Remove .astra Virus Infections and Restore Your Files

The .astra virus also known as the A1Lock ransomware that encrypts system and user data with the .astra extension, read our removal guide to restore your PC.

Manual Removal Guide
Recover .astra Virus Files
Skip all steps and download anti-malware tool that will safely scan and clean your PC.

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How Does .astra Virus Infiltrate the System?

The .astra virus can be delivered to targets using different tactics. One of the main hacker strategies is to employ mass email spam campaigns. The criminals send messages that pose as being sent by popular companies or well-known government institutions. Depending on the campaign the malware may be delivered as a direct file attachment or linked in the body contents. In all cases social engineering tricks are used to manipulate the users into falling victims to the .astra virus.

Some of the sent emails can feature archive files with the ZIP or RAR extension. Usually they are randomly-named for example: P1230001.zip, P1201439.zip, A302011.rar and others.

Infected documents or infected installers are another possible source of infections. The documents can be of different file types and formats (rich text documents, spreadsheets or databases) by using malicious scripts (macros). Other methods include web scripts, ads and browser hijackers.

Example possible document extensions include the following:

doc, docx, vbs, htm, html. xls

Interacting with browser hijackers can lead to other dangers as well:

  • Settings Modification ‒ The extensions modify essential settings of the installed web browsers: the default home page, search engine and new tabs page.
  • Information Harvesting ‒ Browser hijackers have the ability to gather sensitive information which is relayed to the hackers via a network connection: history, bookmarks, passwords, account credentials and form data.
  • Malware Delivery ‒ The extension can lead to a .astra virus infection.

Infection Flow of .astra Virus Virus

Once the infection has been initiated a network connection is created to inform the hacker-controlled servers of the event. The .astra virus has been observed to follow a several tier route of infection by first downloading several additional files to the infected hosts.

The next stage includes modification of the Windows settings and key variables impacting the normal operations. The analysis shows that several processes are created that may impact running applications. It is very possible that some of the .astra virus can disable security software by shutting them down. The hackers have programmed the infection module to manipulate the power settings by disabling sleep mode which can interrupt the encryption process.

Other strains have been detected to impact the startup settings. The .astra virus can be setup as a system service which starts every time the computer is started.

Changed values have been found in the following Windows registry keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

In addition all Shadow Volume copies are deleted by the virus engine, this prevents data recovery attempts. Only a professional-grade application can be used to restore the affected files. We have outlined how users can recover their files in our instructions below.

Note that the ransomware uses a built-in file list of target file type extensions. Depending on the attained strain it can include a different list. Most of the captured samples affect the most commonly used files: documents, archives, photos, videos, music, backups, configuration files and etc.

WHen this is complete all affected files are renamed with the .astra extension. A ransomware note is crafted in a here_your_files!.html file that reads the following:

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. lf you want to restore them, write us in TOR Browser, hxxp://cr7icbfqm64hixta.onion, Install the TOR Browser from this link http.//torproject.org ,in body of your message write your ID
You have to pay for decryption 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 1 Mb (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.
https://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bicoins and beginners guide here:
hxxp://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins/
Attention!
• Do not rename encrypted files.
• Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss…

Like other similar viruses it assigns a custom ID to each infected victim computer. It is usually generated using harvested system dat which poses a very serious security risk. The ransomware note details how the victims can contact the hackers and pay a ransomware fee to potentially recover their data and restore their computers from the infection.

We strongly recommend to disregard such scams and use a quality anti-spyware solution that can effectively remove all found active infections. Follow our removal instructions below to delete the .rose virus. After this is done you can use the listed data recovery application to restore the affected data.

Remove .astra Virus and Restore Data

WARNING! Manual removal of .astra Virus requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removing important data accidentally can lead to permanent system damage. If you don’t feel comfortable with manual instructions, download a powerful anti-malware tool that will scan your system for malware and clean it safely for you.

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SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

.astra Virus – Manual Removal Steps

Start the PC in Safe Mode with Network

This will isolate all files and objects created by the ransomware so they will be removed efficiently. The steps bellow are applicable to all Windows versions.

1. Hit the WIN Key + R

2. A Run window will appear. In it, write msconfig and then press Enter

3. A Configuration box shall appear. In it Choose the tab named Boot

4. Mark Safe Boot option and then go to Network under it to tick it too

5. Apply -> OK

Show Hidden Files

Some ransomware threats are designed to hide their malicious files in the Windows so all files stored on the system should be visible.

1. Open My Computer/This PC

2. Windows 7

    – Click on Organize button
    – Select Folder and search options
    – Select the View tab
    – Go under Hidden files and folders and mark Show hidden files and folders option

3. Windows 8/ 10

    – Open View tab
    – Mark Hidden items option

how to make hidden files visible in Windows 8 10 bestsecuritysearch instructions

4. Click Apply and then OK button

Enter Windows Task Manager and Stop Malicious Processes

1. Hit the following key combination: CTRL+SHIFT+ESC

2. Get over to Processes

3. When you find suspicious process right click on it and select Open File Location

4. Go back to Task Manager and end the malicious process. Right click on it again and choose End Process

5. Next, you should go folder where the malicious file is located and delete it

Repair Windows Registry

1. Again type simultaneously the WIN Key + R key combination

2. In the box, write regedit and hit Enter

3. Type the CTRL+ F and then write the malicious name in the search type field to locate the malicious executable

4. In case you have discovered registry keys and values related to the name, you should delete them, but be careful not to delete legitimate keys

Click for more information about Windows Registry and further repair help

Recover .astra Virus Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with .astra Virus should be removed from the infected PC before any data recovery attempts. Otherwise the virus may encrypt restored files. Furthermore, a backup of all encrypted files stored on external media is highly recommendable.

DOWNLOAD .astra Virus Removal Tool

SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

1. Use present backups

2. Use professional data recovery software

Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery – a specialist tool that can restore partitions, data, documents, photos, and 300 more file types lost during various types of incidents and corruption.

3. Using System Restore Point

    – Hit WIN Key
    – Select “Open System Restore” and follow the steps

restore-files-using-windows-system-restore-point

4. Restore your personal files using File History

    – Hit WIN Key
    – Type restore your files in the search box
    – Select Restore your files with File History
    – Choose a folder or type the name of the file in the search bar
    – Hit the “Restore” button

Preventive Security Measures

  • Enable and properly configure your Firewall.
  • Install and maintain reliable anti-malware software.
  • Secure your web browser.
  • Check regularly for available software updates and apply them.
  • Disable macros in Office documents.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe.
  • Backup regularly your data.
  • Author : Martin Beltov

    Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.


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