PAIN LOCKER Ransomware

Also Known As: PAIN LOCKER virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

PAIN LOCKER ransomware removal instructions


PAIN LOCKER is a ransomware-type virus discovered by MalwareHunterTeam. Immediately after infiltration, PAIN LOCKER encrypts most stored data and appends filenames with the ".[].pain" extension. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.[].pain". Note that the same extension is used by some variants of Everbe ransomware and, therefore, there is a high probability that these viruses are related to PAIN LOCKER. Once data is encrypted, using it becomes impossible. Following successful encryption, PAIN LOCKER creates a text file ("!=How_recovery_files=!.txt") and places a copy in every existing folder.

As with most ransomware, the new text file contains a message stating that data is encrypted and that victims must contact cyber criminals via an email address provided. Victims are then supposedly provided with decryption instructions. No additional information is given and it is currently unknown whether PAIN LOCKER uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. Despite this, each victim requires a unique key necessary to restore data. PAIN LOCKER's developers store all keys on a remote server. After contacting these people, users are asked to pay a ransom for their release. The cost is also currently unconfirmed - all details are provided via an email. Developers typically demand $500-1500 in Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency. No matter what the cost, do not pay. Research shows that these people often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying typically gives no positive result and users are simply scammed. Cyber criminals can never be trusted - all requests to contact these people or pay any ransoms must be ignored. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking PAIN LOCKER's encryption and restoring files free of charge. Therefore, there is only one solution: to restore everything from a backup.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:

PAIN LOCKER decrypt instructions

PAIN LOCKER shares many similarities with Aurora, Embrace, Dont_Worry, CryptoConsole, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. Research shows that although these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, their behavior is identical - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. In most cases, the only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, viruses like PAIN LOCKER typically employ RSA, AES, or other similar algorithms that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the malware is still development or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar) restoring data manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Ransomware is one of the main reasons why you should maintain regular data backups, however, remember to store them on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device (i.e., external hard drive, Flash drive or similar). If not ransomware encrypts the backups together with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware is typically proliferated using trojans, fake software updaters, spam emails (malicious attachments), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, unofficial software download sources. Trojans are very simple - most open "backdoors" for other viruses to infiltrate the system. Fake updaters infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing viruses rather than updating software. Malicious attachments typically come in the format of JavaScript files or MS Office documents. Once opened, these attachments execute scripts that stealthily download and install malware. P2P networks (eMule, torrents, etc.) and other third party download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, and similar) present malicious executables as legitimate software. Therefore, users are often tricked into downloading and installing malware. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
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.

To eliminate PAIN LOCKER virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Think twice before opening email attachments. If the file seems irrelevant or has been received from a suspicious/unrecognizable email address, delete the email immediately and certainly do not download/open any attachment. Furthermore, we strongly advise you to download your programs from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party download/installation tools often include PUPs, and thus using them is not recommended. The same applies to updating software. Keep installed programs up-to-date. To achieve this, use implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. You are also advised to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running at all times.

Text presented in PAIN LOCKER ransomware text file ("!=How_recovery_files=!.txt"):

########## PAIN LOCKER ##########

Hello, dear friend!
All your files have been ENCRYPTED
Do you really want to restore your files?
Write to our email - or
and tell us your unique ID - ID-d7f2fd

Screenshot of files encrypted by PAIN LOCKER (".[].pain" extension):

Files encrypted by PAIN LOCKER

PAIN LOCKER ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of PAIN LOCKER virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of PAIN LOCKER virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

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 PAIN LOCKER 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 PAIN LOCKER 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 PAIN LOCKER 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 PAIN LOCKER 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 PAIN LOCKER, 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 PAIN LOCKER ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the 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 is more information on how to get this update and add an 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 PAIN LOCKER 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 virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
PAIN LOCKER 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 PAIN LOCKER virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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