PGPSnippet ransomware removal instructions
What is PGPSnippet?
PGPSnippet is another ransomware-type virus discovered by MalwareHunterTeam. As usually, PGPSnippet stealthily infiltrates the system and encrypts most of stored data. While doing so, PGPSnippet appends filenames with ".decodeme666@tutanota_com" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.decodeme666@tutanota_com"). Encrypted data instantly becomes unusable. Following successful encryption, PGPSnippet generates a text file ("!!!README_DECRYPT!!!.txt") and drops it's copy in every existing folder. Updated variants of this ransomware use ".good" and ".email@example.com" extensions for encrypted files.
The text file contains a message stating that data is encrypted and that victims must pay a ransom in order to restore it. Detailed information regarding the encryption is not provided. Thus, it is currently unknown whether PGPSnippet uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. However, it is sure that decryption requires a key generated individually for each victim. The reason why victims must pay a ransom is because developers store all keys in a remote server. Price for each key's release is $500 and it must be paid in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. It is also noted that the ransom will increase in 72 hours after the encryption. Either way, victims should never pay. Research results show that cyber criminals are very likely to ignore users, once payments are submitted. In other words, paying typically gives no positive result and users simply get scammed. For this reason, these persons can never be trusted. All encouragements to contact these persons and, especially, submit payments should be ignored. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking PGPSnippet's encryption and restoring data for free. There's only one possible solution: to restore files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
PGPSnippet is virtually identical to Mr.Dec, RAPID RANSOMWARE V3, Sigrun, Sepsis, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. Notice that even though they're developed by different cyber criminals, all behave exactly the same - encrypt data and make ransom demands. There typically are only two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, most employ cryptographies (e.g., RSA, AES, etc.) that generate unique decryption keys. Hence, unless the virus is not fully developed and/or has certain bugs/flaws, restoring files manually (without developers interfering) is impossible. Ransomware presents a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. However, it is very important to store them in a remote server, or either unplugged storage device, otherwise they'll be encrypted together with regular files.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Symptoms||Can't open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension, for example my.docx.locked. A ransom demanding message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals are asking to pay a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.|
|Distribution methods||Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.|
|Damage||All files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)|
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
In order to prevent ransomware infections users must be very cautious when browsing the Internet. We highly recommend not to open any email attachments that look irrelevant and/or have been received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses. Such emails should be deleted without even reading. Moreover, it is advised to download desired software only from official sources, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps. For this reason, they should not be used. Same goes for updating software. It is very important to keep installed apps up-to-date. Yet to achieve this users should employ implemented update features or tools provided by the official developer only. Having a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also a must. The key to computer safety is caution.
Text presented in PGPSnippet ransomware's text file ("!!!README_DECRYPT!!!.txt"):
All your documents and other files ENCRYPTED !!!
TO RESTORE YOUR FILES YOU MUST TO PAY: 500$ by Bitcoin to this address: 1Nvhebx6EHmFmXokSbXMxbCNGN2fwtgq8W
You can open an wallet here:
Send the file on the way "WIN + R >> %APPDATA%" file name hosts.txt to our e-mail after paymentat this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will confirm payment and send to you decrypt key + instruction
Remember: you have a 72 hours and if you not paid, that price will up
ATTENTION : all your attempts to decrypt your PC without our software and key can lead to irreversible destruction of your files !
Screenshot of files encrypted by PGPSnippet (".decodeme666@tutanota_com" extension):
PGPSnippet ransomware removal:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is PGPSnippet?
- STEP 1. PGPSnippet virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. PGPSnippet ransomware removal using System Restore.
Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the PGPSnippet virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.
If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.
Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":
1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the PGPSnippet ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining PGPSnippet ransomware files.
To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of PGPSnippet are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.
To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.
If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.
To protect your computer from file encryption ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as PGPSnippet ransomware.
Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default this feature automatically protects files stored in Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.
Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here’s more information on how to get this update and add additional protection layer from ransomware infections.
HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.
Other tools known to remove PGPSnippet ransomware: