ZEROCOOL Ransomware ๐Ÿ” (.ZEROCOOL File) โ€” Removal Guide

Written by Brendan Smith

The Zerocool virus falls within the ransomware type of malicious agent. A harmful program of this type encrypts all the data on your computer (photos, text files, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and adds its own extension to every file, leaving the ZeroCool_Help.txt text files in each folder containing encrypted files.

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What is Zerocool virus?

Zerocool appends its specific .ZeroCool extension to every file’s title. For example, a file named “photo.jpg” will be changed to “photo.jpg.ZeroCool”. In the same manner, the Excel file named “table.xlsx” will be changed to “table.xlsx.ZeroCool”, and so forth.

In each folder with the encoded files, a ZeroCool_Help.txt file will appear. It is a ransom money note. Therein you can find information on the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other information. The ransom note usually contains instructions on how to purchase the decryption tool from the tamperers. That is pretty much the scheme of the malefaction.

Zerocool Summary:

NameZerocool Virus
Extension.ZeroCool
Ransomware noteZeroCool_Help.txt
DetectionMSIL/TrojanDownloader.Agent.GVS, TrojanDropper:Win32/Agent.UM, Trojan:Win32/Gepys.DSB!MTB
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) get a .ZeroCool extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Zerocool virus

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

Zerocool Virus - encrypted .ZeroCool files

That is how encrypted “.ZeroCool” files look.

How did my machine catch Zerocool ransomware?

There is a huge number of possible ways of ransomware injection.

Nowadays, there are three most exploited methods for criminals to have ransomware acting in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan introduction and peer-to-peer file transfer.

  • If you open your mailbox and see letters that look like familiar notifications from utility services companies, delivery agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is unknown to you, beware of opening those letters. They are very likely to have a malicious file attached to them. Thus it is even more dangerous to download any attachments that come with emails like these.
  • Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan file model. A Trojan is an object that infiltrates into your machine disguised as something different. For example, you download an installer of some program you want or an update for some program. But what is unboxed turns out to be a harmful program that encrypts your data. As the installation wizard can have any name and any icon, you have to make sure that you can trust the source of the stuff you’re downloading. The optimal way is to trust the software developers’ official websites.
  • As for the peer-to-peer networks like torrent trackers or eMule, the threat 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 resources. Also, it is reasonable to scan the directory containing the downloaded items with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is done.

How do I get rid of ransomware?

It is crucial to inform you that besides encrypting your files, the Zerocool virus will probably install Vidar Stealer on your computer to seize your credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That spyware can derive your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Remove Zerocool 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 Zerocool as well as other malware hiding on your computer.

Gridinsoft Anti-Malware - Main Screen

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.

setup-gridinsoft-fix.exe

3.Follow the installation setup wizard's instructions diligently.

Gridinsoft Setup Wizard

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.

Scan for Zerocool Ransomware

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.

The Zerocool was Found

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.

The Zerocool has been removed

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 “Zerocool” 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.

Trojan Killer - Main View

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.

Download Trojan Killer

2. Insert a USB flash drive into this computer.

3. Install Trojan Killer to the "removable drive" following the on-screen instructions.

Install Trojan Killer to Removable Drive

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.

Click Update Button

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.

Searching Zerocool Virus

Step 4: Remove Found Threats:

12. After the scan is complete, Trojan Killer will display a list of detected threats.

Searching Zerocool Finished

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.

Restart needed

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 Zerocool 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.

Often tamperers would decrypt few of your files so you know that they indeed have the decryption tool. As Zerocool virus is a relatively recent ransomware, security software developers have not yet found a way to undo its work. Nevertheless, the anti-ransomware tools are frequently upgraded, so the solution may soon arrive.

Of course, if the criminals succeed in encrypting someone’s critical files, the hopeless person will probably fulfill their demands. Despite that, paying a ransom does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your files back. It is still risky. After getting the money, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption key to the victim. There were reports about hackers simply disappearing after getting the money without even writing back.

The optimal solution against ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud drive or at least on an external drive. Of course, that might be not enough. Your most crucial thing could be that one you were working upon when it all happened. But at least it is something. It is also wise to scan your drives with the antivirus program after the OS restoration.

Zerocool 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, Lqepjhgjczo, 3am, Oopl, and some others. The two major differences between them and the Zerocool are the ransom amount and the method of encryption. The rest is almost identical: files become inaccessible, their extensions altered, ransom notes are created in each folder containing encoded files.

Some fortunate victims were able to decode the blocked files with the aid of the free tools provided by anti-malware developers. Sometimes the hackers accidentally send the decoding key to the wronged in the ransom readme. Such an epic fail allows the injured part to restore the files. But of course, one should never rely on such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a tamperers’ technology to lay their hands on the money of their victims.

How to avoid ransomware infection?

Zerocool ransomware doesnโ€™t have a superpower, so as any similar malware.

You can armour your system from its attack taking three easy steps:

  • Ignore any emails from unknown senders with strange addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (can you win in a lottery without participating in it?). In case the email subject is likely something you are waiting for, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious letter carefully. A fake letter will always have a mistake.
  • Never use cracked or unknown programs. Trojan viruses are often distributed as a part of cracked software, most likely as a โ€œpatchโ€ which prevents the license check. But potentially dangerous programs are very hard to distinguish from trustworthy ones, because trojans sometimes have the functionality you seek. You can try searching for information about this software product on the anti-malware forums, but the best way is not to use such software.
  • And to be sure about the safety of the objects you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software will be a perfect shield for your PC.

Frequently Asked Questions

๐Ÿค” How can I open “.ZeroCool” files?Are the “.ZeroCool” files accessible?

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

๐Ÿค” I really need to decrypt those โ€œ.ZeroCoolโ€ files ASAP. How can I do that?

Hopefully, you have made a copy of those important files. Otherwise, you might try to employ System Restore. The only question is whether you have saved any Restore Points that would be helpful now. The rest of the methods require patience.

๐Ÿค” Will GridinSoft Anti-Malware remove all the encrypted files alongside the Zerocool virus?

Absolutely 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 system is must be still active and it scans your system periodically to arrest any new files you might create on your PC after the infection. As it has been said above, the Zerocool virus does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can take your account passwords by trespass and provide criminals with easy access to your system in the future.

๐Ÿค” What actions should I take if the Zerocool ransomware has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation key.

In such a case, you need to prepare a flash memory card with a pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to do the cleaning. You see, the ransomware starts automatically as the system boots and encodes any new files created or brought into your computer. To block this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential programs to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on booting Windows in Safe Mode.

๐Ÿค” What can I do right now?

Some of the encrypted data can be located elsewhere.

  • If you sent or received your critical files by email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
  • You might have shared images or videos with your friends or relatives. Simply ask them to give 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 too.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old PC, a portable device, cellphone, external storage, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can use file recovery utilities1 to get your lost data back since ransomware arrests the copies of your files, removing the original ones. In the tutorial below, you can learn how to use PhotoRec for such a restoration, but remember: you can do it only after you remove the virus with an antivirus program.

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Brendan Smith
How to Remove ZEROCOOL Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: ZEROCOOL Virus

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

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. 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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