How to remove Bablo ransomware from operating systems

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

Bablo ransomware removal instructions

What is Bablo?

Part of the Phobos malware family, Bablo is a malicious program classified as ransomware. It operates by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments for decryption. During the encryption process, files are renamed with a unique ID, the developer's email address and the ".bablo" extension. For example, "1.jpg" might appear similar to "1.jpg.id[1E857D00-2569].[symetrikk@protonmail.com].bablo", and so on for all affected files. After this process is complete, two files ("info.hta" and "info.txt") are created on the desktop. Both contain ransom messages.

The text message ("info.txt") states that all files have been encrypted. To receive instructions about how to decrypt them, users must send a message to the developers of Bablo ransomware via the email address provided. The pop-up window ("info.hta") presents victims with a more detailed ransom message. It clarifies that, to recover encrypted files, decryption software/tools must be purchased from the cyber criminals behind the infection. The message informs users that the ransom must be paid in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency (there are also links to sites detailing how and from where Bitcoins can be obtained). The cost of the tools necessary for recovery is not mentioned. This will depend on how quickly victims establish contact with the developers. Users' messages must include their unique IDs (detailed in "info.hta" and within the filenames of compromised files). If no response from the criminals is received within 24 hours, the alternative email address can be used. Up to five files can be sent to test decryption. The total size of these files cannot exceed 4 MB (non-archived) and they must not contain valuable information (e.g. databases, backups, large excel sheets, etc.). The message warns that renaming the encrypted files and/or attempting to decrypt them with third party software can result in permanent data loss. Unfortunately, in most cases of ransomware infections, decryption is impossible without the involvement of the malware developers, unless the malicious program is still in development and/or has bugs/flaws. Whatever the case, do not communicate with and/or meet the ransom demands of cyber criminals. People who pay receive none of the promised decryption software/tools. Therefore, their data remains useless and they experience significant financial loss. To prevent Bablo from further encryption, it must be removed from the operating system, however, removal will not restore already affected data. The only viable solution is to recover files from a backup, if one was made prior to the infection and was stored separately.

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

Bablo decrypt instructions (info.hta)

SnakeDevon, and Erica Encoder are examples of other ransomware programs. All malicious software in this class encrypts files and demands payment for decryption tools. Crucial differences between infections include the cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used for encryption and ransom size. Cyber criminals prefer digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies), since these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. To ensure data safety, keep backups on unplugged storage devices and/or remote servers. It is best to store multiple backups in several different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware mainly proliferates via spam campaigns, trojans, illegal activation tools ("cracks"), fake updaters and untrustworthy download sources. Mass scale spam campaigns are used to send deceptive emails with dangerous files attached (or containing links leading to them). Infectious attachments come in various formats (e.g. archive and executable files, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript and so on). When they are opened, the infection process starts and they begin downloading/installing malware. Trojans are malicious programs designed to cause chain infections. Rather than activating licensed products, illegal activation ("cracking") tools can download/install malicious software. Fraudulent updaters cause infections by exploiting flaws of outdated programs and/or simply by installing malware rather than the promised updates. Untrustworthy download channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders offer malicious content for downloading (e.g. presented as legitimate software and/or bundled with it).

Threat Summary:
Name Bablo virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .bablo (files are also appended with a unique ID and the developer's email address).
Ransom Demanding Message info.hta and info.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact symetrikk@protonmail.com and symetrikk@aol.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransom.Phobos.F), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Filecoder.Phobos.C), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), 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.
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

Do not open suspect and/or irrelevant emails, especially those received from unknown senders. Any files attached to/linked within dubious messages must never be opened - doing so can lead to high-risk infection. Use official and verified download sources. Programs should be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters can download/install malware, and should not be used. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. This software should be used for regular system scans and removal of potential/detected threats. If your computer is already infected with Bablo, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Bablo ransomware pop-up window ("info.hta"):

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail symetrikk@protonmail.com
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00-2569
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to this e-mail:symetrikk@aol.com
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 5 files for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 4Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
How to obtain Bitcoins
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click 'Buy bitcoins', and select the seller by payment method and price.
hxxps://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
hxxp://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins/
Attention!
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Screenshot of Bablo text file ("info.txt"):

Bablo ransomware text file (info.txt)

Text presented in this file:

!!!All of your files are encrypted!!!
To decrypt them send e-mail to this address: symetrikk@protonmail.com.
If we don't answer in 24h., send e-mail to this address: symetrikk@aol.com 

Screenshot of files encrypted by Bablo (".bablo" extension):

Files encrypted by Bablo ransomware (.bablo extension)

Bablo 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 Bablo 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 Bablo 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 Bablo 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 Bablo 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 Bablo, 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 Bablo 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 Bablo 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
Bablo 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 Bablo virus on your mobile device.
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