Data recovery from a hard drive that has been infected with malware can be a challenging task, but it is possible. The best approach will depend on the type of malware infection and the severity of the damage.
Malware is a type of malicious software that can damage or disable your computer system. It can also steal your personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Malware can infect your computer in a variety of ways, including through email attachments, malicious websites, and infected USB drives.
If your hard drive is infected with malware, it can damage your files and make them inaccessible. It can also delete your files completely. If you suspect that your hard drive is infected with malware, it is important to take immediate action to recover your data and remove the malware.
How do malware Infect hard drives?
Malware can infect hard drives in a variety of ways, but the most common methods include:
- Email attachments: Opening an infected email attachment is one of the most common ways for malware to get onto your computer. Once the attachment is opened, the malware can then spread to your hard drive and other devices on your network.
- Web downloads: Downloading files from untrusted websites is another way that malware can infect your hard drive. Once the file is downloaded, the malware can then be installed on your computer and spread to your hard drive.
- USB drives: Inserting an infected USB drive into your computer can also allow malware to infect your hard drive. Once the USB drive is inserted, the malware can then be transferred to your computer and spread to your hard drive.
- Physical access: If someone has physical access to your computer, they can also infect your hard drive with malware. For example, they could insert an infected USB drive into your computer or connect an infected external hard drive to your computer.
Signs that your hard drive is infected with malware
There are a number of signs that your hard drive may be infected with malware, including:
- Slow computer performance: If your computer is running slowly, it could be a sign that it is infected with malware. Malware can consume a lot of your computer’s resources, which can lead to slow performance.
- Frequent crashing: If your computer is crashing frequently, it could be a sign that it is infected with malware. Malware can cause your computer to crash by damaging system files or by overloading your computer’s resources.
- Pop-up ads: If you are seeing pop-up ads that you didn’t install, it could be a sign that your computer is infected with malware. Malware can display pop-up ads to generate revenue for the attackers or to infect other computers with malware.
- Missing files: If you find that files are missing from your computer, it could be a sign that your computer is infected with malware. Malware can delete files, either intentionally or accidentally.
- Changes to your computer’s settings: If you find that your computer’s settings have been changed without your permission, it could be a sign that your computer is infected with malware. Malware can change your computer’s settings to make it easier for the attackers to control your computer or to steal your personal information.
Steps to Recover Files from a malware-Infected Hard Drive
If you have lost files due to a malware infection, there are four steps you can follow to recover them:
Step 1: Isolate the infected hard drive
The first step is to isolate the infected hard drive from your computer. This will help to prevent the malware from spreading to other devices on your network. You can isolate the infected hard drive by removing it from your computer or by connecting it to your computer using an external hard drive enclosure
Step 2 – Use CMD to Recover Files from a malware Infected Hard Drive
Using the attrib command in Command Prompt (admin) can help you recover the hidden files from your virus-infected drive. This command makes all the read-only, archived, system and hidden files to display in the Command Prompt. Plug in the infected hard drive or USB drive into your computer and follow the aforementioned steps:
- Search for CMD in the Search Bar and click on Run as administrator.
- Type the following command in the terminal – attrib -h -r -s /s /d .
- Press Enter.
- Wait for the command to run and allow Windows to repair the virus-infected drive.
- After the repair process is complete, navigate to your drive and check if all of the files are visible and back to normal state.
Step 3 – Use a Professional Data Recovery Software
If you are unable to recover your files using the CMD method, you can try using a professional data recovery software. Data recovery software can scan the hard drive for lost or deleted files and then attempt to recover them.
There are many different data recovery software programs available, both free and paid. Some popular data recovery software programs include:
- EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
- Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery
To use a data recovery software program, simply install the program on your computer and then run a scan on the infected hard drive. The software will then scan the hard drive for lost or deleted files and then attempt to recover them.
Step 4 – Use Professional Data Recovery Services
If you are unable to recover your files using the CMD or data recovery software method, you can use professional data recovery services. There are several data recovery service providers available, such as East Africa Hi Tech Solutions. These services offer a range of options, including hard drive recovery, RAID data recovery, cell phone data recovery, NAS data recovery, flash data recovery, Mac/Apple data recovery, SAN data recovery, SSD data recovery, tape services, VMware data recovery, and Ransomware Incident Response & Decryption Services.
You can drop off or ship your hard drive to one of their data recovery laboratories. Their engineers will provide a free quote, and after receiving your approval, they will recover your data to the device of your choice. You can choose the service option that works for you to control pricing and turnaround time 1
What is a Ransomware Attack?
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your files and demands payment in exchange for access to them.
How to recover Ransomware Infected Files
There are a few ways to try to recover ransomware infected files:
- Pay the ransom: This is the most straightforward way to recover ransomware infected files, but it is also the riskiest. There is no guarantee that the attackers will decrypt your files after you pay the ransom.
- Use a decryptor tool: There are a number of decryptor tools available that can decrypt ransomware infected files. However, not all ransomware infections can be decrypted using a decryptor tool.
- Restore your files from a backup: If you have a backup of your files, you can restore them to recover your ransomware infected files
How To Prevent Files From Being Infected By Virus
To prevent your files from being infected by viruses, you should take the following precautions:
- Install antivirus software on your computer.
- Keep your operating system up-to-date.
- Avoid downloading files from unknown sources.
- Do not open email attachments from unknown senders.
- Use strong passwords for all of your accounts.
Recover malware Infected Files FAQs:
Here are some frequently asked questions about recovering malware-infected files:
Can a malware cause hard drive failure?
Yes, malware can cause hard drive failure by corrupting system files or damaging hardware components.
Can malware delete files from hard drive?
Yes, malware can delete files from a hard drive.
Why Do Files Become Corrupted?
Files can become corrupted due to several reasons such as hardware failure, software bugs, power outages, or malware infections.
Can ransomware infected files be recovered?
Yes, ransomware infected files can be recovered using data recovery software.
Is it possible to decrypt ransomware files?
It is possible to decrypt ransomware files using decryption tools provided by security companies such as Kaspersky Lab or Emsisoft.
What happens to your files if your computer is infected by ransomware?
If your computer is infected by ransomware, all of your files will be encrypted and inaccessible until you pay the ransom or use data recovery software to recover them.