How to eliminate Pox ransomware from the system?

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

Pox ransomware removal instructions

What is Pox?

Pox is yet another high-risk ransomware discovered by GrujaRS. As with most of these infections, Pox stealthily infiltrates computers and encrypts most of stored files, thereby making them unusable. While doing so, Pox adds ".Pox" extension to each filename (e.g., "1.jpg" is renamed to "1.jpg.Pox"). In addition, Pox creates a text file named "HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt" and drops a copy in every existing folder.

The created text file contains a message stating that data is encrypted and that victims have to contact cyber criminals in order to restore them. It is also noted that a unique decryption key is necessary to restore data. Unfortunately, this is true. The exact type of algorithm used by Pox is currently unknown. Despite that, it is sure that each victim gets a unique decryption key and restoring data without it is impossible. What's more important is that all keys are stored in a remote server controlled by cyber criminals. Therefore, after contacting these persons victims will be asked to pay a ransom in exchange for the key. The price is also unconfirmed. Yet size of ransom usually fluctuates between $500 and $1500 and crooks often ask to submit payments using some sort of cryptocurrency (e.g., Bitcoins, Ethereum, DASH, Monero, or another). One way or another, ransoms should never be paid, no matter how large or small they are. Cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. For this reason, it is very likely for paying to give no positive result - victims will simply get scammed. We highly recommend to ignore all encouragements to submit payments and even contact these persons. Unfortunately, Pox is an undecryptable ransomware, meaning that there are no tools capable of cracking its encryption and restoring data for free. Restoring everything from a backup is the only possible scenario.

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

Pox decrypt instructions

Internet is full of ransomware infections that share many similarities with Pox. RodentiaYOUR_LAST_CHANCECROWN - the list goes on and on. Almost all of them are designed to compromise data (typically, to encrypt it) and to make ransom demands. Unfortunately, ransomware infections usually employ cryptographies like RSA, AES, and similar that generate unique decryption keys. Hence, it is virtually impossible to restore data without developers interference. The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed and/or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or something like that). You should always maintain regular data backups. However, be sure to store backups in a remote server or either unplugged storage device, because locally stored backups will be encrypted alongside with regular data. We should also mention that there is a chance that used server/hardware will be damaged in some way. For this reason, we recommend to have multiple backup copies and store them in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The way developers proliferate Pox is currently unknown. In most cases, however, ransomware infections are proliferated using email spam campaigns, third party software download sources, fake software updaters/cracks, and trojans. Spam campaigns are basically used to send hundreds of thousands of emails consisting of malicious attachments, as well as deceptive messages encouraging recipients to open them. Attached links/files are also likely to be presented as important documents - by doing so crooks significantly increase the chance of tricking recipients. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks (torrents, eMule, etc.), free file hosting/freeware download websites and other unofficial download sources are used to spread malware by presenting it as legitimate software. Users simply get tricked into downloading and installing malware manually, by themselves. Fake updaters infect computers by exploiting old software's vulnerabilities or simply downloading and installing malware rather than actual updates. Fake cracking tools also behave virtually the same - they infect computers instead of activating paid software for free. Last but not least are trojans - malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and inject them with additional malware.

Threat Summary:
Name Pox virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .Pox
Ransom Demanding Message HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact vpsimf@gmail.com
Detection Names DrWeb (Trojan.Encoder.10598), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Filecoder.Z), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), McAfee (Ransomware-FTD!CB1C66065831), 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.
Removal

To eliminate Pox 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?

Every single user should know that poor knowledge and reckless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to its safety is caution and, thus, paying attention when browsing the Internet, as well as downloading/installing/updating software is a must. You should never use any third party download/installation tools, because they often include rogue apps. Instead, software should be downloaded only from official programs, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue applications, which is why such tools should never be used. Keeping installed applications and operating system up-to-date is also paramount. To achieve this, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. It is also important to know that cracking installed applications is illegal (software piracy is a cyber crime). Moreover, the risk of infections is extremely high, since most of cracking tools are fake. For this reason, you should never attempt to activate applications using third party/illegal tools. Handling all received email attachments with care is also extremely important. Never open any attachments that are irrelevant or if the sender looks suspicious. Such emails should be deleted without even reading. On top of all that, be sure to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - tools of this type will help you detect and remove infections before they damage the system. If your computer is already infected with Pox, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Pox ransomware's text file ("HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt"):

All your information (documents, databases, backups and other files) this computer was
encrypted using the most cryptographic algorithms.
All encrypted files are formatted .Pox.
This form files '.Pox' is a joint development American Hackers.
You can only recover files using a decryptor and password, which, in turn, only we know.
It is impossible to pick it up.
Reinstalling the OS will not change anything.
No system administrator in the world can solve this problem without knowing the password
In no case do not modify the files! But if you want, then make a backup.
Drop us an email at the addres vpsimf@gmail.com
You have 48 hours left. If they are not decrypted then after 48 hours they will be removed!!!

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

Files encrypted by Pox

Pox ransomware removal:

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

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