Erqw Ransomware is a data locker malware and a variant of Stop/Djvu group. It encrypts files on the targeted PC by adding “.erqw” file virus extension to all files. For example, the file “monthlyreport.xls” will get changed after the ransomware attack into “monthlyreport.xls.erqw”. It will be an encrypted version of the original file and cannot be opened without the decryption key.
After the encryption of files, it leaves a note “_readme.txt” in all compromised folders. This note contains a ransom demand and instructions to unlock the files. Attackers demand $980 as ransom money to provide decryption tools. This guide can help you delete this virus and restore your files without paying the ransom money.
What is Erqw Ransomware?
Erqw Ransomware is another recently found ransomware-type malware infection that belongs to STOP/DJVU family. This dubious threat is a new variant of a long-lasting file-encrypting virus that uses a powerful algorithm to encode files on the infected computer. The primary motive of the creators of this virus is to extort money from users in return for the decryption tool.
Erqw File Virus is able to attack all versions of Windows computers without users’ permission. Upon infiltration, it runs a powerful encryption algorithm to lock all the personal files of the victim. After encoding files, it also leaves a ransom note “_Readme.txt” on the infected system to ask for the ransom money. This dubious virus scares users by saying that their files can only be unlocked by the decryption tool. All the files on the targeted PC will become useless and a copy of the ransom note can be found in every folder.
Encryption of Data on infected PC
Erqw Ransomware basically performs asymmetric encryption on a compromised PC using powerful military-grade encryption software that generates a unique decryption key for every computer. These unique keys are stored on a remote server and are vital for the restoration of encrypted files. There is no way to access files encrypted by Erqw file virus without that key. Needless to say that every PC needs its own key to unlock files. This nasty virus can encrypt all types of files like videos, images, audio, documents, database, or almost every file typically stored on a personal computer.
If you store important and sensitive documents on your PC then you must keep a backup of your files on any external USB drive or cloud drive. Because once your system is infected by a threat like this, then it could a be a very serious problem. Most of the time, encryption like this is unbreakable or sometimes files also get corrupted. To avoid losing any important documents it is highly recommended to make backup copies.
Erqw File Virus and decryption of files
The decryption of files encrypted by .Erqw File Virus completely depends on obtaining the decryption key. Although attackers are offering the decryption tool for a price which might be the easiest way to restore your data. But you can’t trust cybercriminals to keep their word once they get paid. They will have no motivation whatsoever to decrypt your files. It completely depends on their morals if they want to give you a decryptor or not, once you pay the price. However, we strongly advise victims to not pay ransom money to avoid any scam.
In fact, we have got many reports where victims did not get the decryption tool after paying the money. Your computer is already infected by Erqw file virus, all your files are encrypted and you should not risk your money too. Cybercriminals are only interested in financial benefits and they might re-encrypt your files by releasing new variants. If they once get money from you, they can also attack your system again to make more money.
Ransom Note “_readme.txt” is left on PC
As we have already mentioned, after encrypting your files, Erqw Ransomware will leave a ransom note on your computer. It is the standard practice of all file-encrypting malware to extort money from victims. You can also find that ransom note in all the compromised folders. This note contains a text message claiming that there is no other way of restoring files. Attackers will also offer free decryption of 1 file as proof and ask users to pay the price to decrypt all files.
The base price of decryptor for Erqw Ransomware is set $980 USD. Makers of this virus are offering a 50% discount if victims will pay the ransom money within 72 hours. They suggest users take the deal and pay $490 USD through Bitcoin. Victims are said to contact virus creators through emails provided in ransom note to get the decryption tool.
Cybercriminals are demanding money through bitcoin which cannot be traced and chances are you will lose your money. So it is important that you first try alternative methods to recover your files and avoid unnecessary risk of financial loss.
If you have made backup copies of your important files then you can restore your data without paying ransom money. But first, you will need to delete this nasty ransomware completely from your system or it will keep encrypting your files.
Erqw Ransomware: Threat Analysis
Distribution methods of this type of malware
It is safe to say that you have not downloaded this malware on your computer knowing that it will encrypt all your files. So it must have been sneaking into your system without permission through deceptive tricks. Creators of malware like Erqw file virus use various tricks to deploy their creation. The use of spam email attachments is one of the most used and effective methods. So don’t open any suspicious email from an unknown sender and don’t open email attachments before scanning for viruses.
Software bundling is also a very common method where creators of freeware programs allow third-party attachments. This kind of file may carry harmful programs that can get installed in the background without asking for permission. Downloading pirated or cracked software from torrents and suspicious sites may bring .Erqw file virus on your computer. Clicking on suspicious links or visiting porn sites or sharing files on an unsafe network could also expose your PC to threats. We have created a list of precautionary measures which can help you avoid malware in the future, you can see it at the end of this guide.
How to get your file back?
If you want to get back your encrypted files then you need to first remove it completely. If this nasty malware is not removed, it will keep encrypted your files. Do not format your computer or Re-install Windows because you will not be able to decrypt your files then.
So in my professional opinion, you must use a powerful Anti-malware Tool. Once you successfully remove this infection, then try to recover your files through backup. If you don’t have any backup then you can try using a good Data Recovery software to see if can find previous versions of files encrypted by Erqw Ransomware. We have created a guide to help you remove this infection, just follow the steps mentioned below.
How To Remove Erqw File Virus
Remove Erqw Ransomware with SpyHunter
Removing threats and viruses manually from a computer can be hectic but SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware can make this task much simpler. It can help you find and delete all kinds of threats like Trojans, Ransomware, Spyware, Adware, PUPs, etc. easily from your PC. You just have to install the application and run a new scan on your PC.
It will easily find Erqw virus and all other hidden threats and remove them efficiently in no time. You will also get 24X7 customer support and Custom Malware removal via one-on-one Spyware HelpDesk support. SpyHunter can block threats in real time via its advanced System Guard feature. It is compatible with your anti-virus application and fills the security gaps to provide the best protection.
How SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware Works
- First, you will need to download the SpyHunter Installer on your computer. The below download button will take you to the download page in a new tab, so this guide will be still accessible to you.
- The SpyHunter-Installer.exe file will get downloaded on your PC. Run the installer via a double-click to start the installation and follow the instructions to complete the setup.
- Launch SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware after the installation if it does not automatically starts. Now you will have to click on the Start Scan Now button to detect all hidden threats and viruses on your PC.
- Once you start scanning your system, wait for a few minutes. The software will run a thorough diagnostic of your PC and give you a detailed report of all the threats found on your PC.
- After the scan, a complete list of all threats will be shown to you. Finally, you will just have to click on the Next button to immediately remove all the threats at once.
Start PC in safe mode with networking
- Click on the Windows and R keys together on your keyboard to open the Windows Run Box.
- Now you will need to type in MSConfig and then click the OK button.
- The System configuration settings box will appear on your computer screen.
- Click on the Boot tab, check the Safe Boot option, and select the network box,
- Finally, you will have to click on Apply and then press the OK button.
Kill Malicious Process From Task Manager
- Open the Windows Run box again on your PC by pressing the Windows and R keys together on your keyboard.
- This time you will have to type in taskmgr and then click the OK button to open Windows Task Manager. Look for any unknown or malicious running on your system.
- Select the process which is taking lots of systems resources and then click on the End Task button.
Remove Erqw File Virus From Computer
Threats like this often get installed on your computer with the help of unknown .exe files. You need to find such bogus programs and uninstall them from the control panel. Then you will have to find and remove files created by this virus which can help it in getting back on your system removal. Follow the below steps to manually find and remove malicious apps and files:
Uninstall from Control Panel
Threats like this can act as an application and hence it is important to track and remove programs associated with it. It may not be easy because the program in your control panel may have a different name. You need to identify any unknown or suspicious application that you have not installed yourself.
- Open the Run command on your PC by pressing the Windows key and clicking on the R button simultaneously.
- You will see the Windows Run Box instantly on your system screen.
- Type appwiz.cpl in the open command of the run box and press OK.
- It will take you to the Programs and Features page where you can see the list of all installed programs.
- Look for any suspicious program that may be related to the virus, select it and click on the Uninstall button.
Remove Malicious IP addresses from Windows Hosts Files
- Access the Windows Run Command via the combination of Windows and R keys.
- Search for the location C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc via Run Box.
- It will take you to the system folder where you can see the Windows hosts file.
- Copy the host file to your Desktop or anywhere you want and edit with Notepad.
- Malware tends to add malicious IP addresses to hosts file to automatically connect to remote servers.
- Delete all the IP addresses listed below the localhost and save the file.
- Finally, save this new host file to the folder you opened earlier.
Delete Virus related files from your PC
When any program gets installed on your PC, some files get created at different locations on your PC. The same happens with malware and these files can help the infection get back to your PC after removal. You need to delete all these files at once from your PC to get rid of the virus permanently. Follow the below instructions to remove files related to Erqw Ransomware:
- Access the Windows Run command by pressing the Windows and R button at once on your keyboard.
- Paths to some system locations are mentioned below, open them using Run Box and delete malicious files.
At the first four locations, find and remove any unknown or suspicious folder recently added. They may be created by the virus and may have different names. You can delete all the files from the Temp folder. Use Ctrl, Shift, and Delete keys together for permanent removal or remove the files from the Trash.
Remove Erqw File Virus From Registry Editor
- Again open the Run Box by pressing the Windows and R keys at the same time on your keyboard.
- To access the Windows Registry Editor type regedit into the run command and press OK.
- Now you need to find and remove malicious registry entries created by the virus on your PC.
- Press CTRL and F keys together to start the Find query in the registry editor window.
- Make a search by typing the name of the virus and remove malicious entries.
Remove Erqw Ransomware via system restore
- Search for the Command Prompt on your computer and run as Administrator.
- Type cd restore in the command line and click the Enter button.
- Again type rstrui.exe in and then hit the Enter button.
- It will open the System Restore window on your computer screen.
- To Restore system files and settings you will need to click the Next button.
- Choose a System Restore point from the list and then press the Next button.
- Finally, press the Yes button to start the system restoration process.
Note: You will need a System restore point for this step to work successfully. You cannot revert back your system to a prior state if you don’t have the restore point. No changes will be made to your system and it will not remove any malware. However, threats like this can also delete your restore points, so don’t get disappointed.
How To Decrypt .Erqw Files
As there is no Erqw Ransomware decryptor available that can help you decrypt your files, you need to use alternate methods. The first one is to use the backup. If you have created a backup of your important files then it is going to be quite easy. However, if you don’t have any backup files or they also got encrypted by the virus then you will have to try data recovery software.
We recommend Stellar Data Recovery software because it is a powerful and trusted data recovery software. Paying ransom money is not ideal because it will only motivate hackers to carry out more attacks. You can wait for any free decryptor to be launched but it can take forever. Download the free trial version of data recovery and scan your PC for files. It may be able to recover some of your files and save you lots of money.
- Click on the below download button to get started instantly with the data recovery process on your PC.
- After the download click on the installer file and complete the software installation. Then launch the application and select the Data type to recover, and click the Next button.
- After the selection of data, you will need to select the location from where you want to recover data. Choose the location and then click on the Scan button.
- The software will take some time to scan your system. You will see a list of all the files that can be recovered. You can preview them or click on the Recover button to save them.