Decrypt and Restore .ykcol Files (Locky Ransomware)

Ykcol file virus, also known as Locky ransomware, hacks computer data rather than a computer system. It ensures the system remains functional. The infection is an interactive threat. It needs its victims to communicate with its distributors. That is why the essential system files remain intact.

ykcol file virus screenshots

This new ransomware was reported on September the 18th, 2017. It is a stand-alone specimen. Meanwhile, IT experts observe the strong link between this release and Locky virus. As regards the ykcol, it basically tends to modify the names of the items it hacks according to the following pattern:


That is to say, it renames both the original filename and the extension, yet adds a unique ID.
The infection is available from the initial-releasers and perhaps from sub-releasers for affiliate distribution. Basically, anyone can sign up to a darknet forum and get a copy of the ransomware. This implies a number of distribution tactics and their implementations. The distributors also set the amount payable, which typically varies around 0.25 BTC. Meanwhile, Bitcoin itself is a fluctuating currency. At the end of the August 2017, BTC is convertible to USD at the rate of above 4,000 USD per 1 BTC. Needless to say, the amount is quite substantial, even for a corporate user.

To encrypt data, the ransomware resorts to popular variants of AES and RSA ciphers. The private key is the pin that would cycle the data back. However, this does not enter the computer system during the encryption. It is the public key that the ykcol file virus uses to modify the content. This public key, however, cannot decrypt the processed data.

True, the private key stems from the public key. The relation is very complicated, though. It is expressed through the equation of the utmost complexity. To resolve it, one needs to harness the most powerful computer for a period that would last for decades or even hundreds of years.

The ray of hope for the victims of the ykcol ransomware is that the IT security has cracked some versions due to the flaws in the use and implementation of the encryption. Besides, the instructions below provide the best practice of ransom-free data recovery tailored for ykcol ransomware.

Automatic removal of Ykcol file virus

The benefits of using the automatic security suite to get rid of this infection are obvious: it scans the entire system and detects all potential fragments of the virus, so you are a few mouse clicks away from a complete fix.

  1. Download and install recommended malware security suite
  2. Select Start Computer Scan feature and wait until the utility comes up with the scan report. Proceed by clicking on the Fix Threats button, which will trigger a thorough removal process to address all the malware issues compromising your computer and your privacy.

Restore files locked by Ykcol Ransomware

new Locky variant aka Ykcol file virus represents a unique category of malicious software whose attack surface reaches beyond the operating system and its components, which is why removing the virus itself is a part of the fix only. As it has been mentioned, it encrypts one’s personal information, so the next phase of the overall remediation presupposes reinstating the files that will otherwise remain inaccessible.

  • Launch data recovery software

    Similarly to the rest of its fellow-infections, Ykcol Ransomware most likely follows an operational algorithm where it erases the original versions of the victim’s files and actually encrypts their copies. This peculiarity might make your day, because forensics-focused applications like Data Recovery Pro are capable of restoring the information that has been removed. As the virus further evolves, its modus operandi may be altered – in the meanwhile, go ahead and try this.

  • Take advantage of Volume Shadow Copy Service

    This technique is based on using the native backup functionality that’s shipped with Windows operating system. Also referred to as Volume Snapshot Service (VSS), this feature makes regular backups of the user’s files and keeps their most recent versions as long as System Restore is on. Ykcol file virus hasn’t been found to affect these copies therefore the restoration vector in question is strongly recommended. The two sub-sections below highlight the automatic and manual workflow.

  • a) Use Shadow Explorer

    Shadow Explorer is an applet that provides an easy way of retrieving previous versions of files and folders. Its pro’s include an intuitive interface where the computer’s entire file hierarchy is displayed within one window. Just pick the hard disk volume, select the object or directory to be restored, right-click on it and choose Export. Follow the app’s prompts to get the job done.Shadow Explorer

  • b) Use file properties

    Essentially, what the above-mentioned Shadow Explorer tool does is it automates the process that can otherwise be performed manually via the Properties dialog for individual files. This particular approach is more cumbrous but just as effective as its software-based counterpart, so you can proceed by right-clicking on a specific file, which has been encrypted by Ykcol, and selecting Properties in the context menu. The tab named Previous Versions is the next thing to click – it displays available versions of the file by date of the snapshot creation. Pick the latest copy and complete the retrieval by following the prompts.Previous Versions

  • Data backups work wonders

    Ransomware like Ykcol isn’t nearly as almighty and destructive in case you run regular file backups to the cloud or external data media. The virus itself can be completely removed in a matter of minutes, and the distorted information can then be just as easily recovered from the backup. Luckily, this is a growing trend, so ransom Trojans are hopefully going to become less subversive in the near future.

Verify thoroughness of the removal

Having carried out the instructions above, add a finishing touch to the security procedure by running an additional computer scan to check for residual malware activity

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