How to remove Toec ransomware from your computer

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

Toec ransomware removal instructions

What is Toec?

Toec is ransomware that belongs to the Djvu ransomware family. Typically, people who have computers infected with malware like Toec cannot access or use their files, since these programs encrypt data with strong encryption algorithms. In most cases, the only way to decrypt files is to use decryption tools and/or keys, which can only be purchased from the cyber criminals who designed the ransomware. Therefore, victims are forced to pay ransoms. Toec renames encrypted files by appending the ".toec" extension. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.toec". It also creates a ransom message within the "_readme.txt" text file.

Victims of Toec ransomware are offered free decryption of one file, which can be sent to developers via the salesrestoresoftware@firemail.cc or salesrestoresoftware@gmail.com email address. If contacted within the first 72 hours of encryption, they offer the decryption tool and key at $490. After this, the cost increases to $980. Therefore, victims are encouraged to send an email immediately. The ransom message states that it is impossible to decrypt files without tools that can be provided only by Teoc developers. Unfortunately, this is accurate - most ransomware-type programs encrypt files with strong algorithms, and only the cyber criminals who designed the specific ransomware have valid decryption tools. Typically, the only way to avoid data loss without having to pay a ransom is to restore files from a backup. Note that cyber criminals can never be trusted. Even if victims pay, they often receive no tools to decrypt their files. Even if ransomware is removed from the system, all files remain encrypted - removing ransomware only prevents further encryption.

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

Toec decrypt instructions

Most ransomware-type programs prevent victims from accessing their files by encryption and create ransom messages that contain instructions about how to pay the ransom. Some examples of other ransomware programs include Asus, Decrypme, and 2Hamlampampom. Main differences are cost of decryption tool and/or key and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to lock data. In most cases it is impossible to decrypt files without tools held only by the developers of ransomware, unless the ransomware is not fully developed (has bugs, flaws, and so on). Therefore, have your 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, proliferates other software of this kind. Spam campaigns are used to proliferate malicious programs through files that are attached to emails. Once opened, the files install malicious programs. Some examples of files that can be used to proliferate malware include Microsoft Office documents, executable files (.exe), archives (RAR, ZIP, and so on) and JavaScript files. Various third party software downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, unofficial websites and other dubious tools are used to trick people into downloading malicious files. The files are disguised as regular, legitimate, etc. Once downloaded and opened, however, they cause installation of malware. Tools that supposedly activate licensed (paid) software free of charge can cause installation of ransomware and other malware. They install this rogue software rather than bypassing activation. Fake software updaters infect systems by downloading malicious programs rather than the updates or fixes, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of 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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

If an email is received from an unknown, suspicious address, is irrelevant and contains an attachment, ignore it  and do not open files or links included. It is safer to download all files and programs from official, trustworthy websites and via direct links. Various third party downloaders (and installers), dubious pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule), and other similar sources should not be trusted. They are often used to distribute malicious programs. Furthermore, update software using tools or implemented functions provided by official developers. Do not use third party tools. Note that software 'cracking' programs are illegal and often cause high-risk computer infections. Do not use them. Keep computers and operating systems safe by having reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software installed. Scan the system with it regularly. If your computer is already infected with Toec, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Toec ransomware 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. 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 variants and you can find more information, as well as download link and decryption instructions on the Emsisoft's official web 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 data decryption (again, only if it was encrypted by Djvu variants released before August, 2019) for those victims who have versions of files before and after encryption. Victims simply upload the original and encrypted file to Emsisoft's Djvu decryption web page and download the aforementioned decryption tool (the download link will be provided after uploading files). Note that file processing may take some time, so be patient. Note that the system must have an internet connection during the entire decryption process, otherwise it will fail.

Screenshot of Emsisoft Djvu decryption service page:

Djvu ransomware decryption service by Emsisoft

Toec 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 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Toec 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 Toec virus on your mobile device.
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