ProLock ransomware removal instructions
What is ProLock?
ProLock is a rebranded version of PwndLocker ransomware, it was discovered by PeterM. This ransomware encrypts files with RSA-2048 algorithm, modifies their filenames and creates a ransom note. ProLock appends the ".proLock" extension to filenames of all encrypted files. Research shows that it appends this extension several times, which might mean that it encrypts files several times as well. It creates ransom notes named "[HOW TO RECOVER FILES].txt", victims can find them in folders that contain encrypted data.
As stated in a ransom notes that ProLock creates, victims can get their files back by paying a ransom. Instructions on how to pay it are provided in a Tor website, link to that page can be found in every "[HOW TO RECOVER FILES].txt" text file. This Tor page contains a Bitcoin wallet address that should be used to transfer ProLock's developers cryptocurrency. At the time of the research price of a decryption was 60 BTCs. However, every victim may be asked to pay a different amount of Bitcoins. Either way, it is made clear that decryption without a payment is impossible. Also, victims are warned not to try to modify files or decrypt them with third party software because it may cause permanent data loss. ProLock's developers encourage to pay a ransom as soon as possible because decryption keys will be stored on some remote server only for one month. They claim that they gathered some sensitive information as well and threaten to share it if victims will not pay a ransom. It is common that cyber criminals who designed a particular ransomware are the only ones who have the right decryption tools. The problem is that most of them do not send those tools even if they get paid. In other words, by paying a ransom victims lose not only data but also money. Therefore, neither these or other cyber criminals should be paid. Unfortunately, there is no way to decrypt files for free/without tools that only ProLock's developers have, at least not at the moment. In such cases files can be recovered by restoring them from a backup. It is worthwhile to mention that by uninstalling ransomware victims prevent it from causing further data loss (encryptions). However, it does not make encrypted files accessible (files remain encrypted).
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
As a rule, programs like ProLock are designed to encrypt files and keep them inaccessible unless victims decrypt them with tools that can be purchased from their developers. In most cases there are two main variables: size of a ransom and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware is using to encrypt data. Here are examples of couple of other ransomware-type programs: Gate, LX and Tongda2000. Unfortunately, it is possible to decrypt files without having to pay a ransom only in cases when ransomware contains some bugs, flaws (it is not finished). Since data loss caused by ransomware can be avoided by restoring files from a backup, it is recommended to always have one (or more) created and keep it on some remote server or unplugged storage device.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.proLock|
|Ransom Demanding Message||[HOW TO RECOVER FILES].txt|
|Ransom Amount||At the time of the research it was 60 Bitcoins. However, size or a ransom may vary|
|BTC Wallet Address||1LVLHAs4Vq9Yt9nHvvrgw9djtA7BiR8sKM|
|Cyber Criminal Contactemail@example.com|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:Evo-gen [Susp]), BitDefender (Trojan.Peed.Gen), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.PwndLocker.A), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.D!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Rogue Process Name||NAS_0.EXE (its name may vary)|
|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||A ransom supposed to be paid through a Tor website|
|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.|
To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
Installed programs must be updated and activated through implemented functions and/or tools that are provided by official developers. Third party, unofficial tools can be designed to distribute malicious software. Also, it is not legal to activate licensed programs with unofficial activation ('cracking') tools. Attachments (and web links) in irrelevant emails that are received from suspicious, unknown addresses should not be opened. There is a high possibility that they may be send by cyber criminals. Therefore, email contents should be opened only when there is no reason to think that it may cause damage. All files should be downloaded from official ant trustworthy websites, and via direct links. Other tools can be and often are used to proliferate malicious software (examples of untrustworthy channels are provided in the previous paragraph). One more important thing is to regularly scan the operating system for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and remove detected threats as soon as possible. Also, it is recommended to keep software of this type up-do-date. If your computer is already infected with ProLock, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in ProLock ransomware's text file ("[HOW TO RECOVER FILES].txt"):
Your files have been encrypted by ProLock Ransomware using RSA-2048 algorithm.
[.:Nothing personal just business:.]
No one can help you to restore files without our special decryption tool.
To get your files back you have to pay the decryption fee in BTC.
The final price depends on how fast you write to us.
1. Download TOR browser: hxxps://www.torproject.org/
2. Install the TOR Browser.
3. Open the TOR Browser.
4. Open our website in the TOR browser: msaoyrayohnp32tcgwcanhjouetb5k54aekgnwg7dcvtgtecpumrxpqd.onion
5. Login using your ID -
***If you have any problems connecting or using TOR network:
contact our support by email firstname.lastname@example.org
[You'll receive instructions and price inside]
The decryption keys will be stored for 1 month.
We also have gathered your sensitive data.
We would share it in case you refuse to pay.
Decryption using third party software is impossible.
Attempts to self-decrypting files will result in the loss of your data.
ProLock's Tor website (GIF):
Text in this page:
Hello, you are a victim of ProLock ransomware.
Your files have been encrypted using RSA2048 algorithm.
This algorithm is one of the strongest, it is impossible to decrypt files without known key.
As you understand, situation is very important.
You can decrypt 1-2 files for free as a proof of work.
We know that this computer is very valuable for you.
So we will give you appropriate price for recovering.
DON'T try to change files by yourself, DON'T use any third party software for restoring your data or antivirus solutions - these actions may entail damage of the private key and, as result, the loss of all your data.
All your sensitive data was downloaded on remote servers. If you do not pay in several days all these sensitive files will be published in social networks and public media.
To get your files unlocked, pay.
If you want to make test unlock, contact support.
Send 60 BTC (in ONE payment) to:
don't include transaction fee in this amount
Available once every 12 hours
Screenshot of files encrypted by ProLock (".proLock" extension):
ProLock 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:
- What is ProLock?
- STEP 1. ProLock virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. ProLock ransomware removal using System Restore.
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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the ProLock 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.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
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 ProLock ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining ProLock 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 ProLock 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.
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 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 ProLock 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.
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:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- 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 ProLock ransomware: