Zhen is a malicious program that belongs to the ransomware category. Such programs encrypt the data on your computer and demand a ransom amount in exchange for the decryption tool. It is often challenging to recover your data without having a proper decryption tool and private key, and unfortunately, these cybercriminals are the only people to have it. Some more similar ransomware programs are Kolz, Anon, and Microsft(xorist).
You can also notice that this program renames the compromised files by adding the “.zhen” extension to the original filenames. For instance, it would rename a file titled “Test.jpg” to “Test.jpg.zhen” after encryption. Later, the program creates a ransom note titled “read.ini” in compromised folders. Similar information also appears in a pop-up window.
The note informs you that the ransomware program has encrypted your files. It also assures you that you can recover your files by getting the decryption tool. However, you have to pay 0.3 bitcoins to the cybercriminals. In the current exchange rate, the amount converts to 3000 USD. Keep in mind that the bitcoin value fluctuates continually.
However, these cybercriminals often abandon the conversation soon after receiving the payment. Thus, you might end up facing a financial loss adding to the data loss. Therefore, we highly advise you not to pay any money to these cybercriminals.
Besides, it is vital to uninstall the Zhen ransomware to avoid further encryptions. We recommend using a robust antimalware application for the task. It can easily detect and remove any malicious program from your computer. Moreover, it would defend your system from similar threats in the future as well.
This guide was written to help you remove the infection itself from your computer, and if a 100% proven method to recover the encrypted files is found we will update this guide.
We cannot help you recover your files and we can only recommend that you use ShadowExplorer or free file recovery software to restore your documents.
- 1. How did the Zhen ransomware get on my computer?
- 2. What is Zhen ransomware?
- 3. Is my computer infected with Zhen ransomware?
- 4. Is it possible to decrypt files encrypted by Zhen ransomware?
- 5. How to remove the Zhen ransomware (Virus Removal Guide)
- 6. How to prevent your computer from becoming infected by Zhen ransomware
1. How did the Zhen ransomware get on my computer?
The Zhen ransomware is distributed via spam email containing infected attachments or by exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating system and installed software.
Cyber-criminals spam out an email, with forged header information, tricking you into believing that it is from a shipping company like DHL or FedEx. The email tells you that they tried to deliver a package to you, but failed for some reason. Sometimes the emails claim to be notifications of a shipment you have made. Either way, you can’t resist being curious as to what the email is referring to – and open the attached file (or click on a link embedded inside the email). And with that, your computer is infected with the Zhen ransomware.
This ransomware was also observed attacking victims by hacking open Remote Desktop Services (RDP) ports. The attackers scan for the systems running RDP (TCP port 3389) and then attempt to brute force the password for the systems.
2. What is Zhen ransomware?
- Ransomware family: Unknown
- Extensions: .zhen
- Ransom note: read.ini
- Ransom: 0.3 Bitcoins
- Contact: Not Provided
This Zhen ransomware variant restricts access to data by encrypting files with the .zhen extension. It then attempts to extort money from victims by asking for “ransom”, in form of Bitcoin cryptocurrency, in exchange for access to data.
This ransomware targets all versions of Windows including Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Zhen ransomware searches for files with certain file extensions to encrypt. The files it encrypts include important productivity documents and files such as .doc, .docx, .xls, .pdf, among others. When these files are detected, this infection will change the extension to .zhen, so they are no longer able to be opened.
The Zhen ransomware changes the name of each encrypted file to the following format: .zhen.
Files targeted are those commonly found on most PCs today; a list of file extensions for targeted files include:
.sql, .mp4, .7z, .rar, .m4a, .wma, .avi, .wmv, .csv, .d3dbsp, .zip, .sie, .sum, .ibank, .t13, .t12, .qdf, .gdb, .tax, .pkpass, .bc6, .bc7, .bkp, .qic, .bkf, .sidn, .sidd, .mddata, .itl, .itdb, .icxs, .hvpl, .hplg, .hkdb, .mdbackup, .syncdb, .gho, .cas, .svg, .map, .wmo, .itm, .sb, .fos, .mov, .vdf, .ztmp, .sis, .sid, .ncf, .menu, .layout, .dmp, .blob, .esm, .vcf, .vtf, .dazip, .fpk, .mlx, .kf, .iwd, .vpk, .tor, .psk, .rim, .w3x, .fsh, .ntl, .arch00, .lvl, .snx, .cfr, .ff, .vpp_pc, .lrf, .m2, .mcmeta, .vfs0, .mpqge, .kdb, .db0, .dba, .rofl, .hkx, .bar, .upk, .das, .iwi, .litemod, .asset, .forge, .ltx, .bsa, .apk, .re4, .sav, .lbf, .slm, .bik, .epk, .rgss3a, .pak, .big, wallet, .wotreplay, .xxx, .desc, .py, .m3u, .flv, .js, .css, .rb, .png, .jpeg, .txt, .p7c, .p7b, .p12, .pfx, .pem, .crt, .cer, .der, .x3f, .srw, .pef, .ptx, .r3d, .rw2, .rwl, .raw, .raf, .orf, .nrw, .mrwref, .mef, .erf, .kdc, .dcr, .cr2, .crw, .bay, .sr2, .srf, .arw, .3fr, .dng, .jpe, .jpg, .cdr, .indd, .ai, .eps, .pdf, .pdd, .psd, .dbf, .mdf, .wb2, .rtf, .wpd, .dxg, .xf, .dwg, .pst, .accdb, .mdb, .pptm, .pptx, .ppt, .xlk, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xls, .wps, .docm, .docx, .doc, .odb, .odc, .odm, .odp, .ods, .odt
Once your files are encrypted with the .zhen extension, this ransomware will create the read.ini ransom note in each folder that a file has been encrypted and on the Windows desktop.
When the infection has finished scanning your computer it will also delete all of the Shadow Volume Copies that are on the affected computer. It does this so that you cannot use the shadow volume copies to restore your encrypted files.
3. Is my computer infected with Zhen Ransomware?
When Zhen ransomware infects your computer it will scan all the drive letters for targeted file types, encrypt them, and then append the .zhen extension to them. Once these files are encrypted, they will no longer able to be opened by your normal programs. When this ransomware has finished encrypting the victim’s files, it will create a read.ini text file which includes instructions on how to recover the files.
Below is the message that you will see in the read.ini file:
Pay to get your files back!
Status Payment Status: Unpaid!
Steps; [+] Do not remove this file. [+] Disable security applications. [+] Dont waste your time and pay.
What Happened to My Computer? Your important files are encrypted. Many of your documents, photos, videos, databases and other files are no longer accessible because they have been encrypted. Maybe you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but do not waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service.
Can I Recover My Files? Sure. We guarantee that you can recover all your files safely and easily. But you have not so enough time. If you want to decrypt all your files, you need to pay.
How Do I Pay? Payment is accepted in Bitcoin only. For more information, click . Please check the current price of Bitcoin and buy some bitcoins. For more information, click . And send the correct amount to the address specified in this window. After your payment, click . Once the payment is checked, you can start decrypting your files immediately.
We strongly recommend you to not remove this software, and disable your anti-virus for a while, until you pay and the payment gets processed. If your anti-virus gets updated and removes this software automatically, it will not be able to recover your files even if you pay!
1. To pay us, you have to use Bitcoin currency. You can easily buy Bitcoins at following sites: hxxps://cex.io/ hxxps://www.binance.com/ hxxps://www.coinbase.com/
2. After then, if you already have Bitcoins, pay us 0.3 BTC on following our Bitcoin address.
3. Then, press the "Check Payment" button. We will automatically decrypt your files, after bitcoin transfer.
Pay to this address (0.3 BTC): 14Fb82z4s345Ur6xSBHWZ7jidxXiQUDvAc About Bitcoin How to Buy Bitcoin
4. Is it possible to decrypt files encrypted with the Zhen ransomware?
The security companies and government officials often release decryptors for ransomware. You can take help of these decryptors to decrypt your encrypted files by Zhen ransomware.
However, it is not necessary that decryptors are available for kind and type of the ransomware you got infected. Especially if the ransomware is new and widespread, then it is most likly that you won't find decryptors for it. If it is an old and popular ransomware then you might find the decryptors.
The first step towards finding the decryptor is to know the acutal name and type of ransomware you get infected. To do that you can take help of NoMoreRansom.org. Visit the website and paste the ransom note in box provided. You can also upload the encrypted file to know the ransomware name. Once you do that click on GO! FIND OUT button.
Now the website will tell you about the type of ransomware and also provide you link if there is a decryptor available.
ID Ransomware is a similar website, you can upload the ransom note, sample encrypted file, or the contact email address to know about the type of ransomware. Once you know about it you can find the decryptors on the internet. But do not download decryptors from shady websites they may further infect your computer.
However you can trust the decryptors for Zhen ransomware from the below sites.
If you haven't find the decryptors then it is not possible to get your files back. That doesn't mean you should pay ransom to the cybercriminals. Do not pay any money to recover your files. Even if you were to pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that you will regain access to your files.
If you’ve already paid the ransom, immediately contact your bank and your local authorities. If you paid with a credit card, your bank may be able to block the transaction and return your money.
You can also contact the following government fraud and scam reporting websites:
- In the United States, go to the On Guard Online website.
- In Australia, go to the SCAMwatch website.
- In Canada, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- In France, go to the Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information
- In Germany, go to the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik website.
- In Ireland, go to the An Garda Síochána website.
- In New Zealand, go to the Consumer Affairs Scams website.
- In the United Kingdom, go to the Action Fraud website.
If your country or region isn’t listed here, we recommend that you contact your country or region’s federal police or communications authority.
5. How to remove the Zhen ransomware (Virus Removal Guide)
It’s important to understand that by starting the removal process you risk losing your files, as we cannot guarantee that you will be able to recover them. MalwareFox and HitmanPro can detect and remove this infection, however, these programs cannot recover your documents, pictures, or files. Your files may be permanently compromised when trying to remove this infection or trying to recover the encrypted documents. We cannot be held responsible for losing your files or documents during this removal process.
STEP 1: Use MalwareFox to remove Zhen ransomware
MalwareFox is antimalware that works on heuristic approach to detect and remove malware from your PC. It analyzes the malware signatures as well as their behaviour. If a program acts like a malware then MalwareFox blocks it right there. It is lightweight on your system resource and finishes the scan quickly.
Its not like I am recommending you to install a costly software to remove the malware. The MalwareFox subscription charges are fairly low. But that is for a fully featured program with real-time protection capabilities. The scanning works even with the free version, though you can try the MalwareFox Premium for 14 days. Also, you don't need to remove your current antivirus, MalwareFox will work effectively without any conflicts.
You can download MalwareFox by clicking the link below.MALWAREFOX DOWNLOAD LINK
(The above link will open a new page)
Double-click on the MalwareFox setup file.
Once the MalwareFox is downloaded, double click on MalwareFox.exe file to install it on your PC. The downloaded files are mostly saved to the Downloads folder.
You will see an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow MalwareFox to make changes to your device. Click on “Yes” to proceed with the installation steps.
Follow the on-screen prompts to install MalwareFox.
First MalwareFox installer ask you to choose the language, select your preferend language and click on OK.
Then the MalwareFox installation Wizard appears, click on Next and follow the screen instructions to setup MalwareFox on your PC.
Once the installation is complete, MalwareFox will download the latest version and virus signatures from the server. Let it update.
Click on “Scan” Button.
To perform a system scan, click on the “Scan” button.
Wait for MalwareFox scan to complete.
MalwareFox is now scanning your computer for adware, pop-ups, browser hijackers, and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so you can do some other work while it is scanning your PC, don't worry the PC won't get slow during the scan.
Click on “Next”.
Once the scan has completed, you will see the list of detected threats on your PC. To remove the malware that MalwareFox has found, click on the “Next” button.
When the malware removal process is complete, you can close MalwareFox and continue with the rest of the instructions.
STEP 2: Use HitmanPro to scan for malware and unwanted programs
HitanPro works on unique cloud-based approach to detect the threats. You can use it as a second opinion malware scanner. HitmanPro also observe the behaviour active programs and checks the locations where malware normally resides. If there is a suspicious file then it upload thes file to cloud where it is scanned by Bitdefender and Kaspersky antivirus engines.
HitmanPro is available for a 30-days trail that lets you to clean the threats. After that you may need to purchase it which costs around $24.95 for 1 year single PC. If you won't upgrade then you can scan using the HitmanPro however it won't let you remove or quarntine the detected threat.
You can download HitmanPro by clicking the link.HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK
(The link will open a new page from where you can download HitmanPro)
When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on “hitmanpro.exe” if you have 32-bit Windows or “hitmanpro_x64.exe” if you have 64-bit windows, to install this program on your PC. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
Now you will see an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. Click “Yes” to install it on your PC.
Follow the screen instructions.
When HitmanPro starts you will see the start screen as shown below. Click on the “Next” button to perform a system scan.
Wait for the HitmanPro scan to complete.
HitmanPro will now start scanning your PC for malware. This process may take a few minutes.
Click on “Next”.
Once HitmanPro finished the scan, you will see a list of all the malicious programs that it found in your system. Click on the “Next” button to remove the malware.
When the process is complete, you can close HitmanPro and continue with the rest of the instructions.
STEP 3: Restore the files encrypted by Zhen ransomware with recovery software
Option 1: Restore your files encrypted by Zhen ransomware with ShadowExplorer
Zhen will attempt to delete all shadow copies when you first start any executable on your computer after becoming infected. Thankfully, the infection is not always able to remove the shadow copies, so you should continue to try restoring your files using this method.
- You can download ShadowExplorer from the below link:
SHADOW EXPLORER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “ShadowExplorer”)
- Once you have downloaded and installed ShadowExplorer, you can follow the below video guide on how to restore your files while using this program.
Option 2: Restore your files encrypted with the Zhen extension with File Recovery Software
When the files are encrypted with the Zhen, this ransomware first makes a copy of them, encrypts the copy, and then deletes the original. Due to this you can use file recovery software such as:
You can follow the below guide on how to use Recuva:
How to prevent your computer from becoming infected by Zhen ransomware
To protect your computer from the Zhen ransomware, you should a strong antimalware on your system like MalwareFox and keeps its real-time protection enabled. Also, you need to take backup of your personal documents.
Your computer should now be free of the Zhen ransomware infection. If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove Zhen ransomware from your computer, please comment below we will try to help you as much as possible.