Remove Peekaboo ransomware from your computer

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

Peekaboo ransomware removal instructions

What is Peekaboo?

Peekaboo is a ransomware-type program that was discovered by Michael Gillespie. Most of these programs encrypt data (files) and create ransom messages. People with computers infected by ransomware cannot access their files unless they purchase a decryption tool/key from cyber criminals. This particular program renames each encrypted file by adding the ".peekaboo" extension to the filename. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.peekaboo". It also creates the "@@_TAKE_A_LOOK_@@.txt" text file and stores it together with encrypted files.

According to the ransom message, Peekaboo encrypts files with the RSA-2048 encryption algorithm. To decrypt them, victims must purchase a decryption key by contacting cyber criminals via Additionally, they must send the "000000000.key" file, which can be found in the "%appdata%" folder. It is stated that decryption without this file is impossible. To pay the ransom, victims are encouraged to send $300 in Bitcoins to the wallet address provided. It is also mentioned that no other parties have the tools required for successful decryption. Unfortunately, this is accurate. Frequently, files encrypted by ransomware-type programs cannot be decoded without the correct tools held only by ransomware developers. Despite this, do not pay cyber criminals, since they rarely keep their promises and do not send decryption tools/keys even after payment. In most cases, the only way to regain access to files is to restore data from a backup.

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

Peekaboo decrypt instructions

Most of these programs help cyber criminals to extort money from people by encouraging them to pay ransoms in return for decryption tools/keys. Some examples of other programs of this type are cbs0z, TROLL, and WALAN. Typically, the main differences are cost of decryption tools and cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) used to lock/encrypt data. In any case, most decryptions cannot be performed without specific tools held only by the ransomware developers. This is possible only if the ransomware is not finished (has vulnerabilities, bugs, flaws, etc.). Therefore, maintain data backups and keep them on a remote server (i.e. Cloud) or unplugged/disconnected storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware is spread in a number of ways: through software 'cracking' tools, spam campaigns, untrustworthy software download channels, fake software update tools, and trojans. When used, 'cracking' tools often download and install malware rather than activating paid software. Viruses are also proliferated through email attachments (or web links). Cyber criminals send emails that include malicious attachments such as Microsoft Office documents, archive or JavaScript files, PDF documents, executables (.exe and other files), and hope that recipients open them. When opened, these attachments lead to download and installation of malicious programs. Furthermore, malware can be uploaded to untrustworthy software download sources. For example, various Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, etc.), free file hosting, freeware download websites and other similar sources. Cyber criminals use them to trick people into downloading and opening malicious files that are disguised as harmless. When opened, they allow malware to be installed. Computers are also infected through fake software updaters. These tools download and install malicious software rather than updating installed programs. In other cases, they infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs and flaws.

Threat Summary:
Name Peekaboo virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Detection Names (cfe5a746.gxe) Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/GenKryptik.DMFE), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Gen.rrx), McAfee (Artemis!CFE5A7469DEB), Full List (VirusTotal)
Encrypted Files Extension .peekaboo
Ransom Demanding Message @@_TAKE_A_LOOK_@@.txt
Ransom Amount $300 (in Bitcoins)
Cryptocurrency Wallet Address 1NkjBNF7fmpRsX4WjokUie21m8bv9xvRKs (Bitcoin)
Cyber Criminal Contact 
Symptoms Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand payment of 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 Peekaboo 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 computer infections by ransomware-type viruses, browse the Internet, install, download and update software carefully. Do not open email attachments (or links) received from unknown, untrustworthy or suspicious addresses. Avoid opening files that are attached to irrelevant emails. Update software with implemented functions or tools that are created by official software developers. Do not download software from untrustworthy, unofficial websites or using any the other sources mentioned above. Use official sites only. Activate software correctly - note that 'cracking' tools often install malicious software and are illegal. Finally, computers are safer with reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed. If your computer is already infected with Peekaboo, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Peekaboo ransomware text file "@@_TAKE_A_LOOK_@@.txt":

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$> PEEKABOO <$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
SORRY! Your files are encrypted.
File contents are encrypted with random key.
Random key is encrypted with RSA public key (2048 bit).
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND you NOT to use any "decryption tools".
These tools can damage your data, making recover IMPOSSIBLE.
Also we recommend you not to contact data recovery companies.
They will just contact us, buy the key and sell it to you at a higher price.
If you want to decrypt your files, you have to get RSA private key.
In order to get private key, write here:
Attach file is 000000000.key from %appdata% to email message,
without it we will not be able to decrypt your files
And pay $300 on BTC-wallet: 1NkjBNF7fmpRsX4WjokUie21m8bv9xvRKs
If someone else offers you files restoring, ask him for test decryption.
Only we can successfully decrypt your files; knowing this can protect you from fraud.
You will receive instructions of what to do next.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$> PEEKABOO <$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Screenshot of files encrypted by Peekaboo (".peekaboo" extension):

Files encrypted by Peekaboo

Update June 28, 2019 - The Aurora decrypter (developed by Emsisoft) can help you to restore data encrypted by Peekaboo ransomware free of charge (download link).

Emsisoft decrypter for Peekaboo ransomware

Peekaboo ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Peekaboo 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 Peekaboo 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 Peekaboo 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 Peekaboo 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 Peekaboo 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 Peekaboo 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 Peekaboo, 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 Peekaboo 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 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 Peekaboo 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
Peekaboo 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 Peekaboo virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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