Protect your computer from NextPharma ransomware attacks

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

NextPharma ransomware removal instructions

What is NextPharma?

NextPharma ransomware was discovered by Raby and designed to lock files by encrypting them with a cryptographic algorithm. Therefore, people with computers infected by NextPharma cannot access their files unless they purchase specific software (decryption tool). This malicious program renames all encrypted files by adding the ".n3xtpharma" extension to the filenames. For example, "sample.jpg" becomes "sample.jpg.n3xtpharma". The number of ransom messages (.txt) files is equivalent to the number of encrypted files. Each ransom message is named after the associated encrypted file. For example, "sample.jpg.n3xtpharma_readme". NextPharma stores these ransom messages in folders that contain encrypted files.

To obtain instructions about how to pay the ransom, victims must contact cyber criminals via or The cost of decryption software is unknown, however, most cyber criminals (ransomware developers) demand to be paid in a cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin). Typically, it is impossible to decrypt files without specific tools held only by ransomware developers. Unfortunately, cyber criminals cannot be trusted. Once paid, they ignore victims. People who trust them are usually scammed and receive no decryption tools and/or keys even if they pay the ransoms. Since there are no free tools capable of decoding files encrypted with NextPharmransomware, the only option to avoid being scammed and recover files, is to restore them from a backup. This, however, is only possible if a backup was created prior to installation of NextPharma.

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

NextPharma decrypt instructions

Other examples of ransomware-type programs similar to NextPharma include Meds, PyLock, and Erenahen. In most cases, cyber criminals proliferate them to extort money from unsuspecting people: forcing them to pay for decryption tools/keys. Typically, only cyber criminals can provide these tools. Common differences are usually size of ransom and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to lock files. Decryption without the involvement of ransomware developers is usually possible only when the program is not finished (has bugs, flaws, etc.). Therefore, have data backed up and store it on a remote server (Cloud) or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer

Generally, cyber criminals proliferate ransomware through spam campaigns, Trojans, unofficial software updaters, 'cracking' tools and various untrustworthy software download channels or tools. They use spam campaigns to proliferate malware through files that they attach to emails. When such an attachment is opened, it installs ransomware (or other malicious software). In most cases, they attach files such as Microsoft Office documents, Javascript or executable files (.exe), archives such as ZIP, RAR, PDF documents, and so on. A trojan is a type of malware that, if already installed, causes additional downloads and installations of malware. In summary, these programs cause chain infections. Fake software updaters infect systems by downloading and installing malicious programs rather than updating those installed, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software installed on the operating system. Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools are used by people who seek to activate paid software free of charge, however, these tools often install malware and do not activate software. People who download files/software from unofficial websites, using Peer-to-Peer networks, freeware download websites and other similar sources, often inadvertently download malicious files that are disguised as harmless, regular, etc. If opened, these files infect computers with high-risk malware.

Threat Summary:
Name NextPharma virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .n3xtpharma
Ransom Demanding Message NextPharma creates ransom messages under different names (examples in the screenshot).
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Detection Names Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32408984), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Filecoder.FriedEx.I), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.DelShad.ara), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Free Audio Converter (process name can vary).
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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Do not download files or programs from unofficial websites, through Peer-to-Peer networks, or other similar channels/sources. The safest way is to use official pages and direct download links. Installed programs must be updated properly using tools or implemented functions that are provided by official developers. The same applies to activation of paid software. Unofficial tools that supposedly bypass paid software activation are illegal and are often used to proliferate malware. Files or links attached to irrelevant emails and sent from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened. Additionally, scan the operating system for viruses regularly using a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware suite. Keep this software up-to-date. If your computer is already infected with NextPharma, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in NextPharma ransomware text files:

Hello NextPharma.

Your network was hacked and encrypted.

No free decryption software is available on the web.


Keep our contacts safe. Disclosure can lead to impossibility of decryption.

Please, use your company name as the email subject.



Screenshot of files encrypted by NextPharma (".n3xtpharma" extension):

Files encrypted by NextPharma

NextPharma process ("Free Audio Converter") in Task Manager:

nextpharma malicious process

NextPharma ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes 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 NextPharma 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 NextPharma 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 NextPharma 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 NextPharma 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 NextPharma, 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 NextPharma 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 NextPharma 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.

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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
NextPharma 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 NextPharma virus on your mobile device.
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