a mistake.
- Never use cracked or untrusted programs. Trojan viruses are often shared as an element of cracked products, most likely under the guise of “patch” to prevent 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 on this software product on the anti-malware message boards, but the optimal solution is not to use such programs at all.
- And finally, to be sure about the safety of the files you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software 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 Unique 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 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
🤔 Are the “.unique” files accessible?
Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.unique” files first. Then you will be able to open them.
🤔 I really need to decrypt those “.unique” files ASAP. How can I do that?
It’s good if you have fаr-sightedly saved copies of these important files elsewhere. If not, there is still a function of System Restore but it needs a Restore Point to be previously saved. All other solutions require time.
🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to get rid of the Unique virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?
Of course not. Your encrypted files are no threat to your PC.
With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your system off the actual threats. The malware that has infected your PC is most likely still functional and launching checks every so often to encrypt any new files you might create on your PC after the infection. As it has been said above, the Unique 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 computer in the future.
🤔 What should I do if the Unique virus has blocked my computer and I can’t get the activation key.
In such a case, you need to have a flash memory drive with a pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to do the cleaning. The point is that the ransomware runs automatically as the system launches and encrypts any new files created or brought into your PC. To suppress this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital programs 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 within your reach
- If you sent or received your important files via email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
- You may have shared photographs or videos with your friends or relatives. Just ask them to post those pictures 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 media pages, and cloud storage might have all those files as well.
- It might be that you still have the needed files on your old PC, a notebook, mobile, memory stick, etc.
HINT: You can employ file recovery programs6 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware encodes the copies of your files, removing the original ones. In the video below, you can see how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but be advised: you can do it only after you kill the ransomware itself with an antivirus 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;
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How to Remove UNIQUE Ransomware & Recover PC
Name: UNIQUE Virus
Description: UNIQUE Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .unique extension. So, you can't use them at all.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
User Review( votes)
- Encyclopedia of threats.
- 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.