Zate is a rapidly spreading ransomware virus. This virus has infected a lot of computers very recently. It belongs to the Stop/Djvu family and uses a very advanced encryption algorithm. It encrypts users’ data to render all the files useless and demands ransom money for decryption.
Zate ransomware appends the “.zate” extension to encrypted files. For example, after encrypting a file named “myphoto.jpg”, it renames it to “myphoto.jpg.zate”. Ransomware also leaves “_readme.txt” ransom notes in all compromised folders. The note contains a threatening message and cybercriminals’ contact details. It asks users to contact attackers via email and pay $980 in Bitcoin for the private key and decrypt software.
What is Zate Virus?
Zate is a very notorious file-encrypting malware. It is a dangerous and rapidly spreading malware. It uses a powerful military-grade encryption algorithm to lock files on infected PC. This virus takes all your files hostage and demands a huge sum of money as ransom.
This virus is aimed to extort money from innocent victims. Files affected by this threat contain the “.Zate” extension at the end. You can see your files on your system but cannot access them. You will need a private key and decryption software to restore your files to their original formats.
This Zate virus is quite effective. It can encrypt all types of files like images, videos, music, documents, databases, backups, etc. After encrypting your personal files, it also generates the “_readme.txt” file. It is a ransom note that contains information about how to contact attackers and buy decryption tools.
It will ask you that your files are encrypted but you can restore them for a price. The Ransom note says that there is but one method to recover your files. You will need to buy decryption tools and as proof of their software, they are willing to decrypt one file for free.
The price of the Zate Ransomware decryptor is set to $980 to be paid in BitCoin (cryptocurrency). Attackers are also throwing a discount of 50% for those who are willing to pay within 72 hours. It is the biggest scam of this virus to lure more users into paying ransom money.
Working of Zate Files Virus
Zate silently intrudes on your PC and scans your entire hard drive for files. Then it starts the encryption of your data. This process happens so fast that users don’t even notice. Once it makes all your files inaccessible, then it leaves the ransom note in all compromised folders.
You can see the “.Zate” extension at the end of all your files. No matter it is a video or picture or database or any other file. You will find that all your files icons got changed. All your files will still be there on your system but in encrypted form. You can see them but cannot access them with any of your system programs.
If you try to rename your files by removing the extension, data can get corrupted. You will need a decryptor to restore your files to their original formats. Unfortunately, there is no free Zate Decryptor available right now. If you will try to restore your files through the backup, this virus will encrypt them too.
Contents of the “_Readme.txt” ransom note
Zate virus creates the ransom note “_readme.txt” after encrypting all your files. You can find this note in almost every compromised folder. This note simply explains that all your files are now encrypted and you cannot access them.
Attackers claim to have a decryption tool that can restore your files. But they want you to pay for the software beforehand. You can also find that they are offering to decrypt 1 file for free as proof that the decryptor works. The price for the decryption software and the private key is $980.
Victims who will pay within 72 hours will get a discount of 50% which means the price for them will be $490. You can also find the email addresses of cybercriminals on which you can write them to buy the decryptor. Criminals also threaten that you will never be able to restore your data without paying ransom money.
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: hxxps://we.tl/t-Oc0xgfzC7q 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:
How it infects your computer?
You must be wondering how this virus infected your PC? There are a lot of ways through which this Zate virus has compromised your system. Cybercriminals use various ways to spread their creation online and target a huge number of computers.
Spam email campaigns are one the most used methods. Attackers create fake emails containing malicious attachments and use software to send them to lots of people at once. They buy email lists and create emails pretending to be some company or famous person. When you get such junk emails, do not open attachments without scanning and do not click on any links.
Cybercriminals also use software bundling to spread malware. If you are downloading any freeware application from a shady website then always used Custom or Advanced installation. They often contain hidden programs that automatically get installed without permission.
Cracked or pirated software, themes, games also contains threat like Trojan to spoof the license. They can spread malware like Zate virus quite easily. Also do not visit porn or torrent websites and avoid sharing files on unsafe networks. Clicking on misleading ads, banners, pop-ups, warnings, etc. can also lead you to suspicious sites that execute the malware on loading.
Zate Ransomware: Threat Analysis
Why I cannot access my files?
You are not able to access your data because of a ransomware attack. Most people don’t actually know anything about ransomware infection. They have no idea about how come they are not able to access any of their data. They simply think that restarting their PC would solve the problem.
But as we told you, ransomware is a file-encrypting virus. It only renders your files inaccessible to prohibit you from accessing your data. Cybercriminals demand the ransom money to give you access to your files back. So if all your files are renamed and have the “.Zate” extension at the end, they are encrypted.
How can I restore my files?
There are ways to restore encrypted data but none of them are easy. There are some risks involved that must be considered first. Attackers are offering a decryptor that can restore your files but they are asking for a huge price. It is not easy to trust someone who has already done you harm by encrypting all your files. You cannot rely on them to keep their promise after getting paid.
You can restore your files through backup if you have one (of course). But for that, you need to remove this Zate Ransomware from your computer first. Otherwise, it will keep encrypting your files and it can also infect your backup. So it is very important to get rid of the virus to start the recovery process.
You might think reinstalling your Windows can remove this virus. It is a bad idea because you will not be able to restore your files then. Also, this virus can hide in other drives and attack your system again. Wiping off your computer could remove this threat but again you cannot restore your data.
So you need to remove this Zate Ransomware first from your PC. Then create a backup of your encrypted files on any USB drive or Cloud drive for safekeeping. Then proceed with the data restoration through backup. if you don’t have any backup then try data recovery software.
Why you should not pay ransom money?
Paying ransom money to buy .Zate File decryptor is not a good idea. Attackers are only interested in stealing your money and they do not care about your files. Threatening to double the ransom fee in 72 hours is a scare technique. They want to intimidate you lose hope of restoring your data any other way.
Cybercriminals often stop communicating after getting paid. Most of the victims don’t get the decryption key after paying money. Djvu variants are also known to re-attack the previous targets. Once you use the decryptor, the virus stays on your PC and the next variant can re-encrypt your data.
You need to completely get rid of this Zate infection to stop further damages. Decryptors don’t always work, some time data get corrupted, so it is not sure that you will get your files back. We advise you not to trust the attackers, no matter how desperate you are, don’t risk losing your money too.
How to protect your PC from Zate Ransomware
Protection from threats like the Zate virus is very crucial. You need to be ready if you don’t want to get blackmailed by cybercriminals. You just need to follow some basic rules and you will never be forced by any ransomware infection.
Use a good Anti-virus program and always scan your PC for threats. Make sure that your Windows is up to date and the firewall is active. Also, keep the latest backup of all your important files on any external USB drive or cloud drive. If any ransomware attacks your system, then you can just remove the virus and restore data from backup.
Do not open spam emails from unknown senders. Always scan the attachments before opening them. Do not click on links that look suspicious. Never click on fake pop-up ads, banners, warnings, notifications, etc. that appear on your browser.
Do not download cracked software or games ever. Such programs often have virus payloads that will infect your system instantly. Avoid downloading hacks or illegal patches for games. Stop visiting porn or torrent sites because they often cause forced redirection to malicious sites.
How To Remove Zate File Virus
Automatic Zate Virus Removal Guide
It can be hectic to remove threats from an infected PC but the use of powerful Anti-Malware can make it quite easy. SpyHunter anti-malware can help you to remove Trojan, Ransomware, Spyware, Adware, PUPs, etc. easily. You can scan your system for Zate virus and all other hidden threats at once. All you need to do is to download this software and run a new scan on your PC.
It will find all the threats and viruses in no time and save you lots of time and effort. This amazing software 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 definition updates make it most effective against the latest attacks.
How SpyHunter 5 Anti-Malware Works
- You will begin by downloading the software on your system for which you have to click on the below download button.
- Once the software has been downloaded, double-click on SpyHunter-Installer.exe to install the Anti-Malware program on your PC and proceed with the setup.
- After installation, you will need to launch the Anti-Malware application. From the welcome screen click on the Start Scan Now button to initiate a new scan of your PC.
- Once the scanning process begins, it will take some time to run a thorough diagnostic of your PC and find all hidden threats and malware.
- Soon you will find a complete list of all the threats on your system screen. Then you will need to click on the Next button to delete all the viruses.
How To Decrypt .Zate Files
As there is no Zate ransomware decryptor available, you will need to use alternate options to restore your files. 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 a data recovery software.
We recommend using 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.
Manual Zate Virus Removal Guide
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 Rub 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.
Uninstall Zate Virus from Control Panel
- Again you will need to open the Windows Run Box, so press the Windows and R keys together.
- This time you need to open the Windows Control Panel, so type in appwiz.cpl and then click the OK button.
- Programs and Features windows will appear on your computer screen with a list of all the installed applications.
- Now you need to look for any unknown or virus related program and then Uninstall it from your PC.
Remove Zate Virus From Registry Editor
- Again open the Windows Run Box on your PC by using the Windows and R keys.
- To open the Windows Registry Editor, type in Regedit and click the OK button.
- Now you will have to find the virus related registry files and remove them.
- Press CTRL and F keys together on the keyboard to start a Find query.
- Type the virus name and click on Find Next button to find malicious entries and delete them.
Remove Malicious IP addresses from Windows Hosts Files
- To open the Windows hosts file, simply press the Windows and R keys together on the keyboard.
- Type C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc in Run Box and then click the OK button.
- Now you will need to access the Windows hosts file using Notepad.
- Most threats add malicious IP addresses here to automatically connect to remote servers.
- Delete all the malicious IP addresses below the localhost and save the file.
Delete Virus related files from your PC
When malware infects your system, it normally creates several malicious files and spread them at different locations. After you remove the malware, these leftover files help them to get back to your computer. Remove all virus related files at once by following the below instruction :
- Open the Windows Run Box again by using the Windows and R keys together.
- Now you will open the below paths one by one using the Run Box and remove malicious files.
For the first four options, look for any recent folder related to the Zate File Virus and remove them. For the Temp folder, you can delete all the files at once. Use Ctrl, Shift, and Delete keys together for permanent removal.
Remove Zate Virus via system restore
- You will again need the Windows Run Box, so press the Windows and R keys together.
- Open the Command Prompt by typing in cmd and then clicking the OK button.
- Type cd restore and press Enter, then type rstrui.exe and press Enter.
- The System Restore window will get opened instantly then click on the Next button.
- Choose a System Restore point you have created in the past and click the Next button.
- Finally, when you will hit the Yes button, the system restoration process with start immediately.
Note: System restore to remove a virus will only work if you have a restore point set on your PC. Otherwise, no changes will be made to your system and it will not remove any threats. Be advised, restoring the computer to a previous version does not always guarantee virus removal. Most viruses delete restore points, so don’t get disappointed if this trick does not work for you.
Prevent Zate Virus in Future
Frequently Asked Questions
What is .Zate File Virus Ransomware?
Zate 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 “.Zate” extension to all your files and also ransom note “_Readme.txt” in all compromised folders.
How did Zate Virus infected my computer?
Creators of this threat can use several techniques to spread this malware. Usually, threats like Zate 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.
Are my files completely lost?
No, your files are still there on your computer but you simply don’t have access. Zate 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 can I open “.Zate” files?
Unfortunately, you cannot open “.Zate” 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. As there is no perfect Zate ransomware decryptor available currently we recommend using Stellar Data Recovery software 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 Zate 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 Zate Ransomware Removal Tool. It is the safest and easiest way to remove this infection from your PC.