What is Willow Ransomware
Willow encrypts personal data using cryptographic ciphers, alters file extensions to .willow and demands 500$ payment to reset the assigned changes. All of these traits categorize it as ransomware. A sample of encrypted data would look something like this
1.pdf.willow. The files will lose their original shortcut icons as well. Willow Ransomware also changes desktop wallpapers and creates the READMEPLEASE.txt text note. Both wallpapers and text note display the same ransom instruction that victims should follow to recover the data.
Hello lad. I, Willow Wolf, encrypted your files yet again.
But as I'm good now, I done it because I think you are an threat to The Silver Paw
and The Safe Place. Most of your files are encrypted.
Pay me $500 in some way. If not - I'm sorry, you'll lose your files, and any
decryptor key is totally useless.
Amount: 0.1473766 BTC
Bitcoin Address: e3i4h893h934-WillowWolf3983289210
It is said victims should pay 500$ in BTC to the attached Bitcoin address unless they want to lose their files forever. It is also mentioned third-party decryptors will not be able to remove ciphers applied to files by Willow. Unfortunately, this is nothing, but true as many ransomware infections use high-grade encryption algorithms and store their keys on online servers. For this reason, manual decryption very often appears to be impossible. We do not recommend you pay the required ransom because there is a risk to get scammed eventually. Extortionists hold fame for dumping their victims and not sending any decryption tools even after receiving the money. This is why the best and safest way to recover your data is via backup copies. Unless you have them available, there is an option to try third-party tools, but note that this is less likely to help. Whatever the case, it is important to remove Willow Ransomware from your computer before starting the restoration process of files. Our guide below will aid you in doing so.
How Willow Ransomware infected your computer
Malicious spam letters hold a significant spot in the distribution of malware. Many cybercriminals use this method to disguise letters as something legitimate and deliver malicious attachments inside. It is common to see files with .DOCX, .XLSX, .PDF, .EXE, .ZIP, .RAR, or .JS extensions attached to potentially dangerous message. A fake representative of some popular company like DHL, DPD, or FedEx can ask you to download and open the files to check or proofread some information regarding your order or something similar. Do not trust this, because you will end up infected with malware. Another list of potential distribution methods may include trojans, fake software cracking tools, unreliable updates or program installers, backdoors, keyloggers, unprotected RDP configuration, malicious ads, and other dangerous channels. To avert such threats in the future, it is important to stay away from unknown and suspicious content you see on the web. In addition, it is helpful to install anti-malware software specializing in anti-ransomware features. You will find more information about the most effective software within this category in our guide below.
- Download Willow Ransomware Removal Tool
- Get decryption tool for .willow 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 Willow Ransomware
Download Removal Tool
To remove Willow Ransomware completely, we recommend you to use Norton Antivirus from Symantec. It detects and removes all files, folders, and registry keys of Willow Ransomware and prevents future infections by similar viruses.
Alternative Removal Tool
To remove Willow Ransomware completely, we recommend you to use SpyHunter 5 from EnigmaSoft Limited. It detects and removes all files, folders, and registry keys of Willow Ransomware. The trial version of SpyHunter 5 offers virus scan and 1-time removal for FREE.
Willow Ransomware files:
Willow Ransomware registry keys:
How to decrypt and restore .willow files
Use automated decryptors
Download Kaspersky RakhniDecryptor
Use following tool from Kaspersky called Rakhni Decryptor, that can decrypt .willow 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 .willow 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 Willow 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 .willow 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 Willow 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. Willow 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.