How to remove Fob ransomware from a computer?

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

Fob ransomware removal instructions

What is Fob?

Fob is variant of WannaScream ransomware, this variant was discovered by Michael Gillespie. Fob encrypts victim's files, modifies their filenames, creates and displays a ransom note. It renames encrypted files by adding victim's ID and decrypt25@protonmail.com email address and appending the ".Fob" extension to their filenames. For example, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.[1E857D00[decrypt25@protonmail.com].Fob", "2.jpg" to "2.jpg.[1E857D00[ decrypt25@protonmail.com].Fob", etc. It launches one a ransom note from the created "info.hta" file and creates another note in a text file named "ReadMe.txt".

Cyber criminals behind this ransomware claim that victims cannot decrypt encrypted files without a tool that can be purchased only from them. To get instructions on how to pay for it victims supposed to write an email to decrypt52@protonmail.com or decrypt25@protonmail.com, or write to @Book545 on Telegram. It is stated that price of that tool depends on how fast victims will contact them. Also, before making a transaction victims can send up to 5 files for a free decryption. Victims are warned not to rename any of the encrypted files or try to decrypt them with some third party software because it may damage files (cause permanent data loss). Unfortunately, there are no free tools that could decrypt files encrypted by Fob, at least not at the moment. However, it is not recommended to trust cyber criminals (pay them a ransom), it is very likely that they will not send any decryption software even after a payment. Typically, in cases of ransomware attack the only way to recover files for free is to restore them from a backup. It is worthwhile to mention that unencrypted files can be prevented from being encrypted by uninstalling ransomware from the operating system. Although, encrypted files remain inaccessible/unusable even after its uninstallation.

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

Fob decrypt instructions (info.hta)

To sum up, malicious programs like Fob are designed to encrypt files and keeps them inaccessible unless victims decrypt them with a decryption tool and/or key that can be purchased from cyber criminals who designed that malware. As a rule, two main and most common variables are size of a ransom and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to encrypt victim's files. Here are examples other ransomware: Moba, Pykw and Chinz. Usually, it is possible to decrypt data without decryption tools that can be purchased only from cyber criminals when ransomware contains some bugs, flaws, it is not finished. Nevertheless, it does not happen often and data loss caused by ransomware can be avoided only by restoring files from an existing backup. Therefore, it is recommended to always have data backed up and store it on a remote server (like Cloud) and/or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

One of the most common ways to distribute malware is by using spam campaigns. To be more precise, by sending emails that have some malicious file attached to them. When opened/executed, that attachment installs ransomware or other high-risk malware. Some examples of files that cyber criminals attach to their emails are malicious Microsoft Office, PDF documents, archive files like RAR, ZIP, executable files (like .exe) and JavaScript. It is worthwhile to mention that such emails may contain links designed to open download websites for malicious files. Another way to get a computer infected with malware is through malicious programs called Trojans. Although, it can happen only when a computers is already infected with them. Trojans are programs that often are designed cause chain infections - install some other malicious software. Unreliable software download channels like unofficial websites, freeware download websites, free file hosting pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule and), third party downloaders, etc., can be used to proliferate malicious programs too. When users open malicious files that were downloaded through such channels, they cause installation of malicious software. Fake software updaters infect computers by installing malware instead of updates, or by exploiting bugs, flaws of outdated software that is installed on victims computer. Software 'cracking' tools (unofficial activators) are programs that supposed to illegally bypass activation of licensed software or operating systems. However, instead of activating such software for free they often infect systems with malware.

Threat Summary:
Name Fob virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .Fob
Ransom Demanding Message info.hta, ReadMe.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact decrypt25@protonmail.com, decrypt52@protonmail.com, @Book545 on Telegram
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Ransom.Imps.3), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Filecoder.LK), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Ransom.MSIL.Encoder.gen), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Antivirus (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.
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?

It is recommended to ignore irrelevant emails that contain attachments or web links, especially if such emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. As a rule, such emails are disguised as important, official, sent from legitimate companies, organizations. Also, it is recommended to not to download (or install) software through third party downloaders (or installers), or any other tools of this kind (examples are mentioned in the previous paragraph). All software (and files should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct links. Installed software must be activated and/or updated only with tools or implemented functions that are provided by official software developers. Other (unofficial, third party) tools should never be used for that. It is worthwhile to mention that it is not legal to activate licensed programs with various 'cracking' tools. Additionally, it recommended to have a reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed on the operating system and scan it for threats regularly. If your computer is already infected with Fob, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Fob ransomware's pop-up window ("info.hta"):

All your files have been encrypted by Wanna Scream!
due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail decrypt52@protonmail.com
Write this ID in the title of your message:-
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to this e-mail:decrypt25@protonmail.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 Fob's text file ("ReadMe.txt"):

Fob ransomware text file (ReadMe.txt)

Text in this file:

[+] All Your Files Have Been Encrypted [+]
[-] Do You Really Want To Restore Your Files?
[+] Write Us To The E-Mail : decrypt25@protonmail.com
[+] Write Us To The ID-Telegram : @Book545
[+] If you did not get any response until 24 hours later,Write to this E-Mail : decrypt52@protonmail.com
[-] Write Your Unique-ID In The Title Of Your Message.
[+] Unique-ID : -

Screenshot of files encrypted by Fob (".Fob" extension):

Files encrypted by Fob ransomware (.Fob extension)

Fob running in Task Manager as "Antivirus" (its process name may vary):

fob malicious antivirus process in task manager

Fob 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 Fob 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 Fob 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 Fob 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 Fob 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 Fob, 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 Fob 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 Fob 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
Fob 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 Fob virus on your mobile device.
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