How to uninstall Prometey ransomware from your operating system

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

Prometey ransomware removal instructions

What is Prometey?

Similar to AnteFrigus, Prometey is malicious software classified as ransomware. It operates by encrypting data and demanding payment for decryption. During the encryption process, all affected files are appended with an extension, consisting of a random character string. For example, a filename such as "1.jpg" would be similar to "1.jpg.caacbbcc". After this process is complete, a ransom message with the format "CLICK_HERE-[random_string].txt" (e.g. "CLICK_HERE-caacbbcc.txt") is dropped into every affected folder.

The ransom message within the text files informs victims that their files have been encrypted and, to recover them, contact must be established with the cyber criminals behind the infection. This is to be done via an online chat session. The message instructs users to open the provided link (using any browser). They are then to enter certain information into the website: the IDs assigned to them and personal keys (located in the message) and their email addresses. Should victims be unable to access the site, they are advised to use the Tor browser. If that is not sufficient (i.e., access still cannot be gained), they are instructed to use a VPN. The message ends with warnings that rebooting the system, using third party decryption tools/software, running an antivirus program or uninstalling Prometey malware will result in permanent data loss. Unfortunately, in most cases of ransomware infections, decryption is impossible without the involvement of the criminals responsible, unless the malicious software in question is still in development and/or has bugs/flaws. Whatever the case, you are advised not to communicate with or meet the demands of any cyber criminals. Despite paying, victims do not receive the promised decryption tools/software. Therefore, their data remains encrypted and useless, and they experience significant financial loss. To prevent Prometey from further encryption, it must be removed from the operating system, however, removal will not restore already compromised files. The only solution is to recover them from a backup, if one was made prior to the infection and was stored separately (so as not to have been affected by Prometey).

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

Prometey decrypt instructions (CLICK_HERE-[random_string].txt)

Ransomware is designed to encrypt data and demand ransoms to be paid for decryption. SDfghjklBadutClowns TeamIwanttits, and Onix are some examples of malware within this classification. These malicious programs have two key differences: the cryptographic algorithm they use (symmetric or asymmetric) and the demanded payment size. Ransoms usually range between three and four digit sums (in USD). Cyber criminals tend to prefer digital currencies (mainly, cryptocurrencies), since these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. To protect data integrity, backups should be created and kept on remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices. It is best to store backups in several different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The most common proliferation methods of ransomware and other malware are through trojans, spam campaigns, software "cracking" (activation) tools, fake updaters and untrusted download sources. Trojans are malicious programs designed to cause chain infections (i.e., download/install additional malware). Spam campaigns are used to send thousands of deceptive/scam emails with infectious files attached (or they contain links leading to them). These messages are typically disguised as "official", "important", "urgent" or similar. The dangerous files come in various formats: archive (RAR, ZIP) and executable (.exe, .run) files, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc. When executed, run or otherwise opened, the infection starts. Rather than activating licensed software, illegal activation tools ("cracks") can download/install malware. Rogue updaters infect systems by exploiting flaws of outdated programs or simply installing malware rather than the promised updates. Untrustworthy download channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer malicious software for downloading.

Threat Summary:
Name Prometey virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension Files are appended with a random string of characters.
Ransom Demand Message CLICK_HERE-[random_string].txt
Cyber Criminal Contact Online chat (accessed via link provided in the ransom note)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Ransom.Imps.3), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.OAB), Emsisoft (Gen:Heur.Ransom.Imps.3 (B)), 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 or irrelevant emails, especially files or links present in this type of mail, as this can result in an infection. Use official and verified download sources. The same extends to program activation and updating, which should be done with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters can download/install malware, and should not be used. To ensure device integrity and user safety, it is important to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed. This software must be kept up to date, used to run regular system scans and for the removal of detected threats/issues. If your computer is already infected with Prometey, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Prometey ransomware text file ("CLICK_HERE-[random_string].txt"):

Caution!!!

Your files on this computer have been encrypted due to security issues.

To restore it you should write to the online chat.

To decrypt files follow the instructions below:


1. Open in any browser the link: hxxps://recovery-help.top/online-chat/ .

2. To chat with operator you need to fill the next information on chat page:

 - your ID: -

 - personal key: amhoamlpamooe3Z0aHooODk6PTo7OjgoSkEnPTo2OD0nTmlDNml5RSc=

 - your E-Mail

If you cannot access with a standard browser, then download TOR (hxxps://www.torproject.org)

 - Use VPN if you cannot open the website. And follow the link:

 hxxp://i6jppiczqa5moqfl57gssi33npwfseqppdsnz7rriiv7suf4pf4w42id.onion

Attention!

Do not try to reload your PC.

Do not try to recover information using third party software.

Do not attempt to use antivirus.

Do not try to uninstall programs.

All these actions will lead to data loss and unrecoverable.

Screenshots of the online chat for contacting the cyber criminals behind Prometey ransomware:

Prometey ransomware chat 1 Prometey ransomware chat 2

Screenshot of files encrypted by Prometey (extension consisting of a random string):

Files encrypted by Prometey ransomware  (random string extension)

Update 1 April 2020 - Criminals have recently released an updated variant of Prometey ransomware. The appended file extension is an identical random string, however, the ransom message (text file) and message within the Tor website differ.

Screenshot of the updated Prometey ransomware ransom message ("ATTENTION-[random_string]-README.txt"):

Updated Prometey ransom note

Text presented within this file:

Sorry, but your files are locked due to a critical error in your system. If you yourself want to decrypt the files - you will lose them FOREVER.

You have to pay BITCOINS to get your file decoder. DO NOT TAKE TIME, you have SEVERAL DAYS to pay, otherwise the cost of the decoder will double. How to do it is written below.

If you cannot do it yourself, then search the Internet for file recovery services in your country or city.

Go to the page through the browser: hxxp://restore-now.top/online-chat/

If your site does not open, then download the TOR browser (hxxps://torproject.org/). If you can’t access the download page of the TOR browser, then download the VPN!

After you install the TOR browser on your computer go to the site: hxxp://i6jppiczqa5moqfl57gssi33npwfseqppdsnz7rriiv7suf4pf4w42id.onion

After going to the site, enter the information:

Your ID: -

Personal key: -

Your Email

Appearance of the updated Prometey website:

Updated Prometey ransomware website

Message from the operator:

Due to a critical system error, all of your files are encrypted. To decrypt all the files on your computer you have to pay 0.15 Bitcoins. If you do not know how to do this, look for file recovery services on the Internet, they will help you. For proof, we can decrypt 1 image file for free. To receive the decoder, send 0.15 Bitcoins to our wallet: 1DVnM4Bz5fPwNi64o1du4vmJTK687HChzC
After sending the money, write to our operator in the chat and he will give you a decoder for your PC. The chat operator may respond in a delay, have patience. Have a nice day.

Prometey 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 Prometey 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 Prometey 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 Prometey 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 Prometey 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 Prometey, 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 Prometey 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 Prometey 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
Prometey 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 Prometey virus on your mobile device.
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