How to protect systems from a Peta ransomware attack

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

Peta ransomware removal instructions

What is Peta?

Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Peta ransomware belongs to the Djvu family. This software is designed to encrypt files stored on the victim's computer. To decrypt them, victims are encouraged to purchase a decryption tool and/or key from the cyber criminals who designed the program (i.e., pay a ransom). Shariz changes filenames of encrypted files by adding the ".peta" extension. For example, "sample.jpg" becomes "sample.jpg.peta". It also creates a ransom message within a text file called "_readme.txt" and places this file in every folder that contains encrypted files.

The "_readme.txt" file states that Peta has encrypted all files such as photos, documents, databases and data with the strongest encryption algorithm. To decrypt them, victims must contact cyber criminals (Peta developers) via the or email address. A decryption key and software costs $980, however, victims are offered a 50% discount if victims contact cyber criminals within 72 hours of encryption. To ensure that cyber criminals have valid tools, victims are permitted to send one encrypted file that they will decrypt free of charge. Typically, only ransomware developers can provide decryption tools, however, none can be trusted. There is a high probability that cyber criminals will not send any keys or software, even after payment. In many cases, people who trust cyber criminals (and pay the ransom) are scammed. Generally, the only free option is to restore files from a backup, however, this is possible only if data was backed up prior to computer infection with ransomware.

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

Peta decrypt instructions

There are many ransomware-type programs that are very similar to Peta. Examples include Seto, HILDACRYPT, and Lbkut. Typically, these programs are used to extort money from victims by forcing them to purchase tools that can decrypt their files. Any differences are usually cost of decryption software/key and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to lock victims' data. In any case, most of these programs lock files with strong algorithms. Thus, decryption without involvement of ransomware developers is impossible, unless the program is not complete, has bugs, flaws, etc. To avoid data loss caused by ransomware (and paying cyber criminals), have all data backed up and keep it on a remote server such as Cloud and/or an unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, malicious programs infect systems through spam campaigns, Trojans, untrustworthy file or software download channels, unofficial software updating or activation tools. To proliferate malware through spam campaigns, cyber criminals send emails that contain malicious attachments or web links that, if clicked, download malicious files. Generally, they attach files such as Microsoft Office documents, executable files (.exe), archives such as RAR, ZIP, PDF documents or JavaScript files. Once the attachment is opened, it causes installation of malicious software. Trojans are malicious programs that cause damage only when they are already installed on the system. If installed, they install other programs of this type, including ransomware. Untrustworthy software download channels such as Peer-to-Peer networks, freeware download or file hosting websites, third party downloaders, unofficial pages and other similar file or software download sources can also be used to proliferate malware. Typically, cyber criminals disguise malicious files as legitimate and upload them to various file or software download channels. People who download from dubious sources risk downloading malicious files that, if opened, install rogue programs. Fake (unofficial) software updating tools infect computers by exploiting bugs/flaws of installed, outdated software, or simply by installing malware rather than updates, fixes, and so on. Malicious software is also spread through unofficial software ('cracking') activation tools. Typically, people use these tools when they want to activate paid software free of charge (bypass paid activation), however, these tools are often designed to infect systems with malicious programs.

Threat Summary:
Name Peta virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .peta
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
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, unofficial activation and updating tools.
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.

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Do not open website links/files attached to emails that are irrelevant or sent from suspicious, unknown addresses. The best option is to ignore them, otherwise they might lead to installation of malware. All files and programs should be downloaded from official and trustworthy websites. The download channels mentioned above might be used to distribute malicious software. Installed software should be kept up-to-date, however, use implemented functions/tools designed by official software developers. If an installed program is not free, do not try to activate it using 'cracking' tools. These are illegal and often infect computers with high-risk malware. Additionally, scan operating systems with a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware suite regularly and remove detected viruses/threats immediately. If your computer is already infected with Peta, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

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


Don't worry, 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:
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" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

Your personal ID:

Screenshot of files encrypted by Peta (".peta" extension):

Files encrypted by Peta

Peta ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: 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 malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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 Peta 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 Peta 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 Peta 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 Peta 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 Peta, 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 Peta 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 Peta 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
Peta 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 Peta virus on your mobile device.
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