What is SkullLocker Ransomware
SkullLocker is a new ransomware variant. The research indicates it was developed on the basis of Chaos Ransomware – another devastating and well-known infection. Upon successful infiltration, SkullLocker encrypts access to files, adds its own .skull extension, and creates a ransom note (read_it.txt) with decryption instructions written in the Polish language. Here is a full text presented in the note along with its translation to English:
Twoje pliki zostały zaszyfrowane przez SkullLocker ransomware. Aby odzyskać dostęp do nich, musisz zapłacić okup w ciągu 72 godzin. W przeciwnym razie dane zostaną trwale utracone.
Aby uzyskać więcej informacji na temat sposobu zapłaty okupu i odzyskiwania plików, przejdź na stronę internetową podaną poniżej.
Jeśli masz jakiekolwiek pytania, możesz skontaktować się z nami za pomocą adresu e-mail [adres e-mail].
Nie próbuj usuwać programu ransomware ani próbować odzyskać danych za pomocą oprogramowania antywirusowego. Może to spowodować trwałe uszkodzenie Twoich plików.
Pamiętaj, że czas jest kluczowy. Im dłużej zwlekasz, tym mniejsze szanse na odzyskanie Twoich plików.
Your files have been encrypted by SkullLocker ransomware. To regain access to them, you must pay the ransom within 72 hours. Otherwise, your data will be permanently lost.
For more information on how to pay the ransom and recover your files, go to the website listed below.
If you have any questions, you can contact us via email address [email address].
Do not try to remove the ransomware or try to recover your data with antivirus software. This may cause permanent damage to your files.
Remember that time is crucial. The longer you delay, the lower the chances of recovering your files.
The ransomware team
Overall, cybercriminals demand users make a payment within 72 hours, otherwise, the data will be permanently lost. Users are asked to familiarize themselves with payment and recovery details via the attached TOR link. In addition, the note advises against trying to recover files manually as doing so may cause permanent damage to files.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals are usually the only figures capable of full and risk-free decryption. At the moment of writing this article, no third-party tool is currently known to be capable of bypassing encryption implemented by SkullLocker Ransomware. For now, the only ways to recover your data are either to collaborate with cybercriminals or recover your data from available backup copies. Backups are copies of data stored on external storage devices (e.g., USB pen drives, external hard drives, SSDs, etc.).
Using your own backup is always better as some threat actors fool their victims and do not send any promised decryption tools even after the payment. Making regular backups is crucial to ensure the data can be recovered in the event of unexpected loss or ransomware attacks. If there is no backup available, you can also try some third-party utilities from our guide below or attempt to recover from windows shadow copies. However, please note that these two alternatives may not be as effective and will be successful only in rare instances.
Unless you are going to collaborate with extortionists, deleting ransomware is crucial to not let it encrypt other files at the time of manual recovery or spread to other computers functioning within the same network. Additionally, it is also important to remove it even after decrypting files with cybercriminals, if that is the route you will decide to take. Follow the steps in our guide below to delete ransomware and safeguard your system against future threats of this kind.
How SkullLocker Ransomware infected your computer
Among the list of most common infiltrations methods are phishing e-mail letters, unprotected RDP configuration, infected software installers (pirated or cracked), exploit kits, trojans, fake updates/license cracking tools, unreliable ads, backdoors, keyloggers, and other dubious channels.
The main objective of many distribution channels is to lure users into downloading and opening a malicious file or link. This strategy is commonly employed in fraudulent e-mails where cybercriminals camouflage harmful attachments as genuine files (.DOCX, .XLSX, .PDF, .EXE, .ZIP, .RAR, or .JS). These emails often mimic legitimate and trustworthy organizations, such as delivery companies, tax authorities, banks, etc. in order to increase the likelihood of inexperienced users being deceived into clicking harmful links or downloading malware.
Thus, always approach potentially harmful content with extreme care and caution. It is recommended to avoid interaction with doubtful download sources, torrent-sharing websites, suspicious ads, potentially malicious attachments/links, and other kinds of content that may be potentially compromised. Download software only from official resources to prevent drive-by (stealth) installations of malware. Read our guide below for more information on shielding against ransomware and other types of malware in the future.
- Download SkullLocker Ransomware Removal Tool
- Get decryption tool for .skull files
- Recover encrypted files with Stellar Data Recovery Professional
- Restore encrypted files with Windows Previous Versions
- Restore files with Shadow Explorer
- How to protect from threats like SkullLocker Ransomware
Download Removal Tool
To remove SkullLocker Ransomware completely, we recommend you to use SpyHunter 5 from EnigmaSoft Limited. It detects and removes all files, folders, and registry keys of SkullLocker Ransomware. The trial version of SpyHunter 5 offers virus scan and 1-time removal for FREE.
Alternative Removal Tool
To remove SkullLocker Ransomware completely, we recommend you to use Norton Antivirus from Symantec. It detects and removes all files, folders, and registry keys of SkullLocker Ransomware and prevents future infections by similar viruses.
SkullLocker Ransomware files:
SkullLocker Ransomware registry keys:
How to decrypt and restore .skull files
Use automated decryptors
Download Kaspersky RakhniDecryptor
Use following tool from Kaspersky called Rakhni Decryptor, that can decrypt .skull files. Download it here:
There is no purpose to pay the ransom because there is no guarantee you will receive the key, but you will put your bank credentials at risk.
Dr.Web Rescue Pack
Famous antivirus vendor Dr. Web provides free decryption service for the owners of its products: Dr.Web Security Space or Dr.Web Enterprise Security Suite. Other users can ask for help in the decryption of .skull files by uploading samples to Dr. Web Ransomware Decryption Service. Analyzing files will be performed free of charge and if files are decryptable, all you need to do is purchase a 2-year license of Dr.Web Security Space worth $120 or less. Otherwise, you don’t have to pay.
If you are infected with SkullLocker Ransomware and removed from your computer you can try to decrypt your files. Antivirus vendors and individuals create free decryptors for some crypto-lockers. To attempt to decrypt them manually you can do the following:
Use Stellar Data Recovery Professional to restore .skull files
- Download Stellar Data Recovery Professional.
- Click Recover Data button.
- Select type of files you want to restore and click Next button.
- Choose location where you would like to restore files from and click Scan button.
- Preview found files, choose ones you will restore and click Recover.
Using Windows Previous Versions option:
- Right-click on infected file and choose Properties.
- Select Previous Versions tab.
- Choose particular version of the file and click Copy.
- To restore the selected file and replace the existing one, click on the Restore button.
- In case there is no items in the list choose alternative method.
Using Shadow Explorer:
- Download Shadow Explorer program.
- Run it and you will see screen listing of all the drives and the dates that shadow copy was created.
- Select the drive and date that you want to restore from.
- Right-click on a folder name and select Export.
- In case there are no other dates in the list, choose alternative method.
If you are using Dropbox:
- Login to the DropBox website and go to the folder that contains encrypted files.
- Right-click on the encrypted file and select Previous Versions.
- Select the version of the file you wish to restore and click on the Restore button.
How to protect computer from viruses, like SkullLocker Ransomware , in future
1. Get special anti-ransomware software
Use ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware
Famous antivirus brand ZoneAlarm by Check Point released a comprehensive tool, that will help you with active anti-ransomware protection, as an additional shield to your current protection. The tool provides Zero-Day protection against ransomware and allows you to recover files. ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware is compatible with all other antiviruses, firewalls, and security software except ZoneAlarm Extreme (already shipped with ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware) or Check Point Endpoint products. The killer features of this application are: automatic file recovery, overwrite protection that instantly and automatically recovers any encrypted files, file protection that detects and blocks even unknown encryptors.
2. Back up your files
As an additional way to save your files, we recommend online backup. Local storage, such as hard drives, SSDs, flash drives, or remote network storage can be instantly infected by the virus once plugged in or connected to. SkullLocker Ransomware uses some techniques to exploit this. One of the best services and programs for easy automatic online backup is iDrive. It has the most profitable terms and a simple interface. You can read more about iDrive cloud backup and storage here.
3. Do not open spam e-mails and protect your mailbox
Malicious attachments to spam or phishing e-mails are the most popular method of ransomware distribution. Using spam filters and creating anti-spam rules is good practice. One of the world leaders in anti-spam protection is MailWasher Pro. It works with various desktop applications and provides a very high level of anti-spam protection.