How to uninstall the SSHBOT screenlocker

Also Known As: SSHBot/P4YME Screenlocker
Damage level: Severe

What is SSHBOT?

Discovered by Karsten Hahn, SSHBOT (also known as P4YME) is a screenlocker - malware that locks computers. The main purpose of SSHBOT is to ensure that victims are unable to access the Windows desktop or use installed programs, files, etc., unless they pay a ransom to the cyber criminals responsible.

The pop-up window (ransom message) displayed by SSHBOT states that the computer is locked and can only be unlocked with a password costing the equivalent of €75. It is stated that victims have 30 minutes to contact the cyber criminals behind this screenlocker via a Telegram account (@perry44) and purchase the password.

After this time, the Windows Operating System will be deleted. You are advised not to contact SSHBOT's developers and, more importantly, not to pay any ransom. Cyber criminals commonly cease cooperating as soon as they are paid.

In summary, victims who trust them and pay the ransom are scammed - they do not receive any tools (passwords in cases such as this) that will supposedly help them to restore access to operating systems, files, etc. The SSHBOT screenlocker can be uninstalled by following the steps described below.

Note that another way to avoid data loss caused by malware is to restore files from a backup.

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

SSHBOT decrypt instructions (on the locked screen)

More examples of other malware similar to SSHBOT and designed to lock screens are ComputerDestroyer, Rubly and StalinLocker. Usually, software of this type is used to extort money from victims. Note that, in most cases, screenlockers do not use encryption algorithms, as is the case with ransomware (screenlockers function as non-encrypting malware).

How did screenlocker infect my computer?

SSHBOT is likely to be distributed through malspam campaigns, Trojans, fake software updaters, untrusted software, file download channels and unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools. Using malspam campaigns to proliferate malware, criminals send emails that contain malicious attachments or website links.

Typically, they attach a malicious Microsoft Office document, archive file such as ZIP, RAR, PDF document, executable file (such as .exe) or JavaScript file and wait until recipients open and execute it. These files then install malware. Trojans can cause damage only when they are already installed on the operating system.

They are malicious programs that can cause chain infections by installing other programs of this kind. Fake software updaters infect computers by installing malicious programs rather than fixes/updates for installed software, or by exploiting bugs or flaws of installed and outdated software.

Free file hosting and freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, third party downloaders, etc., are examples of dubious file/software download sources. They are often used to distribute malware, which is installed when users download and open malicious files promoted through them.

Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools are illegal programs that supposedly activate licensed software free of charge (bypass activation), however, these tools simply install malware instead.

Threat Summary:
Name SSHBot/P4YME Screenlocker
Threat Type Screenlocker
Ransom Demand Message Pop-up window.
Ransom Amount €75
Cyber Criminal Contact @perry44 on Telegram
Detection Names Avast (Win64:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.34363800), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/LockScreen.AHO), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.Shutdowner.gen), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal).
Symptoms Restricted access to operating system, files. A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand payment of a ransom to unlock your files.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
Damage Computer is locked and cannot be used without paying a ransom. Additional password-stealing Trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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How to protect yourself from malware infections

Software and files should never be downloaded from unofficial pages or through other channels such as third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), and freeware download pages. Third party installers should not be used to install software.

The safest way to download files and programs is to use official websites and direct links. Attachments and website links in irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially if the emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. Installed software must be updated and activated with tools and functions that are provided by official developers.

Third party activation and updating tools often install malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to use unofficial tools to activate any licensed programs. Additionally, operating systems should be regularly scanned for threats with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software.

Installed security suites should be kept up to date. If your computer is already infected with SSHBOT, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

The appearance of SSHBOT screenlocker pop-up (GIF):

SSHBOT ransomware pop-up gif

Text in a pop-up:

P4YME Time Left:


- PC/Laptop is locked.
- Pay me €75 to get the password.
- Add me on Telegram. (@perry44)
- If you dont pay. Windows will be deleted.


submit password

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Quick menu:

"SSHBOT" virus removal:

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 starting process press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, 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: Go to the Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click on Advanced Startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window select Advanced Startup. Click on the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into "Advanced Startup options menu".

Click on the "Troubleshoot" button, then click on "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen click on "Startup settings". Click on the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press "5" to boot in Safe Mode with Networking Prompt.

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 "SSHBOT" 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 viruses using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":

1. During your computer starting 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 "SSHBOT" 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 remnants of the "SSHBOT" virus.

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some viruses disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.

After removing "SSHBOT" virus from your PC, restart your computer and scan it with legitimate anti-spyware software to remove any possible remnants of this security infection.

Other tools known to remove this scam:

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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.

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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.

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