Pulsar1 Ransomware

Also Known As: Pulsar1 virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Pulsar1 ransomware removal instructions

What is Pulsar1?

This malware was first discovered by Michael Gillespie and is a new variant of high-risk ransomware called Djvu. Following successful infiltration, Pulsar1 encrypts most stored data and appends filenames with the ".pulsar1" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.pulsar1"). In addition, Pulsar1 places a text file ("_readme.txt") in each folder containing encrypted files.

The new text file contains a ransom-demand message which is identical to those presented by other variants of Djvu. The message states that data is encrypted and that each victim must purchase a decryption key necessary to restore data. It is currently unknown which type of encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) Pulsar1 uses. In any case, each victim receives a unique decryption key. All keys are stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals. Therefore, victims must pay ransoms of $980 for their release. It is stated, however, that victims who make contact with these criminals within 72 hours after encryption will receive a 50% discount, and thus the cost will drop to $490 per key. Regardless of the cost, do not pay. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying usually gives no positive result and users are scammed. Never attempt to contact these people or submit any payments. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking Pulsar1 encryption and restoring data free of charge. The only solution is to restore everything from a backup.

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

Pulsar1 decrypt instructions

Pulsar1 is regular ransomware and, thus shares many similarities with dozens of other ransomware-type viruses such as Kroput, Yatron, and CrazyCrypt. Although the developers are different, they all have similar characteristics and behavior - they encrypt data and make ransom demands. In most cases, infections of this type have just two major differences: size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Ransomware usually employs cryptographies such as AES, RSA, and others, that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to decrypt data manually without the involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended). The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed or having certain bugs/flaws. We strongly recommend that you maintain regular data backups, however, store them on a remote server or unplugged storage device, otherwise the ransomware can encrypt locally stored backups together with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

To proliferate ransomware, cyber criminals usually use spam email campaigns, unofficial software download sources, fake software updaters, cracks, and trojans. Cyber criminals send hundreds of thousands of spam emails that contain malicious attachments (PDFs, MS Office documents, executables, archives, etc.) and deceptive messages encouraging users to open them. These attachments download/install malware into the system. Third party software download sources are used to present malicious executables as legitimate software. This often tricks users into downloading and installing malware manually. Fake updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware rather than updates. Cracking tools activate paid software free of charge, however, cyber criminals often use them to proliferate malware. Users commonly end up infecting their computers rather than gaining access to paid features. Finally, trojans are malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and install additional malware.

Threat Summary:
NamePulsar1 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.
Removal

To eliminate Pulsar1 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, and updating software. Think twice before opening email attachments. Files/links that are irrelevant and those received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should never be opened. Download programs from official sources only using direct download links. Keeping installed applications and operating systems up-to-date is also extremely important, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Never attempt to crack installed applications, since software piracy is considered a cyber crime and the risk of infection is extremely high. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools detect and eliminate most infections before they can harm the system. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with Pulsar1, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Pulsar1 ransomware text file ("_readme.txt"):

ATTENTION!
Don't worry my friend, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents 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:
hxxps://we.tl/t-ll0rIToOhf
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:
blower@india.com
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
blower@firemail.cc
Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Pulsar1 (".pulsar1" extension):

Files encrypted by Pulsar1

As with most of ransomware from the Djvu family, Pulsar1 also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during encryption:

Djvu ransomware family fake update

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 done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking 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 the Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

Pulsar1 ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Pulsar1 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 Pulsar1 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 Pulsar1 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 Pulsar1 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 Pulsar1 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 Pulsar1 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 Pulsar1, 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 Pulsar1 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 Pulsar1 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 pcrisk.com 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
Medium

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

QR Code
Pulsar1 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 Pulsar1 virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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