Complete .exo Virus Removal Guide (Full Instructions)

.exo virus

An infection with the dangerous .exo virus leads to serious security issues. Victims can restore and protect their computers by following our complete removal guide.

Remove .exo virus and Restore PC
Manual Removal Guide
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Distribution of .exo virus

The .exo virus is a new virus which has been sighted in a limited attack campaign. At the moment the security researchers cannot determine the primary infection strategy. We presume that the most widely used tactics are going to be employed.

Among them are the email messages created in an automated way and sent to large lists of potential victims. The .exo virus can be directly attached to the messages. This is one of the easiest way for the criminals to attempt the infection. However a lot of email hosting providers usually capture the signatures of the virus and as such discard such messages or label them as dangerous or spam. Other infection methods related to this one is the option of inserting hyperlinks in the body content of the messages. The links are usually labeled as leading to a familiar website or a file of user interest. Redirects can redirect to hacker-controlled sites, infected payloads or other instances that can lead to an .exo virus infection.

The computer criminals behind the malware can create malicious sites or download portals which distribute malware of different kinds, including the .exo virus. A popular option is the use of infected documents which may be of different types ‒ spreadsheets, rich text documents, presentations and databases. They are modified to initiate the virus once the built-in scripts are run. Usually when the files are opened a notification will ask the users to run the macros (scripts). If this is done the infection follows.

The hacker-controlled sites are specialist portals that have been created either manually or automatically by the criminals behind the .exo virus. They can either directly distribute the threat by initiating various scripts or automated operations or link to such instances. Redirects are usually caused by email interaction, ad networks or other browsing activity. However one of the main sources is the availability of browser hijackers. They are malicious addons made for the most popular web browsers ‒ Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Microsoft Edge and Safari. Once installed they not only infect the users with the malware, but also redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled site. Depending on the configuration the browser hijackers can also steal sensitive information such as any stored passwords, account credentials, history, bookmarks, form data and settings.

Impact of .exo virus

The .exo virus is a recently discovered malware which was reported by the security community. At the moment the initial code analysis does not reveal a correlation between it and any of the famous malware families. No information is available about hacker or criminal collective behind this threat. The fact that this is not a customized version of any of the famous malware families, including the numerous Hidden Tear samples which are a popular tutorial for beginner hackers. According to the code analysis the base engine of the .exo virus can be used as a builder framework. This means that while the ransomware behavior pattern does end in the encryption of target user files other components can be added it to it.

Follow up versions of the .exo virus can include additional modules such as the following:

  • Information Gathering ‒ The initial infection can begin with a thorough data extraction. The exact nature of the harvested data varies depending on the intentions of the criminals. The data gathering can extract the hardware components, installed software applications and individual user settings. Advanced strains can also hijack data from the user applications such as web browsers similar to hijackers. This means that the hacker operators can directly download sensitive user data such as cookies, history, bookmarks, settings, passwords and account credentials. In most common cases the most popular browsers are affected including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge.
  • Surveillance Component ‒ Such malware frameworks can be used to institute Trojan modules to the victims. Such attacks allow the hacker operators to spy on the infected users in real time. Depending on the configuration the operators may also record the victim’s mouse movement and keystrokes as well.
  • Additional Virus Delivery ‒ The .exo virus can be used to deliver additional malware to the victim clients if such behavior is bundled in the code.

If the .exo virus has been created with the intent of being used as a framework to create various virus strains then the hacker operators will start to offer its code on the underground communities and marketplace. Security researchers have already been able to spot a preliminary virus generation tool that uses the .exo virus malware engine to create custom strains. It uses an easy to use graphical user interface (GUI) that allows even beginner hackers to create their own versions of the .exo virus.

The discovered “builder” allows the operators to customize two fields ‒ the BTC address and the ransomware amount in Bitcoins. They change the respective values in the template ransomware message. The private encryption key can be generated using the built-in pseudo random number generator. When all changes have been made the resulting malware can be compiled into an executable file.

Once all prerequisite steps have been taken the actual ransomware engine is started. Like other similar threats the .exo virus seeks to encrypt the most widely used files including the following: archives, documents, images, music, videos, configuration files and databases. Consequently all processed data is renamed with the .exo extension.

The next step is to create the ransomware note ‒ either in a text file or imposed as the desktop background. An example template message reads the following:

YOUR FILES HAVE BEEN ENCRYPTED

All files have been infected
Get decrypt your files in 4 steps
1. Go to www.anycoindirect.eu/en/buy/bitcoins
2. Pay 1 bitcoins to the bitcoin Address below
3. Once confirmed your files will be decrypted
4. And you can enjoy your computer
BTC Address: 345sgfadfgasdfasdf

If you try to CLOSE this proccess or SHUTDOWN the computer,
your files will be DELETED FOREVER!!!
AND CANT BE RECOVERED!!!
Only way to RECOVER your files is to PAY BTC

We recommend that all users abstain from communicating with the hackers and use our full .exo virus removal guide below to recover their data and delete the active infections.

Remove .exo virus and Restore PC

WARNING! Manual removal of the .exo 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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SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

.exo 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 bellow 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

Remove .exo from Windows

Here’s a way to remove the program. This method will work regardless if you’re on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP. Simply selecting the program and pressing delete won’t work, as it’ll leave a lot of small files. That’s bad because these leftovers can linger on and cause all sorts of problems. The best way to delete a program is to uninstall it. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Hold the “Windows” button (It’s between CTRL and Alt on most keyboards) and press “R”. You’ll see a pop-up window.

run-window-windows

2. In the textbox, type “appwiz.cpl”, then press“ Enter ”.

appwiz-cpl-command-run-windows

3. The “Programs and features” menu should now appear. It’s a list of all the programs installed on the PC. Here you can find the program, select it, and press “Uninstall“.

uninstall-malicious-software-control-panel-programs-features-windows

Remove .exo Virus From Your Browser

Before resetting your browser’s settings, you should know that this action will wipe out all your recorded usernames, passwords, and other types of data. Make sure to save them in some way.

Removal guide for Mozilla Firefox Removal guide for Google Chrome Removal guide for Internet Explorer

    1. Start Mozilla Firefox. In the upper right corner, click on the Open menu icon and select “Add-ons“.
    add-ons-mozilla-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    2. Inside the Add-ons Manager select “Extensions“. Search the list of extensions for suspicious entries. If you find any, select them and click “Remove“.
    remove-suspicious-extensions-mozilla-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    3. Click again on the Open menu icon, then click “Options“.
    options-mozilla-firefox-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    4. In the Options window, under “General” tab, click “Restore to Default“.
    restore-to-default-settings-mozilla-firefox-removal-guide-browser-hijacker

    5. Select “Search” in the left menu, mark the unknown search engine and press “Remove”.
    search-remove-unknown-search-engine-mozilla-firefox-removal-guide-browser-hijacker

    1. Start Google Chrome. On the upper-right corner, there a “Customize and Control” menu icon. Click on it, then click on “Settings“.

    settings-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    2. Click “Extensions” in the left menu. Then click on the trash bin icon to remove the suspicious extension.
    delete-suspicious-extension-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    3. Again in the left menu, under Chrome, Click on “Settings“. Go under “On Startup” and set a new page.
    set-new-page-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    4. Afterward, scroll down to “Search“, click on “Manage search engines“.
    manage-search-engines-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    5. In the default search settings list, find the unknown search engine and click on “X“. Then select your search engine of choice and click “Make default“. When you are ready click “Done” button in the right bottom corner.

1. Start Internet Explorer. Go to the “Tools” menu and click on “Manage add-ons“.
manage-add-ons-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker-bestsecuritysearch

2. In the “Manage add-ons” window, bellow “Add-on Types“, select “Toolbars and Extensions“. If you see a suspicious toolbar, select it and click “Remove“.
remove-suspicious-toolbars--internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

3. Then again in the “Manage Add-ons” window, in “Add-on Types“, Select “Search Providers“. Chose a search engine and click “Set as default“. Select the unknown search engine and click “Remove and Close”.
search-providers-set-engine-delete-suspicious-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

4. Open the Tools menu, select “Internet Options”.
internet-options-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

5. In the “General” tab, in “Home page”, enter your preferred page. Click “Apply” and “OK”.
enter-preferred-homepage-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

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

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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    Author : Martin Beltov

    Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.


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