Ransomware attacks can be devastating, and Wisz ransomware is no exception. As a variant of the insidious STOP/Djvu family, it poses a formidable threat by encrypting users’ files and demanding a hefty ransom. Victims are left with compromised data, each file marked with the ominous .wisz extension, and presented with a ransom note that pushes for payment in cryptocurrency. For individuals and organizations alike, understanding how to remove Wisz ransomware and decrypt .wisz files without succumbing to the hackers’ demands is crucial. This guide provides actionable insights and steps to not only recover affected files but also to safeguard against such cybersecurity threats in the future.

Wisz Ransomware Overview

Wisz ransomware is a malicious software that encrypts files on the victim’s computer, rendering them inaccessible. Here’s an overview of its characteristics:

  • Encryption Method: Utilizes a symmetric AES algorithm to encrypt files, appending the “.WISZ” extension to each file name, indicating that the file has been compromised.
  • Ransom Demand: Victims are faced with a ransom note (_readme.txt) that demands payment ranging from $490 to $980 in Bitcoin for the decryption key. The amount doubles if not paid within a specified timeframe.
  • Contact Information: The note includes contact emails, support@fishmail.top and datarestorehelp@airmail.cc, for victims to negotiate or complete payment.

Infection and Propagation: Wisz ransomware typically infiltrates systems through:

  • Malicious email attachments
  • Infected software installers
  • Compromised websites and deceitful ads/pop-ups
  • External drives containing the malware

Once inside, it performs the following actions:

  • Scans the system for files to encrypt
  • Deletes Volume Shadow copies to prevent data restoration
  • Blocks access to security-related websites by modifying the HOSTS file
  • Installs additional malware, such as password-stealing trojans

Decryption and Recovery:

  • Decryption Tools: As of now, free decryption tools for Wisz ransomware are not available, and there is no guaranteed method to decrypt files without the unique decryption key.
  • File Recovery: The type of encryption key used (online or offline) influences recovery chances. Online keys, unique to each victim, make decryption particularly challenging, while offline keys, shared among victims, may offer a glimmer of hope for file recovery.
  • Preventive Software: Specialized antivirus software like Combo Cleaner is required for removal. Users may also consider the Moft Decryptor tool for dealing with Stop Ransomware encryption, although its effectiveness against Wisz is not confirmed.

Victims are advised against paying the ransom, as it does not guarantee file decryption and further funds cybercriminal activities. Instead, they should focus on preventive measures and seek professional help for malware removal and data recovery.

Identifying a Wisz Ransomware Infection

When faced with the possibility of a Wisz ransomware infection, it’s essential to recognize the signs and understand the infection vectors. Here are key indicators and methods of spread to be aware of:

Indicators of Wisz Ransomware Infection:

  • File Extension Changes: Look for important files that now have a “.WISZ” extension appended to them. This is a clear sign that they have been encrypted by the ransomware.
  • Inaccessible Files: Attempting to open files and finding that they won’t open because they’ve been encrypted is another symptom of infection.
  • Ransom Note: The presence of a ransom note, typically named “_readme.txt,” demanding payment for file restoration is a definitive indicator of ransomware activity.
  • System Directory File: Check for a “personal ID.txt” file within the system directory, which can provide insight into whether an online or offline key was used for encryption.

Infection Vectors:

  • Phishing Emails: Be cautious of unsolicited emails with attachments or links, which may contain the ransomware.
  • Malicious Downloads and Software Vulnerabilities: Downloads from untrusted sources or exploiting software vulnerabilities can lead to infection.
  • Compromised Websites: Visiting websites that have been compromised can inadvertently result in downloading ransomware.
  • External Drives: Connecting external drives that are infected to your computer can spread the ransomware.

File Recovery Considerations:

  • Partial Encryption: Larger files, particularly those over several megabytes, may only be partially encrypted and could retain recoverable data.
  • Extremely Large Files: Files exceeding one gigabyte in size might not be completely encrypted, and it may be possible to recover them by simply removing the “.wz” extension.

Victims should resist paying the ransom as it does not ensure file recovery and may encourage further criminal activities. Instead, preserving an image of the encrypted drives is recommended for potential future decryption solutions as they become available.

Preventative Measures Against Wisz Ransomware

To fortify your defenses against Wisz ransomware, it’s imperative to adopt a multi-layered approach that encompasses both technological solutions and user awareness. Below are the key preventative strategies:

Technological Safeguards:

  • Regular Software Updates: Ensure that all system and application software are up-to-date to patch vulnerabilities that could be exploited by ransomware.
    • Use automatic update features where available.
    • Periodically check for updates on software that does not update automatically.
  • Robust Antivirus Protection:
    • Install reputable antivirus software with real-time protection and automatic updates.
    • Consider antivirus solutions like Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows, designed to eliminate threats like Wisz ransomware.
  • Backup Strategies:
    • Maintain regular backups of important data, storing them offline or in a secure cloud service.
    • Verify backups regularly to ensure data integrity and restore functionality.
  • Network Security:
    • Implement a firewall to block unauthorized access.
    • Use content blockers to avoid malicious ads and potentially dangerous websites.

Behavioral Measures:

  • Email and Download Vigilance:
    • Exercise caution with email attachments, especially from unknown sources.
    • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails or downloading files from untrustworthy websites.
  • Software Downloads:
    • Refrain from downloading pirated software, keygens, cracks, or using peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs that are common sources of malware.
  • Password Hygiene:
    • Use strong, unique passwords for different accounts.
    • Enable two-factor authentication where possible to add an extra layer of security.

Organizational Protocols:

  • User Education:
    • Train staff to recognize and respond to cybersecurity threats, including phishing attempts and suspicious downloads.
  • Security Policies:
    • Restrict folder permissions to limit file access to necessary users only.
    • Implement multi-factor authentication and advanced endpoint protection.
    • Regularly conduct security audits to identify and address potential weaknesses.

By integrating these preventative measures, individuals and organizations can significantly reduce the risk of a Wisz ransomware attack and ensure a robust defense mechanism is in place. Remember, while no system can be completely invulnerable, preparation and vigilance are key to minimizing potential damage.

Initial Steps to Take Post-Infection

Upon discovering a Wisz ransomware infection, immediate action is required to mitigate the damage and begin the recovery process. Follow these initial steps post-infection:

  1. Isolation of the Infected Device:
    • Disconnect the device from all networks, wired or wireless, to prevent the ransomware from spreading to other devices.
    • Unplug any external storage devices to protect them from encryption.
  2. Documentation and Reporting:
    • Take clear photos of the ransom note, including any contact details and payment instructions provided by the attackers.
    • Document all visible signs of the infection, such as file extension changes and inaccessible files.
    • Report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency, such as your local police, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), or other cybersecurity authorities.
  3. Professional Assistance and Evidence Preservation:
    • Contact IT security firms that specialize in ransomware remediation for expert assistance.
    • Preserve evidence by creating a backup image of encrypted drives or files before attempting any removal or recovery actions.

Security Measures Post-Infection

  • Reset Passwords: Change passwords for all accounts, especially those related to sensitive or personal information, to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Monitor Accounts: Keep a close eye on financial and personal accounts for any signs of fraudulent activity or unauthorized transactions.

By diligently following these steps, you can effectively address a Wisz ransomware infection, remove the threat from your system, and take initial steps towards recovering your data. Remember, paying the ransom is discouraged as it does not guarantee the return of your files and supports criminal activity.

How to Remove Wisz Ransomware

To effectively remove Wisz Ransomware from your computer, follow these essential steps:

Step 1: Enter Safe Mode with Networking

  • Reboot your computer.
  • As the system starts, press the F8 key (or the appropriate key for your system) to open the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  • Select ‘Safe Mode with Networking’ and press Enter.

Step 2: Download and Install Antimalware Software

    • Once in Safe Mode with Networking, open your web browser.
    • Download professional antimalware software such as SpyHunter.

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      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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  • Install the downloaded software by following the on-screen instructions.

Step 3: Perform a Full System Scan and Remove Infected Files

  • Launch the antimalware program. If prompted, allow it to update its database to ensure it can detect the latest threats.
  • Initiate a full system scan to detect all instances of Wisz Ransomware and any other malicious programs.
  • Upon completion, review the scan results. Follow the software’s recommendations to remove or quarantine the infected files.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Disabling the ransomware’s ability to block security program executables is crucial during the removal process.
  • Although these tools can remove the Wisz Ransomware, they do not decrypt the affected .wisz files.
  • Always ensure you are using legitimate and updated software for the removal process.
  • A premium license may be required for full access to antimalware features.

Note: While these steps can help remove the ransomware, it’s important to remember that the removal process does not decrypt your files. For file recovery, you may need to explore other options, such as data recovery tools or backup restoration.

Decrypting .wisz Files Without Paying the Ransom

Deciphering .wisz files without submitting to ransom demands involves a few potential strategies, particularly determining the type of encryption key used—online or offline. Here’s a structured approach to attempting decryption:

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Identifying the Encryption Key Type

  • Locate the “Personal ID.txt” file within the system directory to identify whether an online or offline key was used.
  • Offline keys, which are common across multiple victims, increase the likelihood of successful decryption.
  • Online keys are unique and stored on the attackers’ server, making decryption more challenging without the specific key.

Using Decryption Tools

  • For files encrypted with offline keys, utilize the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu, available at no cost.
  • If the ransomware variant is older, pre-August 2019, Emsisoft offers a service that may decrypt files given a pair of the same file, both pre and post-encryption.
  • Media_Repair by DiskTuna may help restore parts of audio/video files not fully encrypted.
  • Trusted websites for finding ransomware decryption tools include:
    • id-ransomware.malwarehunterteam.com
    • decrypter.emsisoft.com
    • noransom.kaspersky.com
    • avast.com

Recovery Options and Precautions

  • Backup Restoration: After malware removal, the safest recovery method is restoring files from a backup.
  • Real-time Protection: Tools like Combo Cleaner offer features to prevent future encryption attempts on specified folders.
  • Data Recovery Software: In the absence of decryption tools for online keys, software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free may aid in recovering some data.
  • Caution Against Ransom Payment: Payments may fund further criminal activities and rarely guarantee file recovery; they should be avoided.

It is essential to remember that currently, decrypting files with online keys is not feasible due to the complexity of the encryption. However, by following these steps and using available resources, victims can attempt to regain access to their files without succumbing to the demands of cybercriminals.


Throughout this article, we’ve navigated the precarious waters of Wisz ransomware, laying out a comprehensive guide to not only assist victims in the removal and potential recovery of encrypted files but also providing preventative measures to mitigate future risks. The journey from identifying an infection to effectively combatting it underscores the need for vigilance and informed action in the face of such cybersecurity threats.

The significance of being informed cannot be overstated; understanding the implications of ransomware attacks is imperative for personal and organizational cybersecurity. As we strive to maintain digital safety, remember that foresight and preparedness can be your greatest allies—continually reinforce your defenses and stay updated on cybersecurity developments. To help safeguard your digital world against these and other threats, consider exploring advanced protective solutions such as SpyHunter, and remember, resilience is key to navigating the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

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