In today’s digital landscape, ransomware attacks have become increasingly prevalent and damaging. One such ransomware that has wreaked havoc is WantToCry, also known as the WantToCry virus. This type of malware encrypts files and appends the extension .want_to_cry to their filenames. Victims are then presented with a ransom note demanding a payment of $300 in Bitcoin for the decryption key. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the nature of WantToCry ransomware, discuss its impact, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to remove the malware and decrypt the encrypted files.

Understanding WantToCry Ransomware

What is WantToCry Ransomware?

WantToCry is a form of ransomware specifically designed to encrypt data on a victim’s computer and hold it hostage until a ransom is paid. This malware appends the extension .want_to_cry to the filenames of encrypted files, making them inaccessible to the user. Alongside the encryption, WantToCry also delivers a ransom note, typically named !want_to_cry.txt, which provides instructions on how to pay the ransom and regain access to the encrypted files.

How does WantToCry Infect Computers?

WantToCry ransomware typically infects computers through various deceptive tactics employed by cybercriminals. Common infection vectors include malicious email attachments, fake software updates, enticing offers, deceptive advertisements, and misleading pop-ups on compromised or shady websites. Cybercriminals may also exploit software or operating system vulnerabilities to deliver the ransomware payload through drive-by downloads or exploit kits. Moreover, users may unknowingly infect their computers by downloading pirated software, cracking tools, or key generators from untrustworthy sources.

The Ransom Note and Payment Instructions

When a computer is infected with WantToCry ransomware, a ransom note is displayed to the victim. The note indicates that all of the victim’s data has been encrypted and offers to decrypt the files upon payment of a $300 ransom. The victim is directed to visit a specified website and download qTOX software to their PC. They are then instructed to create a new profile, add a specific contact, and send a message with a provided string. The ransomware operators also require the victim to send three test files of limited size directly, as they do not accept download links or very large files. Payment is requested in the form of Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Risks and Consequences of Paying the Ransom

Paying the ransom demanded by WantToCry ransomware operators is highly discouraged due to the risks involved. While the attackers may promise to provide the decryption key upon payment, there is no guarantee that they will keep their promises. Victims are advised to rely on existing backups or consider alternative solutions, such as reputable third-party decryption tools found online. Furthermore, it is crucial to remove the ransomware from compromised systems to mitigate potential damage, prevent further file encryption, and protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. Taking prompt action to eradicate the ransomware can significantly reduce the overall impact of the cyberattack on individuals and organizations.

Protecting Yourself from WantToCry Ransomware Infections

Try SpyHunter

SpyHunter is a powerful tool that is able to keep your Windows clean. It would automatically search out and delete all elements related to malware. It is not only the easiest way to eliminate malware but also the safest and most assuring one. The full version of SpyHunter costs $42 (you get 6 months of subscription). By clicking the button, you agree to EULA and Privacy Policy. Downloading will start automatically.

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Try Stellar Data Recovery

Stellar Data Recovery is one of the most effective tools that can recover lost and corrupted files — documents, emails, pictures, videos, audio files, and more — on any Windows device. The powerful scan engine can detect compromised files and finally save them to specified destination. Despite its advancedness, it’s very concise and simple so that even the most inexperienced user can figure it out.

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Try MailWasher

Email security is the first line of defense against ransomware viruses. To do this, we recommend that you use MailWasher. MailWasher blocks ransomware viruses coming through spam and phishing, and automatically detects malicious attachments and URLs. In addition, malicious messages can be blocked even before the recipient opens them. Since the main source of the spread of ransomware viruses are infected emails, antispam significantly reduces the risk of a virus appearing on your computer.

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Exercise Vigilance in Email Communication

To prevent falling victim to WantToCry ransomware and similar attacks, it is essential to exercise caution when dealing with unexpected emails, especially those from unfamiliar or suspicious senders. Avoid opening attachments or clicking on links contained in such emails. Always verify the legitimacy of the sender and the content before taking any action.

Use Reputable Sources for Downloads

When downloading programs or files from the internet, it is crucial to obtain them only from reputable sources and official websites. Avoid downloading software from untrustworthy or suspicious websites, as they may contain malware or ransomware payloads. Additionally, refrain from engaging in activities such as torrenting or downloading files from peer-to-peer networks, as they pose a high risk of encountering ransomware.

Keep Software and Operating Systems Updated

Regularly updating software and operating systems is vital for maintaining security and protecting against vulnerabilities that ransomware can exploit. Enable automatic updates whenever possible, as they ensure that your computer has the latest security patches and fixes for known vulnerabilities.

Be Wary of Deceptive Advertisements and Pop-ups

Be cautious when encountering advertisements or pop-ups on websites, particularly those that seem suspicious or offer too-good-to-be-true deals. These can often be a vehicle for delivering malware or ransomware. Avoid clicking on such advertisements or pop-ups, and consider using ad-blocking software to reduce the risk of exposure.

Utilize Dependable Security Software

Install and regularly update reputable antivirus and anti-malware software on your computer. These security tools can help detect and remove ransomware threats, including WantToCry. Ensure that your security software includes real-time scanning and automatic updates to provide continuous protection against evolving threats.

Reporting Ransomware Attacks to Authorities

If you become a victim of a ransomware attack, it is crucial to report the incident to the appropriate authorities. By providing information to law enforcement agencies, you can help track cybercrime and potentially assist in the prosecution of the attackers. The following are some authorities where you should report a ransomware attack:

  • In the USA, report the attack to the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3).
  • In the United Kingdom, report it to Action Fraud.
  • In Spain, report it to the Policía Nacional.
  • In France, report it to the Ministère de l’Intérieur.
  • In Germany, report it to the Polizei.
  • In Italy, report it to the Polizia di Stato.
  • In the Netherlands, report it to the Politie.
  • In Poland, report it to the Policja.
  • In Portugal, report it to the Polícia Judiciária.

Remember to consult the local cybersecurity centers for the complete list of reporting options based on your residence address.

Isolating the Infected Device

In the event of a ransomware infection, it is essential to isolate the infected device (computer) as soon as possible to prevent further spread and damage. Follow these steps to isolate the infected device effectively:

Step 1: Disconnect from the Internet

The first step in isolating the infected device is to disconnect it from the internet. This can be achieved by either unplugging the Ethernet cable from the motherboard or disabling the network connections manually. Disable each network connection in the Control Panel by navigating to “Control Panel,” searching for “Network and Sharing Center,” selecting the option, and disabling each connection point.

Step 2: Unplug Storage Devices

To prevent the ransomware from encrypting files within external storage devices or spreading to other devices on the local network, unplug all storage devices connected to the infected computer. Safely eject each device before disconnecting them to avoid data corruption.

Step 3: Log Out of Cloud Storage Accounts

Ransomware attacks can also target cloud storage accounts, potentially encrypting or corrupting the data stored within them. To mitigate this risk, log out of all cloud storage accounts within browsers and related software. Consider temporarily uninstalling cloud management software until the infection is completely removed.

Identifying the Ransomware Infection

To effectively handle a ransomware infection, it is crucial to identify the specific ransomware variant affecting your computer. Proper identification helps determine whether a decryption tool is available or if alternative methods need to be employed. Here are some methods to identify the ransomware infection:

Check the Ransom Note and File Extensions

Inspect the ransom note presented by the ransomware and note any unique details or file extensions appended to the encrypted files. Some ransomware infections use distinctive ransom-demand messages or append unique extensions to encrypted files, aiding in identification.

Utilize the ID Ransomware Website

The ID Ransomware website is a valuable resource for identifying ransomware infections. Visit the website and upload a ransom message and/or an encrypted file to receive instant identification results. The service supports most existing ransomware infections and provides information on the malware family, decryptability, and more.

Search Online Using Keywords

If the ransomware variant is not identified by the ID Ransomware website, conduct an internet search using relevant keywords. Include details such as the ransom message title, file extension, provided contact emails, or crypto wallet addresses associated with the ransomware infection. This method may help uncover additional information or potential decryption tools.

Searching for Ransomware Decryption Tools

Decryption tools for specific ransomware variants can sometimes be found online. While most ransomware encryption is sophisticated, some poorly developed ransomware infections contain flaws that can be exploited. The following methods can help in the search for decryption tools:

No More Ransom Project

The No More Ransom Project is a collaborative effort between law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity companies. The project offers a Decryption Tools section on their website, where you can search for available decryptors. Enter the name of the identified ransomware, and the website will list any available decryptors.

Third-Party Data Recovery Tools

In some cases, third-party data recovery tools may assist in restoring files affected by ransomware. Tools such as Stellar Data Recovery can recover various data types and have features specifically designed for file recovery. Use these tools cautiously and follow the provided instructions to increase the chances of successful data recovery.

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Creating Data Backups for Future Protection

To protect your data from ransomware attacks and other forms of data loss, it is crucial to establish regular data backups. Creating backups ensures that you have copies of your important files stored separately, making it easier to recover in the event of an attack. Here are some backup best practices:

Partition Management

Consider storing your data in multiple partitions and avoid storing important files within the partition that contains the operating system. By separating your data from the operating system, you can mitigate the risk of losing all your files if you need to format the system drive due to a malware infection.

External Storage Devices

One of the most reliable backup methods is to use external storage devices. Copy your data to an external hard drive, flash drive, SSD, or any other storage device, and keep it unplugged when not in use. Store the external storage device in a secure location away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

Cloud Storage Services

Utilize cloud storage services to create backups of your important files. Services like Microsoft OneDrive offer secure cloud storage that can be accessed from multiple devices. OneDrive provides features like file versioning, recycling bin, and easy file sharing. Regularly sync your important files with the cloud to ensure they are backed up and protected.


The threat of ransomware, such as WantToCry, poses a significant risk to individuals and organizations alike. By following the preventive measures outlined in this guide, you can reduce the likelihood of a ransomware infection. In the event of an infection, this guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to remove WantToCry ransomware and decrypt the encrypted files. Remember, prevention, awareness, and regular backups are key to safeguarding your data in an increasingly digital world.

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