If you have had the misfortune of coming across a certain ransomware representative called Serpent, which has encrypted a substantial amount of data stored one your machine, don’t go away. We have prepared this article particularly for cases like yours, so stick around and perhaps you will be able to recover from the devastation that tends to follow these horrible viruses.
Due to the recent outbreak of this particular ransomware, we have been receiving constant queries from users, who have come face to face with this cyber threat. That is precisely why we have compiled this article and the removal guide below – to help people like yourself overcome the negative effects that Serpent may have had on your system. But we also want to explain exactly how this virus works so that you have a better understanding of it in general. This will help you answer some questions that you may have and will come in use in the future. It is our goal not only to make sure that you have dealt with this issue as best you can, but that you avoid ever getting entangled with it from now on.
How does ransomware operate? How did I get infected?
Typically, viruses like Serpent tend to exploit system vulnerabilities in order to breach the victim system and enter. Once this happens, it immediately gets to business and starts creating copies of specific file types on your machine. The copies are identical to the originals, save for one major difference: they are encrypted. And as the encryption process isn’t anything malicious on its own, chances are your antivirus or anti-malware will just let it slip under its radar. This is part of the reason why these awful viruses are so successful – you can hardly notice them and they get to finish their evil business without getting interrupted. However, if you know what to look out for, you might be able to spot an ongoing infection before it’s too late. This will of course depend of the specifications of your machine, as well as the amount of data stored on it, but typically a running ransomware encryption can cause your PC to slow down and you will notice random spikes in CPU and RAM usage in the Task Manager. Should this ever be the case and you have reason to suspect that there’s a virus at work, you should switch off your computer as soon as possible and get in touch with a computer specialist.
There are many possibilities through which you could have caught Serpent. If you don’t recall using software from an illegal or shady website or browsing around one, then it’s possible that you may have received the ransomware through an email. Spam emails are among the most common source for malware of all kinds, and ransomware in particular. Hackers usually disguise their malicious messages as an email from a popular online shop, utility company or something else that seems believable. They usually enclose the virus in a seemingly harmless attached file, such as a Word or PDF document. Alternatively, they may include a link, which will download the virus, and you will be asked to follow it under some semi-credible pretense. Another possible source, where you could have contracted Serpent from, are malvertisements. These are fake online ads that look no different than any other online ad, such as a popup, banner, etc. If you click on them, then you automatically download the virus onto your machine, where it starts executing its malicious agenda.
In order to prevent infections like this from happening from now on, we recommend taking special care when surfing the web and checking your email. Be on the lookout for signs of spam emails, even the most sophisticated ones usually have something that gives them away. And be especially careful around various download platforms. Make sure you only used trusted sources and stay away from those that seem shady. Now, as far as your further course of actions go, that is fully up to you. You may pay the ransom and expect to receive the decryption code from the hackers, however, we would suggest against it. There’s no telling whether the key they will send you will work flawlessly and whether they will even bother sending it at all. We would recommend that apply the below instructions, in order to remove the virus from your PC. Next, you will also find steps that will attempt to restore your files from system backups. We can’t promise you that this will necessarily be successful, but it’s a better option than subsidizing criminal activity.
Serpent Ransomware Removal
Prior to starting to execute the steps from the guide, we advise you to either bookmark this page or open it on a separate device since throughout the process of completing the guide, you might need to exit your browser.
1: Using Safe Mode
Before beginning to troubleshoot the issue, you are advised to enter Safe Mode on your PC. If you do not know how to do that, use this guide on how to enter Safe Mode.
2: Spotting the process
Open your Task Manager using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc key combination. Next, go to the processes tab and carefully look through the list for any shady entries. Usually, malicious processes will be consuming large amounts of CPU and RAM and will either have no description or will have a suspicious-looking one.
Once you identify the virus’ process, right-click on it and select Open File Location. Delete everything in the folder that opens if you are sure that the process was malicious. If you are not sure, contact us in the comments.
Go back to the Task Manager and end the potentially harmful process.
3: Hosts file IP’s
Go to your start menu and in the search field, paste the following address: notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts. Select the first result and look at the bottom of the newly opened notepad file. See if there are any IP’s below “Localhost” and tell us in the comments if there were any IP addresses.
4: System Configuration Startup Programs
Type System Configuration in the Windows search bar and open the first result. Go to the Startup tab and take a look at the list of startup programs (on Windows 10, the Startup programs can be seen in the Startup Section of the Task Manager). If any of them look shady or have unknown manufacturer or a manufacturer with a sketchy name, uncheck those entries and click on OK.
Open the Run window (WinKey + R), type regedit and press Enter. Once the Registry Editor opens, press Ctrl + F and type the name of the virus. Select Find Next and delete whatever gets found that has the virus’ name. Do that with all search results.
6: Deleting potential virus files
Open the Start Menu and separately type each of the following locations: %AppData% %LocalAppData% %ProgramData% %WinDir% %Temp% . Open each of those folders and sort their contents by date. Delete the most recent files and folders. When you open the Temp folder, delete everything in it.