How to prevent data loss caused by Peet ransomware

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

Peet ransomware removal instructions

What is Peet?

Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Peet is malicious software that is classified as ransomware. This malware is a part of the Djvu ransomware family. Like most programs of this type, Peet is designed to encrypt victims' files and keep them inaccessible unless they are recovered with decryption software and a key. To obtain these, victims are required to pay ransoms to cyber criminals (Peet's developers). Furthermore, Peet adds the ".peet" extension to the filename of each encrypted file. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.peet". Instructions about how to decrypt files and pay the ransom are provided within the "_readme.txt" text file, which can be found in each folder that contains encrypted data.

Peet encrypts all files (including photos, databases, documents, and so on) with a strong encryption algorithm. The "_readme.txt" ransom message states that the only way to recover files is using a decryption tool and unique key, which can be purchased from the cyber criminals who developed Peet. The regular cost is $980, however, if contacted within 72 hours of encryption, cyber criminals supposedly offer a 50% discount (thus the cost is reduced to $490). To get further instructions about how to pay the ransom, victims must contact them by sending an email to gorentos@bitmessage.ch or gerentoshelp@firemail.ccThe message can contain one encrypted file, which Peet's developers offer to decrypt free of charge. Typically, ransomware-type programs encrypt data using strong algorithms, and thus it is virtually impossible to decrypt files without the correct tools/keys. Unfortunately, only the cyber criminals who designed the ransomware can help victims to decrypt their files. Despite this, you are advised not to pay any ransom, since there is a high probability that you will be scammed. In summary, cyber criminals often do not send decryption tools even if victims meet all of their demands. The only free and safe way to recover files is to restore them from backup. Data remains encrypted even if ransomware is uninstalled, however, this will prevent the ransomware from causing further encryption.

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

Peet decrypt instructions

Peet is similar to other malware of this type including, for example, Mespinoza, Sun, and Kr. It is generally designed to encrypt victims' data and provide instructions about how to pay the ransom/purchase a decryption tool. These programs might differ in terms of cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to encrypt files and cost of decryption. Decryption without the involvement of the cyber criminals who designed the ransomware is impossible, unless it is still in development, has bugs/flaws, etc. To avoid data data loss, have your data backed up and store it on a remote server (such as Cloud) or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Popular ways to proliferate malware are via spam campaigns, fake software updating tools, dubious download sources, Trojans and unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools. Spam campaigns are used to spread malicious programs through attachments that cyber criminals send via email. Usually they attach files such as Microsoft Office or PDF documents, JavaScript files, executable files such as .exe, archive files such as ZIP, RAR, and so on. If opened, the attachments infect systems with malware. Fake software updating tools cause damage when they exploit bugs/flaws of outdated software installed on the computer, or when they install malicious software rather than updates. Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, freeware download or free file hosting pages, third party downloaders, unofficial websites, etc., often contain malicious files disguised as legitimate. Cyber criminals use these download sources to trick people into downloading malicious files that, if executed/opened, install malicious software. Trojans (malicious programs) proliferate other programs of this kind. In summary, if a Trojan is installed on the system, it is very likely that it will cause installation of ransomware or other high-risk malware. If used to bypass paid activation of licensed software, software 'cracking' tools can also infect systems, since cyber criminals design them to install malware.

Threat Summary:
Name Peet virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .peet
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact restorefiles@firemail.cc, gorentos@bitmessage.ch
Detection Names Arcabit (Trojan.Mikey.D19AB0), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Mikey.105136), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GYGT), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.fx), 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)

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Irrelevant emails that contain attachments and are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be trusted, and their contents (attachments or web links) should not be opened. Installed software should be updated using implemented functions or tools designed by official developers, and not third party tools. It is not safe to download software or files from untrustworthy, unofficial websites, using third party downloaders, the other sources mentioned above. This should be done using only official websites and direct links. No software should be activated using 'cracking' (unofficial activation) tools - they are illegal and can be designed to cause installation of malware. Regularly scan the operating system with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus suite and eliminate any detected threats immediately. If your computer is already infected with Peet, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Peet 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-7YSRbcuaMa
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:
restorefiles@firemail.cc

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
gorentos@bitmessage.ch

Your personal ID:

-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Peet (".peet" extension):

Files encrypted by Peet

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

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Peet 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 is no longer 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 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 to decrypt data (again, only if it was encrypted by Djvu variants released before August, 2019) for those victims who have copies of files before and after the encryption. Victims simply 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 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

Peet 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 Peet 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 Peet 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 Peet 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 Peet 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 Peet, 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 Peet 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 Peet 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
Peet 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 Peet virus on your mobile device.
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