How to prevent data loss caused by Peet ransomware?

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

Peet ransomware removal instructions

What is Peet?

Peet was discovered by Michael Gillespie, it is a malicious software that is classified as ransomware. This malware is a part of Djvu ransomware family. Like most programs of this type, Peet is designed to encrypt victim's files and keep them inaccessible unless they are decrypted with a decryption software and key. In order to get them it is required to pay cyber criminals (Peet's developers) a ransom. Also, Peet adds the ".peet" extension to a filename of every encrypted file, for example, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.peet", and so forth. Instructions on how to decrypt files/pay a ransom are provided in the "_readme.txt" text file which can be found in every folder that contains encrypted data.

Peet encrypts all files (including photos, databases, documents, and so on) with a strong encryption algorithm. As stated in the "_readme.txt" ransom note, the only way to recover files is by using a decryption tool and unique key that can be purchased from cyber criminals who developed Peet. Their regular price is $980, however, if contacted in 72 hours after encryption, cyber criminals supposed to sell them with a 50% discount (for $490). To get further instructions on how to pay a ransom victims have to contact them by writing an email to gorentos@bitmessage.ch or gerentoshelp@firemail.cc. It can contain one encrypted file as well, Peet's developers offer to decrypt it for free. Typically, ransomware-type programs encrypt data using strong algorithms, which means it is impossible (or almost impossible) to decrypt it without the right tool and/or key. Unfortunately, most of the times cyber criminals who designed ransomware are the only ones who can help victims to decrypt their files. Another problem is that it is not recommended to pay them a ransom, there is a high possibility to get scammed. Simply said, cyber criminals often do not send decryption tools even if victims meet all their demands. Typically, the only free and safe way to recover files is to restore them from a created data backup. It is worth mentioning that data remains encrypted even if ransomware is uninstalled. However, it is necessary to uninstall it anyway, uninstalling ransomware from the operating system prevents it from causing further encryptions.

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, for example, Mespinoza, Sun and Kr. As a rule, it is designed to encrypt victim's data and provide instructions on how to pay a ransom/purchase a decryption tool. What makes programs of this type different is the cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used to encrypt files and price of a decryption. Usually decryption without interference of cyber criminals who designed ransomware is impossible, unless ransomware is still in a development state, has bugs, flaws, etc. In order to avoid data data loss it is recommended to always have data backed up and store it on a remote server (like Cloud) or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Most popular ways to spread various malware is to use spam campaigns, fake software updating tools, unreliable 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 like .exe, archive files like ZIP, RAR, and so on. If opened, those attachments infect systems with malware. Fake software updating tools cause damage when they exploit flaws, bugs of outdated software (that is installed on a computer) or install malicious software instead of updates. Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, freeware download or free file hosting pages, third party downloaders, unofficial websites, etc., often contain malicious files that are disguised as legitimate. Cyber criminals use such download sources to trick people into downloading malicious files that, if executed/opened, install malicious software. Trojans (malicious programs) are designed to spread other programs of this kind. Simply said, if there is Trojan installed on a system, then it is very likely that it will cause installation of ransomware or other high-risk malware. Software 'cracking' tools, if used to bypass paid activation of licensed software, might infect systems as well. Quite often cyber criminals design them to install various 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.
Removal

To eliminate Peet virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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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?

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

Text presented in Peet 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-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 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

Peet ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Peet 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 Peet 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 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 virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

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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