How to uninstall Pysa ransomware from the system

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

Pysa ransomware removal instructions

What is Pysa?

Pysa is a new variant of Mespinoza ransomware, which encrypts files and appends the ".pysa" extension to filenames. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.pysa", and so on. It also creates a text file named "Readme.README.txt" containing a ransom message with instructions about how to recover files. Like most programs of this type, Pysa encrypts files with a strong encryption algorithm. Therefore, victims cannot regain access to their files unless they decrypt them with a specific decryption tool and/or key.

To restore access to data, victims are urged to contact Pysa's developers via the aireyeric@protonmail.com or ellershaw.kiley@protonmail.com email address. The cyber criminals then send instructions about how to pay the ransom. Victims are permitted to send two encrypted files, which the criminals offer to decrypt free of charge. Typically, cyber criminals offer this test decryption as 'proof' that they have tools that can decrypt compromised files. Note that only the cyber criminals who developed the ransomware (in this case, Pysa) have valid tools. Regardless, they cannot be trusted - people who trust cyber criminals and pay ransoms are often scammed. They do not receive decryption tools/keys as they were promised. Typically, the only free and safe way to recover files is to restore them from a backup. Note that even if ransomware is uninstalled from the operating system, all files remain encrypted. Removal simply prevents it from causing further encryption.

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

Pysa decrypt instructions (Readme.README.txt)

Pysa is just one of many ransomware-type programs. Some other examples are Bobelectron, Nbes and DMR64. Typically, they are designed to prevent victims from accessing their data by encryption with a strong cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) and create and/or display a ransom message. Generally only the cyber criminals have tools that can decrypt files encrypted by their ransomware. Therefore, it is impossible decrypt files, unless the ransomware is not finished (contains bugs, flaws, and so on). To avoid data and financial loss caused by programs of this type, have data backed up and keep it on a remote server (such as Cloud) and/or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, ransomware and other types of malware is distributed through spam campaigns, dubious file or software download sources, Trojans, fake (unofficial) software updating and activation tools. Cyber criminals often send emails with malicious files or web links within them. Their main goal is to trick recipients into opening the attached/downloaded file - it then installs ransomware or other malware. Some examples of files that cyber criminals attach to their emails are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, archives such as ZIP, RAR and executable files (.exe). To proliferate malicious software through untrustworthy software or file download channels, cyber criminals upload malicious files and hope that someone will download and open (execute) them. Once opened, the files infect systems with malware. Examples of channels used to proliferate this software include unofficial websites, freeware download and free file hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., eMule, torrent clients), third party downloaders, etc. Trojans are malicious programs that often cause chain infections. Therefore, if a computer is infected with a Trojan, it is likely to install additional malware such as ransomware. Fake, unofficial software updating tools often infect systems by downloading and installing malware (rather than updating or fixing installed programs), or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the operating system. Unofficial activation tools are also used to distribute malware. People who try to avoid having to pay for activation of licensed/paid software using such tools often cause installation of malware.

Threat Summary:
Name Pysa virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .pysa
Ransom Demanding Message Readme.README.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact aireyeric@protonmail.com, ellershaw.kiley@protonmail.com, minginskilian@protonmail.com, schofield_niko@protonmail.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Ransom.Dee.1), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.NYO), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Zudochka.dtr), 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.
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.
Removal

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Do not download or install software through third party downloaders, installers or the other dubious channels mentioned above. Use official and trustworthy websites, and direct download links. Installed software or operating system should be updated using implemented functions and/or tools that are designed by official software developers. Attachments or web links in irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened. Cyber criminals often disguise their emails and attachments as important, official, and so on. Do not activate software or operating systems through 'cracking'/unofficial activation tools. This is illegal and they often lead to installation of malware. Regularly scan the operating system for threats with reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software and ensure that it is up to date. If your computer is already infected with Pysa, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Pysa ransomware text file ("Readme.README.txt"):

Hi Company,

Every byte on any types of your devices was encrypted.
Don't try to use backups because it were encrypted too.

To get all your data back contact us:

raingemaximo@protonmail.com
gareth.mckie3l@protonmail.com
aireyeric@protonmail.com
ellershaw.kiley@protonmail.com
--------------

FAQ:

1.
   Q: How can I make sure you don't fooling me?
   A: You can send us 2 files(max 2mb).

2.
   Q: What to do to get all data back?
   A: Don't restart the computer, don't move files and write us.

3.
   Q: What to tell my boss?
   A: Protect Your System Amigo.

Screenshot of files encrypted by Pysa (".pysa" extension):

Files encrypted by Pysa ransomware (.pysa extension)

Update March 19, 2020 - It has been observed that Pysa ransomware was primarily used to target large companies; however, recently it has begun targeting networks of local government authorities (notably, France). It is still unclear exactly how this malware is infecting its victims. The evidence left behind suggests several potential scenarios, more information on which can be found in an article by Catalin Cimpanu on zdnet.com.

Pysa ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: 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 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 Pysa 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 Pysa 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 Pysa 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 Pysa 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 Pysa, 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 Pysa 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 Pysa 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Pysa 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 Pysa virus on your mobile device.
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