PLUT Ransomware

Also Known As: PLUT virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

PLUT ransomware removal instructions

What is PLUT?

The person who discovered PLUT is Jakub Kroustek. This is a program that belongs to the Dharma ransomware family. Software of this type is used to encrypt data, to block access to it unless a ransom is paid. In other words, ransomware victims are forced to purchase a decryption tool/key. PLUT adds the ".PLUT" extension to every encrypted file, for example, it renames "1.jpg" to "[].PLUT" and so on (it adds developer's email and victim's ID too). Ransom note can be found in a file named "RETURN FILES.txt", PLUT also displays one in a pop-up window.

The text file contains a couple of email addresses ( and, these are the emails that supposed to be used to contact cyber criminals who developed PLUT. The note in a pop-up window says that PLUT ransomware encrypts data using RSA-1024 algorithm and that victims have 7 days to do it. After that decryption keys might be overwritten and encrypted data will be lost permanently. The ransom note informs victims that they should contact cyber criminals via one of the emails and to provide the ID that is appointed to them (each victims gets a unique ID). Once contacted, they will send instructions on how to make a payment (provide a Bitcoin wallet's address). PLUTs developers promise to send the decryption tool and key as soon as they receive the money. It is mentioned that any attempts to decrypt files using some other tool might increase the price of a decryption. Unfortunately, most ransomware developers use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric), they cause strong encryptions that can be decrypted using tools/keys that only they have. Another problem is that most cyber criminals cannot be trusted, even if they have the right decryption tools. Typically, they urge victims to pay for them and, once they are paid, they disappear (do not send the decryption tools/keys). To avoid becoming victim of a scam, we recommend to restore all files from a data backup.

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

PLUT decrypt instructions

There are plenty malicious programs of this type on the Internet, SYSTEM FAILURE, DrWeb and Bufas are just a few examples. Most of them are very similar, they are used to encrypt data and keep it locked until cyber criminals are paid. Main differences usually are the ransom size (price of the decryption tool/key) and the cryptography algorithm which ransomware uses to encrypt data. Unfortunately, most encryptions without interference of particular ransomware's developers are impossible, unless ransomware is not fully developed, has some bugs, flaws etc. To prevent data and/or financial loss, we recommend to create data backups regularly and store them on remote server or unplugged/disconnected storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware-type programs and other high-risk computer infections usually are distributed though software 'cracking' tools, spam campaigns, trojans, fake software updaters and various untrustworthy software download sources. People use the aforementioned 'cracking' tools when they want to avoid paying for software activations. However, cyber criminals often employ them to proliferate malware too. Simply said, these tools often download and install malicious programs instead of bypassing paid activations. Spam campaigns can be used to spread malicious programs through files that are attached to emails that cyber criminals send to people. They send files such as Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archives like ZIP, RAR, executables (.exe and other similar files), JavaScript files and so on. Their main goal is to trick people into opening them which results in downloads and installations of various malicious software. Trojans are infections that, if installed, proliferate other infections (or cause other problems). Another way to spread viruses is by using untrustworthy software download sources. For example, Peer-to-Peer networks (like eMule, torrent clients and so on), freeware download, file hosting websites, or various unofficial pages. By using these sources people risk to download and install malware instead of the expected software. Cyber criminals successfully trick people into that by disguising malicious files as legitimate. Fake software updaters, if used, often infect systems by exploiting bugs, flaws of installed (and outdated) software, or by downloading and installing malicious programs instead of updating, or fixing programs.

Threat Summary:
Name PLUT virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .PLUT (this ransomware also appends filenames with victim's unique ID and developers' email address).
Ransom Demanding Message Pop-up window, RETURN FILES.txt text files.
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Trojan.Heur.LShot.1), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win32/Filecoder.Crysis.P), Kaspersky (, Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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.

To eliminate PLUT 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?

If it is obvious that a received email is irrelevant and it also contains some web link or attachment, then it is best to simply ignore it (keep its contents unopened). Third party downloaders, installers or other similar tools should not be used to download any software. The best way to do it is using official websites (and direct download links). Unofficial software updating tools cannot be trusted, all installed software must be updated using implemented tools or functions that are provided by official software developers. Software activations should not be done using various 'cracking' tools, many of the mare designed to cause computer infections. Besides, it is not legal to use such tools (bypass activations). If there is no reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed, it should be done right away. It is important to have a tool of this type installed and to keep it enabled at all times. If your computer is already infected with PLUT, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in PLUT ransomware's pop-up window:

You can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
When you make sure of decryption possibility transfer the money to our bitcoin wallet. As soon as we receive the money we will send you:
1. Decryption program.
2. Detailed instruction for decryption.
3. And individual keys for decrypting your files.
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Screenshot of PLUT's text file ("RETURN FILES.txt"):

PLUT text file

Text presented in the .txt file:

All your data is encrypted!
for return write to mail: or

Screenshot of files encrypted by PLUT (".PLUT" extension):

Files encrypted by PLUT

PLUT ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of PLUT 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 PLUT 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 PLUT 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 PLUT 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 PLUT 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 PLUT 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 PLUT, 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 PLUT 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 PLUT ransomware: