How to eliminate Pox ransomware from the system

Also Known As: Pox virus
Distribution: Low
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 stored files, thereby rendering them unusable. In doing so, Pox adds the ".Pox" extension to each filename (for example, "1.jpg" is renamed to "1.jpg.Pox"). In addition, Pox creates a text file called "HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt" and stores a copy in every existing folder.

The new text file contains a message stating that data is encrypted and that victims must contact cyber criminals to restore it (it is also stated that a unique decryption key is necessary to do this). Unfortunately, this information is accurate. The exact type of algorithm used by Pox is currently unknown, however, each victim gets a unique decryption key, without which, restoring data without is impossible. Furthermore, all keys are stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals. Therefore, after contacting these people, victims are asked to pay a ransom in exchange for their keys. The cost is also unconfirmed, however, the size of ransom usually fluctuates between $500 and $1500. Criminals often ask payments to be submitted using a type of cryptocurrency (e.g., Bitcoins, Ethereum, DASH, Monero, or other). Despite these demands, ransoms should never be paid whatever the cost. Cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying will deliver no positive result and victims are scammed. We strongly recommend that you ignore all requests to submit payments or even contact these people. Unfortunately, Pox is undecryptable ransomware and there are no tools capable of cracking the encryption and restoring data free of charge. Restoring everything from a backup is the only possible solution.

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

Pox decrypt instructions

The Internet is full of ransomware infections that share many similarities with Pox including RodentiaYOUR_LAST_CHANCE, and CROWN - the list goes on. Most compromise data (typically, by encryption) and make ransom demands. Unfortunately, ransomware infections usually employ cryptographies such as RSA, AES, and similar that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to restore data without developers' involvement. The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar). You should maintain regular data backups, however, store them on a remote server or unplugged storage device, since locally stored backups are encrypted together with regular data. In addition, servers/hardware can always be damaged, so have multiple backup copies stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The way developers proliferate Pox is currently unknown, however, ransomware infections are generally proliferated using spam email campaigns, third party software download sources, fake software updaters/cracks, and trojans. Spam campaigns are essentially used to send hundreds of thousands of emails containing malicious attachments and deceptive messages encouraging recipients to open them. Attached links/files are also presented as 'important documents' - in this way, criminals 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 proliferate malware by presenting it as legitimate software - users are tricked into manually downloading and installing malware. Fake updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software vulnerabilities or simply downloading and installing malware rather than updates. Fake cracking tools have similar behavior - they infect computers rather than activating paid software free of charge. Finally, trojans are malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and inject 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 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.
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?

Poor knowledge and careless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to safety is caution, Therefore, pay attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Never use third party download/installation tools, since they often include rogue apps. Software should be downloaded from official programs, using direct download links. Keep installed applications and operating systems up-to-date, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Cracking installed applications is illegal (software piracy is a cyber crime) and the risk of infections is extremely high (since most cracking tools are fake). Therefore, never attempt to activate applications using third party/illegal tools. Handle all received email attachments with care and never open any attachments that are irrelevant or if the sender seems suspicious. These emails should be deleted without reading. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools detect and remove infections before they can 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 the Pox ransomware 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 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 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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