PGPSnippet Ransomware

Also Known As: PGPSnippet virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

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 "" 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 decrypt instructions

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?

Ransomware is proliferated in various ways. Yet the most popular five are: 1) spam emails; 2) peer-to-peer [P2P] networks; 3) unofficial software download sources; 4) fake software update tools, and; 5) trojans. Some spam emails include malicious attachments such as JavaScript files, MS Office documents, and similar. Once opened, these files execute scripts that stealthily download and install malware. P2P networks (torrents, eMule, and other) and other third party download sources (freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, etc.) present malicious executables as legitimate software, thereby tricking users into downloading and installing viruses by themselves. Fake updaters infect the system by either exploiting outdated software's bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware instead of actual updates. Trojans are probably the simplest of all. Most of them do nothing but open "backdoor" for other viruses to infiltrate the system. At the end of the day, the main reasons for computer infections still are poor knowledge and reckless behavior.

Threat Summary:
NamePGPSnippet virus
Threat TypeRansomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
SymptomsCan'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 methodsInfected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
DamageAll 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)

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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:

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):

Files encrypted by PGPSnippet

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:
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Quick menu:

Step 1

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.

Safe Mode with Networking

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.

Windows 8 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.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

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.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

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).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

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.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

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 regain control of the files encrypted by PGPSnippet, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

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.

Controll Folder Access

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:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • 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:

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
PGPSnippet virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of PGPSnippet virus on your mobile device.
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