Are all the files on your PC suddenly got “.stax” extension? Are you not able to open any of your files? It is a clear sign of STOP/DJVU Ransomware infection. This .Stax File Virus is a variant of this notorious Ransomware infection that encrypts files on targeted PC and adds “.stax” extension to file names. It also leaves a ransom note “_readme.txt” to demand extortion money to unlock the files. This guide can help you delete this virus and restore your files without paying the ransom money to hackers.
What is Stax Ransomware
Stax 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. This notorious threat is also commonly known as .Stax file virus because it appends “.stax” extension to the file names after successful encryption. The primary motive of the creators of this virus is to extort money from users in return for the decryption tool.
Stax Virus is able to attack all versions of Windows computers without users’ permission. Upon infiltration, it runs the malicious algorithm to lock all personal files of the victim. After encrypting files, it also leaves a ransom note “_Readme.txt” on the infected system to ask for the ransom money. This dubious .Stax file 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.
What happened to your files
If your PC is infected by .Stax Ransomware Virus, then all your files are encrypted. In simple words, your files are still on your computer but you can no longer access them. You will be asked to buy the decryption key to unlock your data.
You can see an extra “.stax” extension at the end of all your file names. For example, the file name “monthlyreport.xls” will get changed after the ransomware attack into “monthlyreport.xls.stax” which cannot be opened without the decryption key.
After encryption, a ransom note “_readme.txt” will be placed on your system demanding $490 to $980 USD in Bitcoin for the decryption tool. Criminals also ask users to contact through emails: “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “email@example.com” for further instructions.
Encryption of Data on infected PC
Stax 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 .Stax 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 .Stax extension virus, 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.
Stax Virus and decryption of files
The decryption of files encrypted by .Stax File Virus completely depends on obtaining the decryption key. Although hackers 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 words 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 money to hackers 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 .Stax file virus, all your files are encrypted and you should not risk your money too. Hackers 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” left by .Stax File Virus
As we have already mentioned, after encrypting your files, Stax Ransomware will leave a ransom note on your computer. It is the standard practice of all file-encrypting malware to extort money from victims. This notorious variant of the STOP/DJVU family, Stax virus will also drop its note in all folders on your computer. This note contains a text message claiming that there is no other way of restoring files. Hackers 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 .Stax virus is set $980 USD by hackers but they are offering a 50% discount if victims will pay the ransom money within 72 hours. Hackers are suggesting users take the deal and pay $490 USD through Bitcoin and contact through emails – firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to get the decryption tool.
Ransom note (_Readme.txt) contains the following text message :
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-gSEEREZ5tS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Reserve e-mail address to contact us: email@example.com Your personal ID:
Hackers are demanding money through bitcoin which cannot be traced and chanced 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 .Stax Virus Ransomware completely from your system or it will keep encrypting your files.
Stax 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 sneak into your system without permission through deceptive tricks. Creators of malware like Stax 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 malicious programs that can get installed in the background without asking for permission. Downloading pirated or cracked software from torrent and suspicious sites may bring .Stax 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.
Removal of Stax Virus and File Recovery
If you want to get back your files encrypted by .Stax File virus 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 .Stax virus. We have created a guide to help you remove this infection, just follow the steps mentioned below.
Automatic Stax Virus Removal Guide
As you already know that, Stax 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 Stax effectively is to use a powerful Automatic Removal Tool and save your time and effort. 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.
Some time threats like Stax Virus keep getting back on the machine if all associated files are not removed. You should use a powerful Malware Removal Tool to run a thorough scan of your PC and delete all threats at once.SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware offers a 7-day fully-functional Free Trial. Credit card required, NO charge upfront. No charge if you cancel up to two business days before the trial period ends. Read SpyHunter 5 Review, and Free SpyHunter Remover details.
- Then double-click on the installer you downloaded to install the program.
- Launch Anti-Malware application and Start Scan Now of your PC.
- The software will scan your PC for all hidden threats and viruses on your system.
- Click on the Next button to see results and delete Stax and other threats.
How To Recover .Stax Files
As all your files got encrypted by the .Stax 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.
Currently, there is no Stax ransomware decryption tool available, we recommend you use powerful data recovery software to decrypt .Stax Files. 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.
- Install the program, launch it then select the Data type to recover, and click the Next button.
- Select the location from where you want to recover data and click the Scan button.
- After the scan, software will list all files, select them and click the Recover button.
Manual Stax Removal Guide
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.
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 any malicious or Stax Virus related process.
- Now right-click on it then click End process.
How To Uninstall Stax 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 Stax related or malicious programs.
Remove Virus related IP address from Hosts Files
- Press Windows Key + R buttons together on the keyboard.
- Type C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc in Run Box and then click the OK button.
- Now open the hosts file with Notepad.
- Look for any suspicious IP address that might be related to Stax Virus.
- Delete all the malicious IP addresses and save the host files.
Remove Virus related Windows Registry entries
- Press Windows Key + R buttons together on the keyboard.
- Type regedit in Run Box and then click the OK button.
- Registry Editor will open, then press CTRL +F buttons together.
- Now type Stax and then click on Find Next button.
- Find all the related entries and delete them one by one
Delete Virus related files from your PCWhen 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 .Stax 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
Remove Stax 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.
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 .Stax 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 Stax Virus From MacOSIf 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 Stax 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 Stax or any other unwanted program then move it to Trash.
Remove Stax Virus Related Files From MacWhen any program is installed on your Mac, it creates several files on your system that support the functioning of that application. If you need to remove any virus from your Mac, then you need to delete all related files completely. These files could be found at :
- Application Support
- First of all press the Command+Shift+G buttons together on your keyboard.
- Now you can see Go To Folder option on your Mac screen.
- Type in /Library/LaunchAgents in the text field and click on Go button.
- Find and remove any Stax Virus related or malicious file.
Attention: If you are not tech-savvy, then it could be quite difficult to remove Stax File Virus manually from your Mac. The best way is to download SpyHunter 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.
How SpyHunter Mac Anti-Malware Works
- First, download the SpyHunter for Mac by clicking on the below button.
Some time threats like Stax Virus keep getting back on the machine if all associated files are not removed. You should use a powerful Malware Removal Tool to run a thorough scan of your Mac and delete all threats at once.SpyHunter for Mac offers a 15-day fully-functional Free Trial. Credit card required, NO charge upfront. No charge if you cancel up to two business days before the trial period ends. Read SpyHunter for Mac Review, and Free SpyHunter Remover details.
- Now go to the Download Folder from the Docs and Install the SpyHunter Anti-Malware For Mac.
- Launch the Program, and click on Start Scan Now button.
- The software will start running a full scan of your mac instantly to look for any malware, virus, threats, malicious programs or security risks, and so on.
- Finally, you will see a list of malware detected on your mac, now click on the Next button to start the removal process.
Tips To Prevent .Stax 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 a backup of all your important files to avoid data loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is .Stax File Virus Ransomware?
Stax Virus is a Ransomware infection that encrypts all the files on an infected PC such as Videos, photos, music, databases, documents, backup, etc. After that, it forces victims’ to pay huge ransom money for the decryption key. It is the latest variant of STOP/DJVU Ransomware infection. It adds its own “.stax” extension to all your files and also ransom note “_Readme.txt” in all compromised folders.
How did Stax Virus infected my computer?
Creators of this threat can use several techniques to spread this malware. Usually, threats like Stax Virus intrude on your computer through Bundled Freeware programs, Spam emails, cracked software, illegal patches, fake software updates, clicking on suspicious links, and visiting porn or torrent sites.
How can I open “.Stax” files?
Unfortunately, you cannot open “.Stax” files without decrypting them first. All your files are encrypted and you need a decipher or decryption key to unlock those files before accessing them.
Are my files completely lost?
No, your files are still there on your computer but you simply don’t have access. Stax virus has encrypted your files and they can only be accessed after using a decrypting key for which it is demanding the ransom money.
How to decrypt .Stax Files?
There is no perfect Stax ransomware decryptor available currently which can restore all your files. But we have suggested a quite effective Stax File Recovery method in this guide which you can follow to recover your files. But don’t try to restore your data without removing the virus because it will keep encrypting your files.
How to Remove Stax Ransomware Virus?
It could be quite hard to remove this infection from computers, especially for non-technical users. We have shared several tips on removing this threat manually in this guide which you can use. If you have no prior experience with virus removal then feel free to Download Stax Ransomware Virus Removal Tool. It is the safest and easiest way to remove this infection from your PC.
Can I reinstall Windows to remove Stax virus and decrypt files?
If you will reinstall your Windows then it might remove the infection from your computer but you will not be able to recover your files. If you only format C Drive then the virus hiding in other drives will infect your system again. You have to use a powerful Anti-malware Tool to delete this virus and only then try to decrypt your files.
What to Do If nothing works?
If you are not able to recover your files by any method then still there is a lot you can do.
1. Make a backup of all your files on any External drive or cloud drive.
2. Remove Stax virus from your PC and move all infected files to an external drive.
3. Make sure there is no other infection hiding on your PC. (Scan twice with Anti-Malware).
4. Try to find any old backup of data and restore your files.
5. If you don’t have a backup, then contact your friends and family so they can check if they have any of your important files.
6. Check your smartphone or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to find old pictures.
7. See if you can download some of your lost software, programs, games, movies, videos, audio from the web.
How to report this attack to Authorities?
If you are also a Victim of the Stax 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 Cybercrime activities:
United States – Guard Online
Australia – SCAMwatch
United Kingdom – Action Fraud
New Zealand – Consumer Affairs Scams
Canada – Canadian Anti-Fraud
Ireland – An Garda Síochána
India – National Cybercrime Reporting Portal
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.