The Wzqw virus, known as ransomware, belongs to the STOP/DJVU family. This malware is famous for malicious file ciphering. Once the Wzqw virus infects a computer system, it targets various types of files, like videos, photos, documents, and more. It modifies the file structure and appends the “.wzqw” extension to each file, making them unusable without the decryption.
Wzqw Virus Overview
🤔 Wzqw virus belongs to ransomware that belongs to the DJVU/STOP ransomware family. Its primary purpose is to lock files that are important to you. After that, this ransomware asks to pay the ransom – ($490 – $980) in Bitcoin.
The Wzqw virus is a type of malware that encrypts your files and coerces you into paying for their decryption. This malware encrypts a wide selection of file types. ciphered files can be identified by a distinct “.wzqw” extension. The affected files become inaccessible and unusable.
Then, the ransomware asks for a ransom payment in Bitcoin from the victims, which ranges from $490 to $980, depending on the time passed after the attack. Usually, a ransom text file is named as “_readme.txt“.
Wzqw Ransomware works with Salsa20 encryption algorithms to scramble the contents of the targeted files. Since the Wzqw virus uses such a robust encryption method, it becomes particularly difficult, if even possible, to find the decryption key without cooperating with the attackers.
Once the files are encrypted, the Wzqw virus displays a ransom note to the user, asking for a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. The ransom note contains instructions on how to pay off the bill and often contains threats of data loss or increased ransom amounts if the demands are not met within a specified timeframe.
I have created a comprehensive list of the solutions, advice, and practices to neutralize the Wzqw virus and recover access to your files. There are situations when it may be feasible to restore your files, but sometimes, it may be impossible.
📌 Important Reminder!
It is important to voice that paying off the bill is not a guarantee of the successful recovery of your files. The hackers behind the Wzqw virus are not trustworthy. There were the cases where victims have paid the ransom, only to be denied by the cybercriminals with the decryption key provision.
Wzqw employs a unique key for every victim, with one exception:
- If Wzqw fails to connect the command and control server (C2) before starting the encryption process, it it uses offline keys as a fallback option. An offline key is the same for all users, which allows for the decryption of files encrypted by the ransomware.
The Wzqw virus is similar to other DJVU ransomware variants such as Wztt, Jaqw, Jasa, and Jaoy. This virus encrypts a wide range of common file types and appends its distinct “.wzqw” extension to all files. For instance, a file named “1.jpg” would be altered to “1.jpg.wzqw” and “2.png” to “2.png.wzqw“.
Upon successful encryption, the virus creates a special text file named “_readme.txt” and places it in every folder containing the encrypted files. It as well adds the readme file to the desktop, so the victim will not miss the attack even without opening folders.
The image below provides a visual representation of files with the “wzqw” extension:
|Ransomware family1||DJVU/STOP2 ransomware|
|Ransom||From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)|
|Contact||[email protected], [email protected]|
|Detection||Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.HU!MTB Virus Removal, Win32/Injector.ANIA Virus Removal, MSIL/Filecoder.ATX Virus Removal|
To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:
6-day free trial available.
This message asking payment is for restore files via decryption key:
The Wzqw ransomware operates by executing a series of procedures that perform various functions on a victim’s computer. One of its key actions involves launching the winupdate.exe process, a deceptive operation that presents a fake Windows update alert during the attack. This tactic aims to deceive the victim into believing that their PC’s sluggishness is due to a Windows update.
Simultaneously, the ransomware initiates another process (often named with 4 random characters) to scan the victim’s PC for specific files and encrypt them. Additionally, the ransomware deletes Volume Shadow Copies from the system disk using the following CMD command:
vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet
Once deleted, the ability to recover the previous computer state via System Restore Points is lost. Unfortunately, the ransomware operators actively disable native Windows techniques that could otherwise aid victims in restoring their files without charge. Furthermore, the perpetrators tamper with the Windows HOSTS file by appending a list of domains and linking them to the localhost IP. Consequently, attempting to access any of the blacklisted websites results in a DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.
Our observations indicate that the ransomware deliberately blocks websites that provide various how-to guides for computer users. Evidently, by restricting specific domains, the criminals seek to prevent victims from accessing relevant and helpful information about ransomware attacks online. This malicious software also deposits two text files on the victim’s computer, containing pertinent details about the attack: the victim’s public key and personal ID. These files are named bowsakkdestx.txt and PersonalID.txt.
Despite these modifications, the malware remains persistent. Variants of STOP/DJVU have shown a propensity to implant the Vidar password-stealing Trojan on compromised systems. This particular threat boasts an extensive array of capabilities, which encompass:
- Executing malicious software on the victim’s computer to gather sensitive data.
- Procuring unauthorized login credentials from accounts on platforms like Steam, Telegram, and Skype.
- Covertly manipulating and perusing files on the victim’s computer, all without their awareness.
- Pilfering cryptocurrency wallets stored on the victim’s system.
- Affording the hackers remote control over the victim’s computer, enabling a spectrum of malicious activities.
- Extracting sensitive information, including browser cookies, stored passwords, and browsing history.
The encryption algorithm employed by the STOP/Djvu ransomware is AES-256. Consequently, if your data has been encrypted using an online decryption key, the prospects of recovering your files are notably dim. The reason is that this decryption key is unique to each victim, and identifying a suitable key demands an exceptionally substantial amount of time.
Discovering an alternate method to retrieve the online decryption key is also an endeavor verging on futility. The key is stored on a remote server controlled by the individuals promoting the Wzqw infection. To obtain the unlocking key, a payment of $980 is required. For a detailed breakdown of the payment procedure, victims are advised to contact the perpetrators via email ([email protected]).
The message by the ransomware states the following 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: [email protected] Reserve e-mail address to contact us: [email protected] Your personal ID: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Do not pay the ransom!
Please, try to use the available backups, or Decrypter tool
The _readme.txt file also states that the computer owner should contact the hackers’ representatives within 72 hours after the attack. On the condition of getting in touch within 72 hours, hackers grant a 50% off. This decreases the ransom sum down to $490.
Yet, stay away from paying off the ransom! I highly recommend that you to avoid contacting these scammers and do not pay. A highly effective solution to regain the lost data is just using the available backups, or using Decrypter tool from Emsisoft.
The peculiarity of all such viruses is the employment a similar set of actions for decryption key generation. Thus, unless the ransomware is still in development or exhibits some hard-to-track flaws, manually recovering the ciphered data is a thing you can’t perform. The only solution to prevent the loss of your valuable data is to regularly make backups of your important files.
Keep in mind that even if you do maintain such backups regularly, they should be stored 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 substitute external hard drive storage. Alternatively, you may refer to the help of online (cloud) information storage.
It goes without saying, when you keep your backup data on your common device, it may be encrypted together with your files. For this reason, placing the backup on your computer’s disk is surely not a wise idea.
How I was infected?
Ransomware has a various methods to built into your system. But it doesn’t really matter what way had place in your case.
Ransomware attack following a successful phishing attempt.
Nonetheless, these are the common vulnerabilities through which the injection into your PC may occur:
- Utilizing online free hosting resources as a covert means to distribute the virus undetected.
- Infiltrating the virus installer within various applications, especially those offered as freeware or shareware.
- Disseminating the virus via spam emails containing misleading links that lead to its installation.
- Acquiring pirated software from illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) sources, thereby exposing users to potential malware risks.
Instances have arisen where the Wzqw virus camouflaged itself as something legitimate. For instance, messages might insist on running a browser update or installing an ostensibly crucial codec for online media playback. This often serves as a tactic in online scams to manipulate you into manually deploying the ransomware, essentially involving you in the process.
Naturally, the counterfeit update alert will not explicitly reveal that you’re installing a threat. Such installations remain concealed beneath an alert that seemingly mandates the installation of an urgent security update or some questionable program.
Undoubtedly, software cracks also pose a threat. Engaging in P2P activities is illegal and exposes you to the risk of introducing severe malware, including the Wzqw ransomware.
To summarize, what steps can you take to prevent the ransomware from infiltrating your system? While there’s no absolute guarantee against PC damage, here are some tips to impede the Wzqw intrusion. Exercise caution when employing free software nowadays.
Always ensure you thoroughly read the installation prompts apart from the primary free program. Steer clear of executing suspicious email attachments. Refrain from running files sent by unknown senders. Undoubtedly, it’s imperative that your current anti-malware program remains consistently updated.
The malware remains discreet, evading overt exposure. It won’t manifest in the list of accessible programs. Rather, it masquerades as a malicious process running inconspicuously in the background, initiating upon your computer’s boot-up.
How To Remove Ransomware?
Remove Wzqw Virus with Gridinsoft Anti-Malware
We have also been using this software on our systems ever since, and it has always been successful in detecting viruses. It has blocked the most common Ransomware as shown from our tests with the software, and we assure you that it can remove Wzqw Virus as well as other malware hiding on your computer.
To use Gridinsoft for remove malicious threats, follow the steps below:
1. Begin by downloading Gridinsoft Anti-Malware, accessible via the blue button below or directly from the official website gridinsoft.com.
2.Once the Gridinsoft setup file (setup-gridinsoft-fix.exe) is downloaded, execute it by clicking on the file.
3.Follow the installation setup wizard's instructions diligently.
4. Access the "Scan Tab" on the application's start screen and launch a comprehensive "Full Scan" to examine your entire computer. This inclusive scan encompasses the memory, startup items, the registry, services, drivers, and all files, ensuring that it detects malware hidden in all possible locations.
Be patient, as the scan duration depends on the number of files and your computer's hardware capabilities. Use this time to relax or attend to other tasks.
5. Upon completion, Anti-Malware will present a detailed report containing all the detected malicious items and threats on your PC.
6. Select all the identified items from the report and confidently click the "Clean Now" button. This action will safely remove the malicious files from your computer, transferring them to the secure quarantine zone of the anti-malware program to prevent any further harmful actions.
8. If prompted, restart your computer to finalize the full system scan procedure. This step is crucial to ensure thorough removal of any remaining threats. After the restart, Gridinsoft Anti-Malware will open and display a message confirming the completion of the scan.
Remember Gridinsoft offers a 6-day free trial. This means you can take advantage of the trial period at no cost to experience the full benefits of the software and prevent any future malware infections on your system. Embrace this opportunity to fortify your computer's security without any financial commitment.
Trojan Killer for “Wzqw Virus” removal on locked PC
In situations where it becomes impossible to download antivirus applications directly onto the infected computer due to malware blocking access to websites, an alternative solution is to utilize the Trojan Killer application.
There is a really little number of security tools that are able to be set up on the USB drives, and antiviruses that can do so in most cases require to obtain quite an expensive license. For this instance, I can recommend you to use another solution of GridinSoft - Trojan Killer Portable. It has a 14-days cost-free trial mode that offers the entire features of the paid version. This term will definitely be 100% enough to wipe malware out.
Trojan Killer is a valuable tool in your cybersecurity arsenal, helping you to effectively remove malware from infected computers. Now, we will walk you through the process of using Trojan Killer from a USB flash drive to scan and remove malware on an infected PC. Remember, always obtain permission to scan and remove malware from a computer that you do not own.
Step 1: Download & Install Trojan Killer on a Clean Computer:
1. Go to the official GridinSoft website (gridinsoft.com) and download Trojan Killer to a computer that is not infected.
2. Insert a USB flash drive into this computer.
3. Install Trojan Killer to the "removable drive" following the on-screen instructions.
4. Once the installation is complete, launch Trojan Killer.
Step 2: Update Signature Databases:
5. After launching Trojan Killer, ensure that your computer is connected to the Internet.
6. Click "Update" icon to download the latest signature databases, which will ensure the tool can detect the most recent threats.
Step 3: Scan the Infected PC:
7. Safely eject the USB flash drive from the clean computer.
8. Boot the infected computer to the Safe Mode.
9. Insert the USB flash drive.
10. Run tk.exe
11. Once the program is open, click on "Full Scan" to begin the malware scanning process.
Step 4: Remove Found Threats:
12. After the scan is complete, Trojan Killer will display a list of detected threats.
13. Click on "Cure PC!" to remove the identified malware from the infected PC.
14. Follow any additional on-screen prompts to complete the removal process.
Step 5: Restart Your Computer:
15. Once the threats are removed, click on "Restart PC" to reboot your computer.
16. Remove the USB flash drive from the infected computer.
Congratulations on effectively removing Wzqw Virus and the concealed threats from your computer! You can now have peace of mind, knowing that they won't resurface again. Thanks to Gridinsoft's capabilities and commitment to cybersecurity, your system is now protected.
How To Decrypt .wzqw Files?
How to restore big files?
Try deleting .wzqw extension on a few big files and opening them. This malware has issues with large files encryption. Either the virus read and did not lock the file, or it bugged and did not add the filemarker. If your files are very large (2GB+), the latter is most likely. Please, text me in the comments whether this helped you or not.
As a result of the changes made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer assisted. It has been replaced with the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu Ransomware developed by Emsisoft.
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:
As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:
Select folders for decryption.
By default settings, the decryptor will autonomously opt for the accessible directories to initiate decryption. This includes the presently connected drives as well as network drives. If you wish to include additional locations, you can do so by using the “Add” button.
Typically, decryptor tools provide a range of choices tailored to the particular malware strain. These potential choices are outlined within the Options tab and can be toggled on or off accordingly. A comprehensive inventory of the currently operational Options is detailed below:
Click on the “Decrypt” button.
As soon as you 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:
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 messages here if you need to do so.
The Emsisoft Decryptor might display different messages after a failed attempt to restore your files:
✓ Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [your ID]
✓ No key for New Variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
✓ Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
It can take a few weeks or months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. Please follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here.
✓ Remote name could not be resolved
How to Restore .wzqw Files?
In some case ransomware is not doom for your files…
The Wzqw ransomware encryption mechanism feature is next: it encrypts every file byte-by-byte, then saves a file copy, deleting (not overriding!) the original file. Thus, the information of the file placement on the disk drive is lost, but the original file is not removed from the drive. The cell, or the sector where this file was kept, can still contain this file, but it is absent in the file system and can be rewritten by data that has been loaded to this drive after the deletion. Hence, it is possible to recover your files using special software.
Despite the realization that the encryption was executed via an online algorithm, the prospect of recovering my encrypted files remained unattainable. At the time of the virus incident, I had my backup drive connected, and to my initial belief, it seemed that this drive had also fallen victim to infection. All the folders within my backup drive appeared to have been compromised and encrypted. While this led to the unfortunate loss of some critical files, a glimmer of hope emerged when I discovered that approximately 80% of my expansive 2TB storage could be reclaimed.
Upon delving into the folders, a recurring pattern emerged: each folder contained the ransom note named readme.txt. Upon further investigation, I discerned that files located directly within a folder (not within a subfolder) were the ones subjected to encryption. However, an anomaly and a ray of hope emerged when I explored subfolders nested within other folders – remarkably, these files had remained unencrypted. This meant that while encryption had taken hold across all folders, both in the C and D drives, including subfolders, the same phenomenon didn’t apply to the backup drive. The creation of subfolders within a primary folder emerged as the saving grace that safeguarded 80% of my data.
It’s my belief that this might be a limited loophole applicable to a backup drive scenario. Furthermore, I managed to recover an additional 10% of my data from another hard drive connected to a separate computer. My experience compels me to offer a piece of advice: if you utilize a backup drive, implement the practice of creating subfolders. In my case, a blend of fortune and misfortune played out – while I was fortunate in one aspect, I faced the misfortune of the virus striking while I was in the process of transferring files from my backup.
Hopefully, this can help some other people in my situation.Jamie Newland
Recovering your files with PhotoRec
PhotoRec is an free program, which is initially created for files recovery from damaged disks, or for data recovery in case if they are unintentionally deleted. However, as time has gone by, this program got the ability to restore the files of 400 different formats. Hence, it can be used for file restoration after the Wzqw attack.
First, you need to download this app. It is 100% free, but the developer states that there is no warranty that your files will be recovered. PhotoRec is spread in a pack with other utility of the same developer – TestDisk. The resulting archive will bear TestDisk name, but don’t worry. PhotoRec files are right inside.
To open PhotoRec, you need to find and open “qphotorec_win.exe” file. No installation is required – this program has all the files it need inside of the archive, hence, you can fit it on your USB drive, and help your friends/parents/anyone who has been attacked by Wzqw ransomware.
After the start, you will encounter the screen showing you the complete list of your disks. However, this data is presumably useless, because the required menu is placed a bit higher. Click this tab, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.
After picking the disk, you need to pick the destination folder for the restored files. This menu is located at the lower part of the PhotoRec window. The best selection is to export them on USB drive or any other type of removable disk.
Then, you need to designate the file formats. This feature is located at the bottom, too. As it was mentioned, PhotoRec can regain the files of about 400 different formats.
Finally, you can begin files retrieval by pressing the “Search” button. You will see the screen where the findings of the scan and recovery are shown.
Wzqw files recovery Video Guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
No way. These files are encrypted by ransomware. The contents of encrypted files are not available until they are decrypted.
If your data remained in the .wzqw 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.
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. Also, these viruses install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions (for example, theft of passwords, credit cards) often.
In this situation, you need to prepare the memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer.
Have patience. You are infected with the new version of STOP/DJVU ransomware, and decryption keys have not yet been released. Follow the news on our website.
We will keep you posted on when new keys or new decryption programs appear.
The Wzqw ransomware encrypts only the first 150KB of files. So MP3 files are rather large, some media players (Winamp for example) may be able to play the files, but – the first 3-5 seconds (the encrypted portion) will be missing.
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.
If the guide doesn’t help you to remove infection, please download the GridinSoft Anti-Malware that I recommended. Do not forget to share your experience in solving the problem. Please leave a comment here! This can help other victims to understand they are not alone. And together we will find ways to deal with this issue.
I need your help to share this article.
It is your turn to help other people. I have written this guide to help people like you. You can use buttons below to share this on your favorite social media Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.Brendan Smith
How To Restore & Decrypt .WZQW Files?
Name: WZQW Ransomware
Description: The WZQW Virus belongs to the STOP/DJVU family of ransomware infections. This malicious software encrypts various file types, including videos, photos, and documents, which become identifiable by a distinct wzqw extension. As a result, the affected files become inaccessible and unusable. Subsequently, the WZQW ransomware demands a ransom payment in Bitcoin from its victims, ranging from $490 to $980.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
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