Promos ransomware removal instructions
What is Promos?
Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Promos is a new variant of high-risk ransomware called Djvu. This malware is designed to stealthily infiltrate the system and encrypt most stored files. In doing so, Promos adds the ".promos" extension to the name of each encrypted file (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.promos"). As well as encrypting data, Promos generates a text file ("_readme.txt") and places a copy it in every existing folder. This file contains a ransom-demand message.
As usual, the ransom message claims that data is encrypted and can only be restored using a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. It is currently unknown whether Promos uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. In any case, each victim receives a unique key, which is necessary to restore data. Unfortunately, Cyber criminals hide all keys on a remote server and attempt to blackmail victims for their release. To receive their keys, each victim must pay a ransom of $980. To receive detailed payment instructions, they must also contact developers via one of email addresses provided. It is also stated that victims who make contact within 72 hours following encryption will receive a 50% discount and the cost will drop to $490. Furthermore, victims are able to attach one selected file (not containing personal details), which is restored and returned as a 'guarantee' that data can be restored. Regardless of the cost, do not pay. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, users pay ransoms and typically receive nothing in return. We strongly advise that you never contact these people or pay any ransom. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking this ransomware encryption and restoring data free of charge. Therefore, the only solution is to restore everything everything from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Promos is virtually identical to Aqva, Snatch, SEED LOCKER, Cammora, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. Although the developers are different, all of these viruses have identical behavior - they encrypt data and make ransom demands. The only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, ransomware-type infections often use RSA, AES, and other similar algorithms that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the malware is in development or contains bugs/flaws, decrypting data manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Therefore, maintain regular data backups and store them on a remote server or unplugged storage device. Locally stored backups are often encrypted with other regular files.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
Although it is currently unknown how developers proliferate Promos, these viruses are usually distributed using trojans, fake software updaters and cracks, spam email campaigns, and third party software download sources. Trojans are malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and inject additional malware into the system. Fake updaters exploit outdated software bugs/flaws or download and install malware rather than promised updates. Cracking tools bypass paid software activation, however, since they are often used to proliferate viruses, users typically end up infecting their computers rather than gaining access to paid features. Spam email campaigns are used to distribute malicious attachments that, once opened, download and install malware. Developers use unofficial download sources to present infectious executables as legitimate software, thus tricking users into downloading and installing malware manually.
|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?
The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. Caution is the key to safety. Therefore, pay close attention when downloading, installing, updating software, and browsing the internet. Download apps from official sources only, using direct download links, since third party downloaders/installers often include rogue programs. Keeping installed applications and operating systems up-to-date is also paramount, however, this should be achieved using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Never use software cracking tools, since software piracy is considered a cyber crime and the risk of infections is extremely high. Think twice before opening email attachments. If the sender seem suspicious/unrecognizable or the file/link is irrelevant and does not concern you, do not open anything and delete the email immediately. Finally, have a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running, since these tools can detect and eliminate malware before the system is harmed. If your computer is already infected with Promos, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Promos ransomware text file ("_readme.txt"):
---------------- ALL YOUR FILES ARE ENCRYPTED ----------------
Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files documents, photos, databases and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.
To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
Your personal ID:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Promos (".promos" extension):
As with most of ransomware from Djvu family, Promos also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during the encryption:
IMPORTANT NOTE! - Ransomware-type infections from Djvu malware family are designed to add a number of entries to the Windows hosts file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is carried out with the intention of making users unable to access malware security websites and seek help. Our website (PCrisk.com) is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).
Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:
Promos 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 Promos?
- STEP 1. Promos virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Promos 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 Promos 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 Promos 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 Promos 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 Promos 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 Promos 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.
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:
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 Promos ransomware: