Remove CryptoFortress Ransomware Virus And Decrypt .frtrss Files

CryptoFortress is another updated version of previously very aggressive ransomware called TorrentLocker. This virus encrypts your files to make them unopenable and usually changes their extensions to .frtrss (for example, text.txt becomes text.txt.frtrss). It then places a note called “READ IF YOU WANT YOUR FILES BACK.html” and asks for a ransom in BitCoin in order to receive a decryption tool with a key.

Despite the similarities to other ransomware, CryptoFortress is more dangerous since it can also access and encrypt files over network shares even if they are not mapped to any drive letter. This means that the whole network can be affected since the virus does not limit its activity only to C:, D: and similar drives with assigned letters.

Usually 1 BitCoin is demanded by the criminals. AES-256 and RSA-1024 algorithms are used to encrypt the files. Only 50% of each file (and not more than 5 Mb) is encrypted but this is enough to make them inaccessible. Default Windows cryptographic APIs are used for enciphering and the process is quite fast to be noticed and stopped on time.

The ransomware creators promise to give you a decryption tool after you make the required payment. However, there is no guarantee that they will do so as well as that there will not be any further infections afterwards. The criminals might leave a backdoor and attack you in the future since they will see you as a paying victim. Therefore, we strongly discourage you from paying the ransom. Instead, you should remove the threat and try recovering the files yourself. We have an automatic removal and protection tool listed below as well as a manual removal guide. A file recovery guide is also included after you remove the virus.

Recommended Method: Download CryptoFortress Ransomware Removal Tool

Version:   All Updated:   2 days ago Compatible OS:   All
This is the most suitable program for automatically removing the threat and repairing your PC.
Works with: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP. Read instructions here
File name Size
mb3-setup.exe 56.5 MB

Click here to download alternative tool

What is CryptoFortress ransomware?

This ransomware is one of many spin-offs of a predecessor called TorrentLocker. It has a long history of attacking computers and seems to continue its work by regularly coming back with renewed distribution campaigns.

The main difference between CryptoFortress and TorrentLocker or any other similar ransomware is its ability to encrypt files shared on the same network even if it does not have a drive letter assigned. This allows the virus to access more files and cause more damage to the victim.

The virus spreads using well-established methods like email spam, malicious links and infected files. It also uses Nuclear Pack exploit kit to inject legitimate websites and advertisements and attack unsuspecting visitors. The distribution methods are being constantly renewed since the virus has been operating for a long time already and needs to stay effective.

Once CryptoFortress infiltrates your computer it immediately starts enciphering your personal files. It uses AES-256 and RSA-1024 algorithms and encrypts only the first 50% of the targeted files but not more than 5 Mb. This makes the encryption process relatively fast and hard to stop after it launches. Files on local drives, mapped drives and network shares are encrypted simultaneously. After the process finishes, each file receives a .frtrss extension and becomes inaccessible while their shadow copies are deleted in order to prevent any recovery attempts.

IMPORTANT: Encryption process results in high compute resource usage and takes some time if there are many files to be encrypted. Therefore, if you suspect that you have just been infected by CryptoFortress ransomware and you still do not see any ransom note or locked files we recommend that you immediately shut down your computer in order to stop the encryption process. There is also a possibility to extract a decryption key from a memory snapshot of the malware process if it has not ended yet or shortly afterwards.

CryptoFortress also places a ransom note, usually called “READ IF YOU WANT YOUR FILES BACK.html” with instructions on how to make a BitCoin payment and buy a decryption software. Here is a usual note titled “WARNING: We have encrypted your files with CryptoFortress virus” displayed to the victim:

All your important files (such as files on the network disks, USB devices, etc.): 
photos, videos, documents were encrypted with CryptoFortress virus. 
The only way to get your files back is to buy our decryption software. 
Otherwise, your files will be lost.

Caution: Removing of CryptoFortress will not restore access to your encrypted files.

The links included in this file lead to a payment website with instructions on how to buy a decryption tool using BitCoin. It also suggests to decrypt 2 files for free in order to convince you that recovering your data is possible.

Paying the ransom is not recommended since there is no guarantee that you will receive the promised decryption tool. There is also a risk of receiving additional infections through backdoors left by the creators. They will also see you as a paying victim and will be motivated to target you again in the future. Therefore, we recommend removing the threat completely and trying to recover the locked files yourself.

We have an automatic removal tool listed at the beginning of this page. It will remove the virus and protect your computer from any threats in the future as well. We also have a manual removal guide for more experienced users. However, you will still need to secure your PC afterwards to avoid similar problems in the future.

Unfortunately, there is no official CryptoFortress .frtrss file decrypter released by virus researchers at the moment. This means that there is no 100% guaranteed way to easily recover your files. However, we have listed several methods that should help you. Remember that you still need to remove the threat first before recovering the files, otherwise you might cause even more damage.

Screenshots of CryptoFortress ransomware in action:


 Manual Removal Instructions:

Remember to bookmark this page in order to access it after you restart your computer while working on the removal process! You can also open it on another device or simply print it out.

Make sure you understand the risks or editing important Windows files and settings. We recommend using the automatic removal tool for an easier removal process and in order to avoid any damage to your Windows operating system, since CryptoFortress is a complicated and dangerous virus.

Do not skip any steps as otherwise the threat might come back again.

Step 1:

Reboot your computer in Safe Mode.

When your computer is infected by a virus some of its features may be locked or compromised. You need to bypass this by rebooting your computer using Safe Mode. This will allow you to remove the virus.

Since Safe Mode only has the most basic features do not be scared that your Windows look completely different!

Click here to show how to reboot Windows 98, XP, Vista or Windows 7 in Safe Mode

  1. Restart your computer (if it is locked you can do this by physically pressing the power button on your computer).
  2. As soon as the PC starts booting begin constantly clicking F8 key on the keyboard until you get the following screen:
  3. Use arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode With Networking and press Enter.
  4. Wait for the Windows to launch.


Click here to show how to reboot Windows 8, 8.1 or Windows 10 in Safe Mode

F8 method (1/4):

Restarting and constantly hitting F8 might not work for this version of Windows since the booting is much faster and does not always react to the key presses. Try this method first and then proceed to other methods if this does not help.

  1. Restart your computer (if it is locked you can do this by physically pressing the power button on your computer).
  2. As soon as the PC starts booting begin constantly clicking F8 key on the keyboard.
    If it does not work try repeating the same procedure but this time holding Shift key and clicking F8.
  3. Follow instructions from Step 5 below:

Shift+Restart method (2/4):

  1. Click the Power icon at the login screen or in the settings charm.
  2. Hold Shift key on your keyboard and click Restart with your mouse while holding:
  3. Click Troubleshoot:

  4. Click Advanced options:
  5. Click Startup Settings:
  6. Click Restart:
  7. Now press F5 key on your keyboard to enable Safe Mode With Networking:

System configuration method (3/4):

  1. Press and hold Windows () key and click R key.
  2. Enter msconfig.exe and click OK:
  3. When System Configuration opens go to the Boot tab:
  4. Check the box “Safe Boot” in Boot options and click OK.
  5. When prompted, click Restart.
  6. Windows will now start in Safe Mode.

System Recovery method (4/4):

If everything above fails you can try inserting System Recovery CD or DVD (works only with Windows 8) or System Recovery USB Memory Stick (works with Windows 8 and 8.1). You will be able to choose Troubleshoot option. The steps are then identical as in Shift + Restart method starting from #3.

Step 2:

Find any processes that might be associated with the CryptoFortress virus and terminate them.

Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC at the same time to launch Windows Task Manager. You can also launch it by right-clicking on Windows toolbar/startbar and clicking Start Task Manager.

Go to Processes tab.

All currently running processes will be listed.

Now you will have to check each process manually.

We recommend not skipping any of the processes as viruses sometimes hide in various processes that look like essential Windows components.

Right-click on each of the processes in the list and choose Open File Location.

Go to and upload the opened file for a scan.

If the scan shows that the file is dangerous, right-click on the process and choose End Process, then delete that file in the location you have just opened.

Repeat this until you have checked all processes.

You might not find any malicious process since the virus usually only leaves HTML ransom notes and does not launch a warning executable afterwards.

Step 3:

Check your hosts file for any suspicious IPs.

Press and hold Windows () key and click R key while holding to open “Run” window.

Enter the following in the field:

notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts

Click OK.

Your hosts.ini file will open in Notepad. Delete any IPs that are not marked with an “#” in front of them except the “ localhost” entry. Here is an example:

Step 4:

Remove suspicious programs from your startup config so they would not launch as soon as you boot your computer.

Hold Windows () key and click R key.

Enter the following in the field:


Click OK.

Go to the Startup tab and uncheck all suspicious entries.

The infected or fake startup items usually have “Unknown” listed as Manufacturer. However, sometimes they might pretend to be legitimate programs.

Check process location by hovering your mouse over the “Command” column. Navigate to the location and scan the file using if it looks suspicious but you are not sure.

Click OK when you are finished unselecting all potentially dangerous processes.

Step 5:

Clean up your registry entries.

Hold Windows () key and click R key.

Enter the following in the field:


Click OK.

All Windows registry entries will open.

Most of them are critical for correct system operation and deleting important entries might result in Windows failing to load. Make sure you are very careful while deleting and editing the entries!

Press keyboard buttons CTRL + F and enter:


Click Find Next.

If you find any registry entries that could be associated with CryptoFortress, delete them by right-clicking on it and choosing Delete.

Repeat this search until no results are found anymore. Then repeat this step with the following search queries:


Step 6:

Clean up Windows temporary files.

You can safely remove all temporary files without posing any risk to your computer.

Hold Windows () key and click R key.

Enter the following in the field:


Click OK.

All temporary files will be listed in the directory.

Select all temporary files by simultaneously pressing CTRL + A and delete them.

Step 7:

Check for any recent changes in all the other important system files.

Hold Windows () key and click R key.

Enter the following in the field:


Click OK.

Do not delete anything here! Search for any recent changes (by “Date Modified”) in the files first. Only if you see that a file has just been changed scan it with Remove only files marked as dangerous. Otherwise you might remove critical system files and Windows might stop working.

Repeat this step with the following three directories while being very careful:


Remember that these directories contain many important system files! Be very careful!

Step 8:

Use Windows File Search (you can access it from Windows Start Menu by simply pressing Windows () button) or Windows Explorer in order to find the following files and delete them. Some of the files might not exist since the virus has several variations.


 Decrypting The Files:

Start recovering your files only if you have finished all removal steps! Otherwise you might cause more damage and make it harder to recover them in the future!

We recommend making a backup of the encrypted files on a separate external media in case you are not able to recover the files using our methods.

Check for CryptoFortress .frtrss file decryptor here: List of currently available decryptors. Currently we have no information that such decryptor is available but it might be added in the future so check the list before continuing.

We have a list of extensive file recovery methods available here. The instructions below are just a short version of the simplest methods.

Step 1:

Start by enabling recovery since the virus might have turned it off.

Hold Windows () key and click R key while holding to open “Run” window.

Enter the following in the field:


Click OK.

A comand prompt will open.

Copy the following:

bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled yes

Right-click on the command prompt (black window) and select Paste.

Press Enter

Step 2:

Restore the old system settings using System Restore. The virus has changed them so you need to revert to the old ones first.

Sometimes the virus is able to remove your system restore points so this step might be unsuccessful.

Press and hold Windows () key and click R key.

Enter the following in the field:


Click OK.

A System Restore wizard will open.

Click Next.

Check Show more restore points.

If you see any restore points, restore the system. Make sure you select a point that has been created before the attack happened.

If there are no restore points you will see “No restore points have been created…” error.

Step 3:

Restore earlier file versions.

Download Shadow Explorer.

When you run the program you will see the list of all shadow copies created.

Select the drive and date that you want to restore from.

Right-click on a folder name and select Export. The folder will be restored.

Read more here about how to restore files from shadow copies.

The virus also tries to delete shadow copies so this step this might be unsuccessful as well. In such case, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4:

Read more on how to restore files (including backups) on our file recovery guide. This guide includes instructions how to restore the files from a backup or shadow copies as well as how to use a professional file recovery program (which has a very high success rate) if everything else fails.

Alternatively you could make a backup with all encrypted files, store it externally and wait for a CryptoFortress decryptor to be created. New free decryptors for various ransomware appear every week but we cannot estimate the waiting time and if it is going to be created at all.

After removing the virus

When you have finished removing the CryptoFortress (TorrentLocker variation) you should protect your computer by installing a good antivirus suite. This will prevent any further infections and fix the current vulnerabilities that have been used by the ransomware to infiltrate your system.

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