Ransomware Data Recovery: How to Recover Files From an Attack
Ransomware is one of the most dreadful threats you can face as a PC user; it encrypts your files and requests you pay to regain access to them. Actually, ransomware is a type of malware, and it is one of the most stubborn ones out there to deal with.
If your PC ever gets attacked by ransomware, you will need a much more powerful data recovery tool to retrieve the affected files. Interestingly, there are a number of such data recovery tools available for computers using Windows OS. Here’s how to recover files from ransomware.
What Is a Ransomware Attack?
Ransomware (“Ransom” and “Ware”) is a malware that gets into your computer through malicious links and downloads. Perpetrators of this malware seek to get money from unlucky people who opened their PC to this malware. What ransomware does is that it encrypts your files, then asks you to pay a particular amount of fee to decrypt the files and regain access.
Well, even if you agree to pay the fine, you won’t still gain access to the files, so, in most cases, once your files get encrypted by ransomware, that’s the end, you can’t get the files back. Notwithstanding, there are tips to protect your files from getting corrupted by ransomware. Also, there are tips that can help you get back the encrypted files if you’re already attacked.
What to Do After a Ransomware Attack?
There are different types of ransomware malware, but that notwithstanding, these are the things you should do immediately after you notice that your computer system has been attacked by the malware.
1. Delete the Affected File and Disconnect the Storage
If you noticed the malware got into your computer after you connected an external device or storage device, delete the infested file or folder and disconnect the drive from your computer immediately. Similarly, if it is your primary disk, you should delete all files that are already affected and remove the drive from your PC.
The essence of removing the drive (whether it is your primary drive or not) is to prevent the malware from spreading further; this way, not all your files will be affected. So, even if you couldn’t regain access to the affected files, at least, you’re sure that not all your files are entirely gone.
2. Identify the Ransomware Type
Mainly, if you got attacked by ransomware malware, your files will be encrypted. If your files are not encrypted, there’s every chance you’re not dealing with ransomware. So you should look up the type of malware that just got into your PC. Once identified, it becomes easier to find a way to get around the situation.
3. Don’t Pay The Ransom
You’d be asked to pay a ransom to decrypt your files so you can have access to them – don’t fall for that trick, even if you pay, you won’t regain access to those files. So, no matter how much you’re being told to pay, ignore it.
How to Recover from a Ransomware Attack
Well, it is almost impossible to recover files that have been encrypted by ransomware, but here are some tips that could help in most cases.
1. Try Using Built-In OS Tools
Every operating system comes with a set of built-in utilities that helps you troubleshoot and fix common issues with the OS and/or the system it is installed on. For Windows OS systems, you can use the “System Restore” feature to roll back recent changes on your computer to a restore point. This method is much more effective in most cases, but modern ransomware attacks also target system restore points and corrupt them, making everything seem more complicated. In such scenarios, try other tips shared here.
2. Get a Ransomware Decryption Tool
After ransomware attacks became popular, a few developers have alleged they were able to develop software tools and programs to decrypt the ransomware-encrypted files. If you’re able to lay your hands on one of such tools, you could use them to decrypt your files and regain access. Avast Anti-Virus has a feature for decrypting ransomware, you can try it out.
3. Use a Professional Data Recovery Software
In some cases, a professional data recovery software can come in handy to help you in getting back your files. Programs like DiskInternals Uneraser are remarkable software apps that can recover virtually any data lost in various scenarios. It works on all Windows OS versions and features a simple interface anyone could easily understand.
DiskInternals Uneraser can read HDD and SSD devices, search deep into them, and recover any file format that was lost from the drives. While there is no guarantee that a data recovery app will decrypt ransomware-encrypted files, the app may recover previously saved – but lost – variants of the encrypted files.
4. Try Partition Recovery Software by DiskInternals
Similar to the Uneraser, DiskInternals Partition Recovery is an app that allows you to recover files from a variety of storage media, and it supports over 1,000 file formats. It comes with an integrated preview engine so you can preview your files after they are recovered. Partition Recovery also works on all Windows OS computers and it features an intuitive interface.
How to Use Partition Recovery:
- 1. Download and install DiskInternals Partition Recovery.
- 2. The recovery wizard will ask you to select the drive or partition.
- 3. Select the recovery mode: full (recommended), fast, or reader. In the full recovery mode, you need to select the file system that was there before it became RAW (it’ll be detected automatically, but you need to put a check on it).
- 4. Next, the scanning process will begin. It takes some time, depending on the size of the logical disk.
- 5. Preview. After scanning is done, you will see a list of recovered files and folders. Right-click on the file and select "Preview in New Window".
5. Restore from a System Backup
Go to Control Panel and select “System and Security.” Then get into the “Backup and Restore” and click on “Restore files from backup.” Now, select “Restore my files” and follow the prompts.
6. Restore from Previous Versions
If you haven’t deleted the encrypted file, you can try this method to see if you can recover a previous good version of the file.
- Open the folder where the file is located
- Select the affected file and right-click on it
- Select “Properties” and navigate to the “Previous Versions” tab
- Restore any of the previous versions
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Ransomware?
There is no particular timeframe for recovering from a ransomware attack. You should start attempting various recovery options as soon as you get attacked. Waiting for too long might cause the malware to encrypt more files, which means you’d be possibly losing more files.
If you typically backup your files to an external drive, delete the corrupted ones, ensure the ransomware virus is no longer on your PC, then connect the backup drive and copy the files back to your PC.
In other words, the longer you wait after a ransomware attack, the scenario gets worse and more of your files keep getting encrypted. Never pay the requested ransom – it’d be a waste of money, and the perpetrators won’t decrypt the files as proposed. The best solution to a ransomware attack is to avoid it.
How to Prevent Virus Attacks Effectively
There are many ways viruses and malware can get into a computer system; you might not be able to possibly prevent all the possible means, but these practices can really help you from importing malware into your computer system.
1. Use strong security measures
The first step to protecting your files from ransomware attacks is playing safe, which basically means integrating and practicing strong security measures. These security measures include using a reliable antivirus or anti-malware software and setting enterprise firewalls to prevent malicious attacks on your business systems.
2. Be Aware of Suspicious Emails, Links, and Attachments
One of the easiest ways phishers, hackers, and malware perpetrators get into your PC is by sending malicious links, emails, or attachments. So when you download those attachments or click on the links, the virus gets into your computer. That said, always verify any link sent to you via email or web documents.
3. Make Regular Backups
Backups are not a way of preventing ransomware attacks, they only provide you with a place to fall back on when the original copies of the backed-up files get mistakenly deleted or corrupted. When you make backups, save the backup copies to an external drive or remote/cloud storage.
How to recover your files after ransomware attacks? The only solution lies in whether you did a backup; if you did a backup, then you should delete the corrupted files, and recover them from your backup drive. Ransomware-encrypted files are practically irrecoverable in most cases.