Nqhd ransomware is a type of computer virus that injects your system, encrypts your documents, and then asks to pay the ransom for file decryption. Besides these unwanted actions, that virus also alters some important settings and can even stop your antivirus program.
|Damage||All files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password-stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.|
|Nqhd Removal Tool||To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license. 6 days free trial available.|
Nqhd ransomware – what is it?
Nqhd malware can correctly be described as a STOP/Djvu malware family. That sort of malware is targeted at individuals. This specification supposes that Nqhd does not carry any type of additional malware, which usually helps virus of various other families to control your system. Since the majority people do not have anything valuable on their PCs, there is no need to inject additional viruses that increases the risk of failure of the whole ransomware injection.
The usual signs of that virus activity is the emersion of .nqhd files in your folders, instead of the document you used to have. The photo.jpg turns into photo.jpg.nqhd, report.xlsx – into report.xlsx.nqhd and so on. You are not able to prevent this operation, as well as can’t open that files – they are encrypted with quite strong cipher.
You can also see different other signs of virus activity. Spontaneously suspended Microsoft Defender and inability to open the famous anti-malware forums or websites, where the ransomware removal and decryption guides are posted. You will see how it works in the paragraph below. The removal and decryption guide are also available – check below how to wipe out Nqhd ransomware and get the .nqhd files back.
How did Nqhd ransomware encrypt my files?
After the injection, the Nqhd ransomware creates a connection with its command and control server. This server is commanded by ransomware maintainers – fraudsters who manage the distribution of this ransomware. Another activity which is conducted by those crooks is answering the email messages of victims, who wish to get their files back.
The documents are encrypted with one of the strongest encryption algorithm – AES-256. The “256” digit in the name of this algorithms means the power of two – 2^256 for this case. 78-digit number of possible decryption keys variations – it is impossible to brute force it. As analysts say, it will need more time than our planet can approximately exist, even when you use the most powerful computers. In each folder that keeps the encrypted documents, Nqhd virus leaves the _readme.txt file with the following contents:
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However, you can still use some of your files. The Nqhd virus ciphers only the initial 150 KB of each file, but the other piece of this file can be opened. Primarily, it works best with audio/video files, which are surely bigger than 150 kilobytes. Not each media player is able to open these files – WinAmp is the best option, since it is free and well-tested. First seconds of every song or video will be silent – this part is encrypted – but the rest of the file will be accessible like nothing happened.
Is Nqhd ransomware dangerous for my PC?
As it was described several paragraphs before, ransomware is not only about encrypting the files. Nqhd ransomware makes the changes in your system in order to prevent searching the malware removal and file decryption guides. Malware does not create the software barrier – it just changes the settings, primarily – networking and security configurations.
Through the networking configurations, the most damaged item is the HOSTS configuration file. This text file keeps the DNS-address configurations, which are used by the web browsers while requesting to the server. If you add a specific DNS-address for the certain web page, your web browser will connect that page through this DNS next time. Ransomware modifies that file, adding the unknown DNS, so any of the web browsers will show you the “Unable to resolve the DNS-address” error.
Other alterations done by the virus are aimed at prevention of early detection of itself, and also preventing the installation of the majority of antivirus programs. Nqhd malware makes several changes in Group Policies – the system configuration application which gives you the right to change the abilities of each program. In such a way, the virus blocks the Microsoft Defender and different other anti-malware tools, and also disables the launch of anti-malware installation files.
How did I get infected?
Throughout the whole term while STOP/Djvu family existed, it was using questionable software as a primary way of ransomware injection. Under the term of questionable programs I mean software that are already not controlled by the maintainer and distributed through the third-party websites. These apps may be hacked, to make them possible to use without buying any license. One more example of such a program class is different hacking tools – cheat engines, keygens, Windows activation tools and so on.
This kind of applications may be distributed in many methods – through the site that offers a downloading link, and also through the peer-to-peer networks – ThePirateBay, eMule and so on. All these sources are well-known as the biggest computer piracy websites. Folks use these sites to get different apps or games for free, even if these apps must be purchased. No one can stop the users who crack these apps from adding malware of some sort to the files of the hacked app. Hacktools, meanwhile, are created for outlaw actions, so their creators may easily embed the virus under the guise of some program part.
These cracked apps, regardless of their source, are one of the most often carriers for various viruses, and 100% the most widespread one for Nqhd virus. The best solution is to stop using of it, and not only because of malware spreading risks. Avoiding the license purchase is an outlaw action, and both hackers and persons who make use of hacked programs fall under the charge of piracy.
How do I remove Nqhd malware?
The Nqhd virus is very hard to wipe out manually. In fact, because of the number of modifications it makes into your Windows, it is almost unreal to find them all and repair. The best solution is to make use of anti-malware programs. But which one to choose?
You may read the offers to use Microsoft Defender, which is already inside of your computer. But as it was mentioned before, the majority of STOP/Djvu virus examples disable it even before the encryption procedure. Making use of the third-party program is the only option – and I can offer you the GridinSoft Anti-Malware as a solution for that case. It has impressive detection abilities, so the malware will not be missed. It is also capable of system recovery, which is heavily demanded after the Nqhd virus attack.
To remove Nqhd malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software.
After the ransomware removal, you can go to file decryption. Malware removal is required to prevent the repeating ciphering of your files: while Nqhd ransomware is active, it will not miss any unencrypted file.
How to decrypt the .nqhd files?
There are two ways to decrypt your files after a Nqhd virus attack. First one and the most popular is file decryption. It is conducted with a special app, designed by Emsisoft, and named Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP/Djvu. This program is free. Analysts update its decryption keys databases as often as possible, so you will surely get your files back, sooner or later.
Another option to get your files back is to try to recover them from your disk drives. Since ransomware deletes them and substitutes with a ciphered copy, the residue of the files are still stored on the disk. After the removal, the information about them is wiped from the file system, but not from a disk drive. Special programs, like PhotoRec, are able to recover these files. It is free, too, and may also be used for file recovery in case when you have deleted something unintentionally.
Decrypting the .nqhd files with Emsisoft Decrypter for STOP/Djvu
Download and install Emsisoft Decrypter tool. Agree with its EULA and continue to the interface.
The interface of this program is extremely easy. All you have to do is to select the folder where the encrypted files are stored, and wait. If the program has the decryption key which corresponds to your ransomware case – it will decrypt it.
During the use of Emsisoft Decrypter for STOP/Djvu, you may observe various error messages. Don’t worry, that does not mean that you did something wrong or a program does not work properly. Each of these errors refer to a specific case. Here is the explanation:
Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [your ID]
The program does not have a corresponding key for your case. You need to wait for some time until the key database will be updated.
No key for new variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible.
This error means that your files are encrypted with an online key. In such a case, the decryption key is unique and stored on the remote server, controlled by crooks. Unfortunately, the decryption is impossible.
Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears to be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
Ransomware uses the offline key to encrypt your files. This key is not unique, so you likely have it in common with another victim. Since offline keys must be collected, too, it is important to keep calm and wait until the analysts team finds one which will fit your case.
Remote name could not be resolved
This error indicates that the program has problems with DNS on your computer. That’s a clear sign of malicious alterations in your HOSTS file. Reset it using the official Microsoft guide.
Recovering the .nqhd files with PhotoRec tool
PhotoRec is an open-source tool, which is created to recover the deleted or lost files from the disk drive. It checks each disk sector for the residues of deleted files, and then tries to recover them. That app is able to recover the files of more than 400 different extensions. Because of the described feature of ransomware encryption mechanism, it is possible to use this tool to get the original, unencrypted files back.
Download PhotoRec from the official website. It is absolutely free, however, its developer warns that he does not guarantee that this program will be 100% effective for file recovery purposes. Moreover, even paid apps can barely give you such a guarantee, because of the chain of random factors that can make the file recovery harder.
Unzip the downloaded archive to the folder you like. Don’t worry because of its name – TestDisk – this is the name of the utility developed by the same company. They decided to spread it together since PhotoRec and TestDisk are often used together. Among the unzipped files, search for qphotorec_win.exe file. Run this executable file.
Before you can start the recovery process, you need to specify several settings. In the drop-down list, choose the logic disk where the files were stored before the encryption.
Then, you need to specify the file formats you need to recover. It may be difficult to scroll all 400+ formats, luckily, they are sorted by alphabetical order.
Finally, name the folder you want to use as a container for recovered files. The program will likely dig out a lot of useless files, which were deleted intentionally, so desktop is a bad solution. The best option is to use the USB-drive.
After these easy manipulations, you may just press the “Search” button (it turns active if you specified all required parameters). The recovery process may take several hours, so keep patient. It is recommended not to use the computer during this term, since you may overwrite some files you are intending to recover.
Frequently Asked Questions
✔️Are the files encrypted by Nqhd virus dangerous?
No. Nqhd files is not a virus, it is not able to inject its code into the files and force them to execute it. The .EXT files are just the same as regular ones, but encrypted and cannot be opened in the usual way. You may store it together with normal files without any fears.
✔️Is it possible that antivirus software will delete the encrypted files?
As I have mentioned in a previous paragraph, encrypted files are not dangerous. Hence, good anti-malware programs like GridinSoft Anti-Malware will not trigger on them. Meanwhile, some of the “disk cleaning tools” may remove them, stating that they belong to the unknown format and are likely broken.
✔️The Emsisoft tool says my files are encrypted with the online key and cannot be decrypted. What do I need to do?
It is very unpleasant to hear that the files you have are likely lost. Ransomware creators lie a lot in order to scare their victims, but they tell the truth in claims about the strength of the encryption. Your decryption key is stored on their servers, and it is impossible to select it because of the strength of the encryption mechanism.
Try other recovery methods – through the PhotoRec, or using the previously created backups. Search for the previous versions of these files – getting back a part of your dissertation, for example, is better than missing it all.
Last option is just waiting. When the cyber police caughts the crooks who create and distribute ransomware, first get the decryption keys and publish it. Emsisoft analysts will surely take these keys and add them to the Decryptor databases. In some cases, ransomware creators may publish the rest of the keys when they stop their activity.
✔️Not all of my .nqhd files are decrypted. What do I need to do?
The situation when the Emsisoft Decryptor failed to decrypt several files usually happens when you have not added the correct file pair for the certain file format. Another case when this problem may appear is when some problem occurred during the decryption process – for example, RAM limit reached. Try to perform the decryption process once again.
Another situation when the Decryptor app may leave your files unencrypted is when ransomware uses different keys for certain files. For example, it may use offline keys for a short period of time when it has connection issues. The Emsisoft tool is not able to check both key types simultaneously, so you need to launch the decryption again, in order to repeat the process.