.LAO File Virus (LAO Ransomware) Removal + Data Recovery

LAO File Virus is another recent malware infection created by cybercriminals. It is a file encrypting virus that belongs to Dharma Ransomware family. It add “.LAO” extension to the files after encryption. Read this guide to learn how to delete this virus and decrypt your files.

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Threats like LAO Virus keeps getting back on PC if all associated files are not removed. So you are advised to use a powerful Malware Removal Tool to run a thorough scan of your PC and delete all threats at once.

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What is .LAO File Virus

LAO ransomware is a dangerous data locker malware infection that mainly target Windows PC. It is a variant of Dharma virus which silently intrude the victim’s computer and encrypt all the files stored on that machine. The main motive of this threat is force users to pay ransom money to buy decryption key from hackers to unlock their files. This nasty .LAO File Virus can be easily identified by the victims because it append .LAO extension to the end of file names.

Upon the successful intrusion, this dubious threat will scan your entire system for files. Then it will run its powerful encryption algorithm to lock down all your files. After that, .LAO Virus will leave the ransom note on the infected PC to demand ransom money. Here the motive of this threat is quite clear, it puts its victims into position where they have no other options. This notorious malware infection can encrypt all types of data including Video, Audio, Images, database, backup files and pretty much every other file on the computer.

What .LAO Virus Ransomware does

.LAO File Virus is a Ransomware infection which is only interested in blackmailing its victim’s into paying extortion fees. This dubious threat mostly strike in disguise and hide deep into the targeted machine. Users don’t even suspect this threat until it has taken full control over the compromised PC. Suddenly all the files on the targeted computer are encrypted with a powerful RSA encryption algorithm. Victims will then notice that they cannot their file no more and ransom note on their system instruct them to pay for decryption key.

.LAO File Virus

.LAO Ransomware starts the encryption process soon after the intrusion. Like any other data locker virus, it is quite thorough and lock all the files on targeted PC. It append its own “.LAO” extension after file names which makes them easy to identify. For an example, if a file named “incomereport.xls” get encrypted by this virus then it will get changed into “incomereport.xls.LAO” which is not accessible without decryption key.

This virus also then leave ransom note on the system to notify victims about infection and demand ransom money. That note strictly state that all the files are locked with strongest ciphers and can only be opened by unique .LAO decryption key. Unfortunately, this key is not free and users have to pay hefty sum of money to buy it from hackers.

Methods hackers use to distribute ransomware

Understanding how ransomware got on your computer is one big mystery. Internet has changed the world so much. Tons of useful information are available on Internet these days, so are the hackers. They are always ready and looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities and distribute malware. In case of .LAO File Virus, research shows that it is being spread through spam email campaigns and phishing attacks. Various malvertising techniques are also being used by cybercriminals such as software bundling, pirated software, fake updates and patches and many more.

You should really be careful while installing any new program on your computer and check for any bundled programs. Choose the custom or Advanced installation methods to avoid any malicious attachments. Do not browse porn or torrent sites, and never download pirated software or application on your computer. Avoid sharing files on unsafe network and clicking on annoying pop-ups on your browser. If you want to avoid threats like .LAO Virus in future then be sure to check preventive tips mentioned at the end of this guide.

LAO Ransomware: Threat Analysis

Name LAO
Type Ransomware, File-Encrypting virus
Family Dharma Ransomware
Extension .LAO
Threat Level High (Encrypt all your data and Restrict access to your files).
Symptoms Victims cannot access any files on their PC and find Ransom note asking for money.
Damage LAO Ransomware will  encrypt your data by adding .LAO extension to file names and demand ransom money for decryption key
Distribution It is mainly distributed through spam emails, bundled freeware, porn or torrent sites.
Removal Download SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware
File Recovery Download Data Recovery Software Now

Criminals demand hefty ransom

As mentioned earlier, the most important thing about Ransomware infection is extortion. The whole purpose of cryptovirus is to force users to pay ransom money. This .LAO File virus just like same as others and it is highly motivated to force its victims into paying money. The ransom note left by virus has the sole motive of delivering the message to the victims.

Although hackers claims to give decryption key which allegedly can recover all your encrypted files but you should not trust them. It is not wise to make any deal in haste because many victims got scammed. We have got some many reports where victims claims that after paying ransom money hackers stop responding to their emails. It is highly possible that .LAO virus creators just take your money and block you out completely. Its not like you can complain them or get them arrested because there is no way of tracking who got your money.

Ransom note left by this virus contains following text :

All your files have been encrypted!

All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail filerecovery@zimbabwe.su
Write this ID in the title of your message -
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:filerecovery@zimbabwe.su
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.

Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)

How to obtain Bitcoins
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click 'Buy bitcoins', and select the seller by payment method and price.
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:

Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

What to do once your PC is infected

If your computer is infected by .LAO File Virus, then it means all your files are already encrypted. You probably have read the ransom note which says that there is no way of restoring your files. You might have came to realize that only way to recover your data is by purchasing the decryption key from hackers. There is no free decryptor has been yet released for this malware.

However, we highly recommend that you don’t pay any money to hackers. This course of action will only bring loss and cybercriminals behind LAO virus will get away with your money. Paying ransom money also motivate hackers to carry out more attacks to make profit. This ransom note is only a ruse and means to lure victims into paying money to recover their files. It is not wise to risk your money where your files are already hijacked by hackers.

No matter how tempting it is to just pay the hackers whatever they want and recover your files but it is a bad idea. It is not worth wasting your sleep over and definitely not worth losing your money. If you have made backup of your files on any external drive or cloud storage then you can easily restore your files. But first thing you need to understand is removing LAO Ransomware is the priority here. You can restore your files later through alternate ways like backup or via data recovery software.

How to remove LAO ransomware virus

As we have said earlier that the best course of action is to remove this virus from your PC. It is very crucial that you remove all the files related to this malware at once to get rid of it completely. Otherwise it may keep coming back to your system again and again. We strongly suggest you to use a powerful Anti-Malware Application to remove .LAO File Virus from your PC. We have created a detailed guide to help you remove this infection. For permanent removal of this threat you should combine Automatic and Manual Removal steps and then try Data Recovery software to recover your files.

Automatic LAO Removal Guide

As you already know that, LAO Virus is a notorious and cunning malware that is not hard to remove easily by any user through manual means. This virus can keep coming back on the infected computer through files and shortcuts or settings that it has already created on your machine. Removing all those at once is the only way to get rid of this infection and stop it from getting on your system ever again.

So the best way to remove LAO effectively is to use a powerful Automatic Removal Tool and save your time and efforts. This software is a well-trusted and very powerful anti-malware program that can detect all hidden threats like Trojan, Ransomware, Worms, Spyware, Rootkits, and many others. It also provides 24X7 customer support and one-on-one Spyware HelpDesk support for Custom Malware removal. Advanced System Guard feature detects and removes threats in real-time. It has a very User-Friendly Interface and regular Malware updates make it most effective against the latest malware attacks.

How SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware Works

  • First, you need to click on the below download button to get the software.

Geek’s Recommendation

Some time threats like LAO keeps getting back on the machine if all associated files are not removed. So you are advised to use a powerful Malware Removal Tool to run a thorough scan of your PC and delete all threats at once.

SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read SpyHunter 5 Review, EULA and Privacy Policy

  • Then double-click on the installer you downloaded to install the program.

double clickAllow access

  • Launch Anti-Malware application and Start Scan Now of your PC.

Scan for LAO

  • The software will scan your PC for all hidden threats and viruses on your system.

Scan for LAO

  • Click on the Next button to see results and delete LAO and other threats.

Remove LAO

How To Recover Your Encrypted Files

Now all your files got encrypted by the .LAO Virus then you need to recover your data without paying ransom money to hackers. If your files are important then you must have created a backup and you can use that backup to recover your files. If you don’t have a backup or this virus has encrypted your backup files, then you are left to seek professional help.

We recommend you use powerful data recovery software to restore your files encrypted .LAO File Virus. It is a risk-free and smart way. You can just download the free version and scan your PC for files. There is a high probability that it can recover most of your files in a fraction of the amount that hackers are demanding. It is also needless to say that paying hackers will only motivate hackers to carry out more attacks.

  • First, you need to download Data Recovery software on your PC.

Download Data Recovery Software Now

  • Install the program, launch it then select the Data type to recover, and click the Next button.

select Data type

  • Select the location from where you want to recover data and click the Scan button.

Select location

  • After the scan, software will list all files, select them and click the Recover button.

Recover LAO encrypted files

Manual LAO Removal Guide

tip Before you start Manual Removal
Please Bookmark This Page by pressing the {ctrl+D} button or print it out on paper before you start the Manual Removal because you may need to restart your PC or browser.) Attention! For the safety of your system, please confirm few things before you begin Manual Removal of LAO Ransomware:
  1. You have done this before, which means you have experience in removing the virus manually;
  2. That you know your way around PC and  all necessary process and applications;
  3. You know about Registry entry and the Serious repercussions of any mistake;
  4. Make sure you can reverse any mistake made during .LAO Virus manual removal.

If you don’t attain any of the above standards, then manual removal could be a very risky idea. It is most likely best for you to use the Automatic Malware Removal Tool to find and delete LAO Virus, which is totally secure and efficient method.

SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read SpyHunter 5 Review, EULA and Privacy Policy


Start PC in safe mode with networking

  • Press Windows Key + R buttons together on the keyboard.
  • Type msconfig in the Run Box then click the OK button.
  • Click on the Boot tab then the System configuration window will appear.
  • Choose Safe Boot, check the network box, Click Apply, and press the OK button.

Safe boot

Kill Malicious Process From Task Manager

  • Press Windows Key + R buttons together on the keyboard.
  • Type taskmgr in Run Box and then click the OK button.
  • Find LAO related or any malicious process.
  • Now right-click on it then click End process.

Stop LAO related task

How To Uninstall LAO from Windows PC

  • First of all Press Windows Key + R buttons together.
  • Type appwiz.cpl in the Run box and then click the OK button.
  • Now Programs and Features windows will appear on the screen.
  • Find and remove all LAO related or malicious programs.

Remove LAO

Warning: Do not play with Windows registry, host file of restore options if you don’t have previous experience with. Removing wrong files may break your system entirely. So if you are not sure, then stick to the Automatic Malware Removal option. SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read SpyHunter 5 Review, EULA and Privacy Policy

Remove Virus related Windows Registry entries

  • Press Windows Key + R buttons together on the keyboard.
  • Type taskmgr in Run Box and then click the OK button.
  • Registry Editor will open, then press CTRL +F buttons together.
  • Now type LAO and then click on Find Next button.
  • Find all the related entries and delete them one by one

Remove LAO related registry

Delete Virus related files from your PC

When a threat gets on to a PC, it most likely creates some files at different locations on the system. These files are used to perform a specific action and also help malware in getting back to the computer once it’s removed. So you just need to find also delete all those files associated with this .LAO File Virus. For that follow the below instruction :

  • Press Windows Key + R buttons together on the keyboard
  • Type each of the following in Run Box and press the OK button
  1. %AppData%
  2. %LocalAppData%
  3. %ProgramData%
  4. %WinDir%
  5. %Temp%

For the first four options, look for any recent folder related to the .LAO File Virus and remove them. For the Temp folder, you can delete all the files.

Remove LAO Virus via system restore

  • Press Windows Key + R buttons together on the keyboard.
  • Type cmd in Run Box and then click the OK button.
  • Type cd restore and press Enter, then type rstrui.exe and press Enter.
  • When the System Restore window opens on your computer screen click the Next button, then choose a System Restore point you have created in the past and click the Next button.
  • Finally, click on the Yes button to start the system restoration process.

Remove LAO via system restore

Note: This will only work if you have a restore point set on your PC or it will give an error message. Restoring the computer to a previous version may or may not remove .LAO File Virus. Most of the time, viruses just delete all the restore points. If this trick does not work for you then don’t get disappointed.

After restoring your computer, we recommend you run a thorough scan of the PC using a Powerful Anti-Malware program to detect and remove any hidden threats. In most cases, viruses may spread through any files outside of the C drive because system restoring only affect the C drive. There may be some Virus related files hiding your PC, and it never hurts to double-check.

Sometimes, system restore doesn’t work or viruses can just remove the restore points. As such you will probably have no other choice than to choose the Automatic Removal Process. It is the best and error-free method to find and remove threats from your computer. Additionally, you should also check some important malware prevention tips provided here in this guide to avoid similar virus attacks in the future.

Remove LAO From MacOS

If you are a mac user, and your machine got infected by this nasty file-encrypting malware then you need to remove it as soon as possible. Although Mac systems are quite safe they still do get infected. So you can delete this infection using the below steps:

Stop Malicious Program From Activity Monitor

  • First, you need to open Utilities folder on your Mac system.
  • Find the Activity Monitor icon and double-click on it to open it.
  • Find LAO related process, click the cross button from the upper left side corner to end task.
  • A pop-up dialogue box will appear on the screen, click on the Force Quit button.

Remove Virus From Application Folder

  • First, go to the Dock option (bottom of your screen) then click on Finder App.
  • Now you have to open the Applications Folders to see all the programs.
  • Find LAO or any other unwanted program then move it to Trash.

Remove LAO From Mac

Attention: If you are not tech-savvy, then it could be quite difficult to remove LAO manually from your Mac. The best way is to download ComboCleaner Mac Anti-Malware and see if it can detect all hidden threats and viruses on your computer. It’s really super easy and you should give it a try.

ComboCleaner Mac Antivirus allows you to scan your Mac for threats and viruses for free, but you will need to purchase a full license to remove found threats. Read EULA.


Tips To Prevent .LAO Virus in Future

  • Use a good anti-virus, be it a free version but don’t use cracked security programs.
  • Make sure that your Windows firewall is active, so it can block upcoming threats.
  • Keep your Windows/Mac OS and other programs updated to avoid vulnerabilities.
  • Download updates only from official websites, don’t use suspicious sites.
  • Never download and install pirated software, games, or illegal patches on your PC.
  • Do not open spam emails from an unknown sender and scan all attachments before opening.
  • Never download freeware third-party programs from unreliable sources or websites.
  • Avoid connecting your PC to unsafe public Wi-Fi to protect your privacy.
  • You can also use a VPN to spoof your connection and avoid malicious sites.
  • Create a system restore point on your system for security purposes.
  • Keep backup of all your important files to avoid data loss.

Report cyber attack to Authorities

If you are also a Victim of LAO virus then you should report this cybercrime incident to legal authorities in your county. Here is the list of some of the official government websites for reporting fraud and scam activities:

You can also search to find the Internet Crime Authority in your country. Meanwhile, it will not help you remove or restore your files in any way but it’s merely information to authorities. Once you register your complaint, authorities might look into and take preventive measures to stop further attacks. However, don’t get lured by third-party criminal reporting sites or fake technical support websites. They are more like to cheat you instead of helping you.

tip Still, having issues? Need help?

Some time threats like LAO keeps getting back on the machine if all associated files are not removed. So you are advised to use a powerful Malware Removal Tool to run a thorough scan of your PC and delete all threats at once.

SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read SpyHunter 5 Review, EULA and Privacy Policy

About the author

Robert Calvert

Robert is the Chief Security Expert and Founder of PCSafetyGeek.com website. He is a cybersecurity enthusiast who loves to research about Malware outbreaks and write about their remedies. He also like to spend time trying new software, reviewing them and sharing IT news. However he is a real coffee lover and likes to play chess in spare time (which is quite rare 😜).

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