Remove PHOBOS Ransomware – Restore Your Computer

An infection with the dangerous PHOBOS ransomware virus leads to serious security issues. With our removal guide, victims can try to secure their computers and restore encrypted files.

Manual Removal Guide
Files Recovery Approaches
Skip all steps and download anti-malware tool that will safely scan and clean all harmful files it detects on your PC.

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Note for Mac users!
In case that your Mac has been affected by PHOBOS or you suspect that other threats are running on it you can follow detailed instructions on how to detect and remove Mac viruses so you can keep the device clean and secure.

Distribution of PHOBOS Ransomware Virus

PHOBOS ransomware is a devastating crypto virus that has been recently released in attack campaigns against computer users worldwide. Threat actors could be utilizing widely used tactics of distribution to infect computer systems.

One of the methods that may be used by the malicious actors behind PHOBOS ransomware includes the coordination of SPAM email messages — they are used to spread the threat by sending out messages that pose as legitimate notifications sent by popular Internet portals or services that the targets may use. The virus files can be either directly attached or linked in the body. They can also be uploaded to fake download sites which are designed to appear like any of the popular Internet portals or vendor download sites. The malicious actors may use similar sounding domain names, certificates and hijacked design and contents to coerce the victims into thinking that they are accessing the legitimate address.

Another way that the threat may spread is through infected payloads — the use of various files that are infected with virus code. A popular example is the malicious document which can take any form: presentations, rich text files, spreadsheets and databases. Once they are opened by the victims a notification message will pop-up asking the target users to enable the built-in scripts. If this is done the virus infection will follow. The other popular technique is the inclusion of the code in application installers. They are malicious copies of legitimate setup files of popular end-user programs that have been modified with the PHOBOS ransomware code.

Ransomware files are also popularly spread by fake user profiles — they can post to community forums or social media accounts. The criminals can utilize both fake or stolen identities to increase the number of infected users.

In certain cases, the criminals may also be distributed via malicious browser plugins — additions to the most popular web browsers that are advertised as useful. The plugins are uploaded to the official repositories and often make use of fake or hijacked user reviews and developer credentials. Once they are installed by the users they will execute their built-in instructions that in many cases leads to the PHOBOS ransomware virus infection in the end.

Impact of PHOBOS Ransomware Virus

In order that infection with the nasty PHOBOS ransomware could occur, its payload should be started on the system. The moment this event occurs a bunch of malicious files is dropped on the system. These files may be located in some of the major system folders including %AppData%, %Temp %, %Roaming %, %Common % and %System32 %

With the help of these files, PHOBOS ransomware interferes with the settings of essential system components so it can reach the data encryption stage of the infection process. Similar to the majority of detected and analyzed ransomware viruses, PHOBOS is likely to plague system registries that enable it to load automatically on each system start and display its ransom note at the end of the attack. Such unpleasant issues usually emerge after the registry sub-keys Run and RunOnce are contaminated by the ransomware.

Following the corruption of system settings, PHOBOS utilizes its built-in cipher algorithm to encode target files and leave them marked with an extension of the same name .PHOBOS. Unfortunately, the threat is likely to corrupt all files that are frequently used for the storage of valuable data:

  • Archives
  • Backups
  • Databases
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Music

As we mentioned, at the end of the attack this nasty ransomware needs to display a ransom message on your screen. This message has been reported to have the name Phobos.hta and all it reads is:

“All your files are encrypted
Hello World
Data on this PC turned into a useless binary code
To return to normal, please contact us by this email: [email protected]
Set topic of your message to ‘Encryption ID:{CUSTOM ID}’
Interesting Facts:
1. Over time, the cost increases, do not waste your time
2. Only we can help you, for sure, no one else.
3. BE CAREFUL !!! If you still try to find other solutions to the problem, make a backup copy of the files you want to experiment on, and play with them.
Otherwise they can be permanently damaged
4. Any services that offer you help or just take money from you and disappear, or they will be intermediaries between us, with inflated value. Since the antidote is only among the creators of the virus”

Beware that ransom payment does not guarantee the recovery of your .PHOBOS files. So be advised to check the guide below for tested alternative data recovery approaches.

Remove PHOBOS Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cyber criminals does not really solve your problem with PHOBOS crypto virus. In fact, you only encourage hackers to continue spreading ransomware of this kind. Instead, you must remove the threat immediately, and only then look for optional ways to recover your data.

WARNING! Manual removal of PHOBOS ransomware virus requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removing important data accidentally can lead to permanent system damage. If you don’t feel comfortable with manual instructions, download a powerful anti-malware tool that will scan your system for malware and clean it safely for you.

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PHOBOS Ransomware Virus – Manual Removal Steps

Start the PC in Safe Mode with Network

This will isolate all files and objects created by the ransomware so they will be removed efficiently. The steps below are applicable to all Windows versions.

1. Hit the WIN Key + R

2. A Run window will appear. In it, write msconfig and then press Enter

3. A Configuration box shall appear. In it Choose the tab named Boot

4. Mark Safe Boot option and then go to Network under it to tick it too

5. Apply -> OK

Show Hidden Files

Some ransomware threats are designed to hide their malicious files in the Windows so all files stored on the system should be visible.

1. Open My Computer/This PC

2. Windows 7

    – Click on Organize button
    – Select Folder and search options
    – Select the View tab
    – Go under Hidden files and folders and mark Show hidden files and folders option

3. Windows 8/ 10

    – Open View tab
    – Mark Hidden items option

how to make hidden files visible in Windows 8 10 bestsecuritysearch instructions

4. Click Apply and then OK button

Enter Windows Task Manager and Stop Malicious Processes

1. Hit the following key combination: CTRL+SHIFT+ESC

2. Get over to Processes

3. When you find suspicious process right click on it and select Open File Location

4. Go back to Task Manager and end the malicious process. Right click on it again and choose End Process

5. Next, you should go folder where the malicious file is located and delete it

Repair Windows Registry

1. Again type simultaneously the WIN Key + R key combination

2. In the box, write regedit and hit Enter

3. Type the CTRL+ F and then write the malicious name in the search type field to locate the malicious executable

4. In case you have discovered registry keys and values related to the name, you should delete them, but be careful not to delete legitimate keys

Click for more information about Windows Registry and further repair help

Recover Encrypted Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with PHOBOS ransomware virus should be removed from the infected PC before any data recovery attempts. Otherwise the virus may encrypt restored files. Furthermore, a backup of all encrypted files stored on external media is highly recommendable.

DOWNLOAD SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

 
SpyHunter is a Windows application designed to scan for, identify, remove and block malware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and other objects. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove detected malware instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

1. Use present backups

2. Use professional data recovery software

Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery – a specialist tool that can restore partitions, data, documents, photos, and 300 more file types lost during various types of incidents and corruption.

3. Using System Restore Point

    – Hit WIN Key
    – Select “Open System Restore” and follow the steps

restore-files-using-windows-system-restore-point

4. Restore your personal files using File History

    – Hit WIN Key
    – Type restore your files in the search box
    – Select Restore your files with File History
    – Choose a folder or type the name of the file in the search bar
    – Hit the “Restore” button

Preventive Security Measures

  • Enable and properly configure your Firewall.
  • Install and maintain reliable anti-malware software.
  • Secure your web browser.
  • Check regularly for available software updates and apply them.
  • Disable macros in Office documents.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe.
  • Backup regularly your data.
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    Gergana Ivanova

    Author : Gergana Ivanova

    Gergana Ivanova is computer security enthusiast who enjoys presenting the latest issues related to cyber security.