How to remove Toec ransomware from a computer?

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

Toec ransomware removal instructions

What is Toec?

Toec is ransomware that belongs to Djvu ransomware family. Typically, people who have their computers infected with malware like Toec cannot access/use their files, programs of this type encrypt data with strong encryption algorithms. In most cases the only way to decrypt files is to use decryption tools and/or keys that can be purchased from cyber criminals who designed ransomware. In other words, victims are forced to pay a ransom. Toec renames encrypted files by appending the ".toec" extension, for example, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.toec", etc. It also creates a ransom note, the "_readme.txt" text file.

Victims of Toec ransomware are offered a free decryption of one file that can be sent to its developers via salesrestoresoftware@firemail.cc or salesrestoresoftware@gmail.com email address. If contacted in the first 72 hours after encryption, they will sell decryption tool and key for $490, after that their price will be $980. Simply said, victims are encouraged to write them an email as soon as possible. As stated in the ransom note, it is impossible to decrypt files without tools that can be provided only by Teoc developers. Unfortunately, it is true: most ransomware-type programs encrypt files with strong algorithms and cyber criminals who designed a particular ransomware are the only ones who have decryption tools. Typically, the only way to avoid data loss without having to pay a ransom is to restore files from a backup. Besides, most cyber criminals cannot be trusted: even if victims pay them, they often do not get anything in return (victims do not receive tools that supposed to decrypt their files). It is worth mentioning that even if ransomware is removed from the system all files remain encrypted. Removing ransomware only prevents it from causing further encryptions.

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

Toec decrypt instructions

Most ransomware-type programs have these two things in common: they are designed to prevent victims from accessing their files by encrypting them and create ransom notes that contain instructions on how to pay a ransom. Here are a couple of examples of other ransomware: Asus, Decrypme and 2Hamlampampom. Typically, the main differences are price of a decryption tool and/or key and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used to lock data. Either way, in most cases it is impossible to decrypt files without tools that only developers of ransomware have. It is possible only if ransomware is not fully developed (has bugs, flaws, and so on). That is why it is important to have data backed up and keep it on a remote server and/or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware is usually proliferated via Trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy software downloads sources, software 'cracking' tools and unofficial updaters. Trojan is a type of malware that, if installed on the system, spreads other software of this kind. Spam campaigns are used to proliferate malicious programs through files that are attached to emails. Once opened, those files install malicious programs. Some examples of files that can be used to spread malware are Microsoft Office documents, executable files (like .exe), archives (RAR, ZIP, and so on) and JavaScript files. Various third party software downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, unofficial websites and other questionable tools often are used to trick people into downloading malicious files. Those files are disguised as regular, legitimate, etc. Once downloaded and opened, they cause installation of some malware. Tools that supposed to activate licensed (paid) software for free can cause installations of ransomware and other malware as well. They simply install it instead of bypassing activation. Fake software updaters infect systems by downloading malicious programs instead of the updates (or fixes), or by exploiting bugs, flaws of some installed software that is out-of-date.

Threat Summary:
Name Toec virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .toec
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $490/$980
Cyber Criminal Contact salesrestoresoftware@firemail.cc, salesrestoresoftware@gmail.com
Detection Names AVG (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32675194), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GXWX), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.fj), 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.
Additional Information This malware is designed to show a fake Windows Update window and modify the Windows "hosts" file to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites (more information below).
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.
Removal

To eliminate Toec 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?

If an email is received from unknown, suspicious address, it is irrelevant and contains some attachment, then we strongly recommend to ignore it (not to open files or links in it). It is always safer to download all files and programs from official, trustworthy websites and  via direct links. Various third party downloaders (and installers), questionable pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), and other similar sources should bot be trusted. Quite often they are used to distribute malicious programs. Moreover, it is important to update software using tools or implemented functions that are provided by official developers only, and not some third party tools. Also, various software 'cracking' programs are illegal and often cause high-risk computer infections. Therefore, they should not be used as well. One more way to keep computers and operating systems safe is to  have a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software installed on them and scan them regularly. If your computer is already infected with Toec, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Toec ransomware's text file ("_readme.txt"):

ATTENTION!

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:
hxxps://we.tl/t-h159DSA7cz
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:
salesrestoresoftware@firemail.cc

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
salesrestoresoftware@gmail.com

Your personal ID:

-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Toec (".toec" extension):

Files encrypted by Toec

Screenshot of fake Windows update pop-up displayed during the encryption:

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Toec during the encryption

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also add a number of entries to the Windows "hosts" file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website (PCrisk.com) is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).

Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

There are currently two versions of Djvu ransomware infections: old and new. The old versions were designed to encrypt data by using a hard-coded "offline key" whenever the infected machine had no internet connection or the server was timing out/not responding. Therefore, some victims were able to decrypt data using a tool developed by cyber security researcher, Michael Gillespie, however, since the encryption mechanism has been slightly changed (hence the new version, released in August, 2019), the decrypter no longer works and it is not supported anymore. If your data has been encrypted by an older version, you might be able to restore it with the another tool developed by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie. It supports a total of 148 Djvu's variants and you can find more information, as well as download link and decryption instructions in Emsisoft's official page.

Screenshot of Djvu decryption tool by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie:

Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie and Emsisoft

Additionally, Emsisoft is now providing a service that allows to decrypt data (again, only if it was encrypted by Djvu variants released before August, 2019) for those victims who have a pair of the same file before and after the encryption. All victims have to do is upload a pair of original and encrypted file to Emsisoft's Djvu decryption page and download the aforementioned decryption tool (the download link will be provided after uploading files). Note that the file processing may take some time so be patient. It is also worth mentioning that the system must have an Internet connection during the entire decryption process, otherwise it will fail.

Screenshot of Emsisoft's Djvu decryption service page:

Djvu ransomware decryption service by Emsisoft

Toec ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Toec 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 Toec 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 Toec 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 Toec 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 Toec 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 Toec 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 Toec, 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 Toec 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, and 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 Toec 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
Toec virus QR code
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