How To Completely Remove The .PHOBOS Virus From Your Computer

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

Remove .PHOBOS Virus and Restore PC
Manual Removal Guide
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Distribution of .PHOBOS Virus

The .PHOBOS virus is a new malware threat which at the moment has been spotted in a very limited attack wave. Due to the yet unknown criminals behind its launch the security experts cannot deduce which is the primary distribution method. As such we suspect that the most popular strategies are going to be employed.

One of them relies on creating email messages in an automated way which all deliver the .PHOBOS virus to the targets. A common way of doing this is by attaching the strains directly 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 .PHOBOS virus infection.

The computer criminals behind the malware can create malicious sites or download portals which distribute malware of different kinds, including the .PHOBOS 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 .PHOBOS 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 .PHOBOS Virus

At the moment the .PHOBOS virus is distributed in a very limited attack wave. The security researchers who are looking into the matter are not able to give out details on the identity of the hacker or criminal collective behind the malware. What is known is the fact that the .PHOBOS virus is made up of only a base ransomware engine. It is very likely that if the infections prove succesful the code will be updated by the hackers. The initial code analysis does not reveal a correlation with any of the popular malware families. This suggests that the virus has been developed from scratch by its creator.

Some of the updates that can be considered in future iterations include the following:

  • Persistent Installation ‒ This is a deep infection tactic which actively prevents manual removal attempts from the user’s part. When such a threat is involved in a computer attack the only way to effectively remove is by using a quality anti-malware solution.
  • Trojan Module ‒ It allows the hackers to remote control or spy on the users activities.
  • Data Theft ‒ The criminals can steal user files prior to the encryption phase.
  • Additional Virus Delivery ‒ The .locked virus can be used to install other viruses to the target machines as well.

If there are any predetermined conditions they are executed by the engine before the actual ransomware process is started. Like other similar malware the .PHOBOS virus uses a built-in list of target file type extensions. They usually contain the most popular data that uses utilize: documents, images, music, videos, archives, databases and configuration files. Depending on the case an exclusions list can also be implemented to exclude critical operating system components.

When the encryption process has completed all victim files will be renamed using the following template: ID[HEX].[

  • Hardware Components
  • Software Configuration
  • Individual User Settings
  • The email associated with the extensions can be changed to reflect the current contact address that are given to the criminal operators. When the string is constructed a ransomware note is created in a Phobos.hta file which reads the following:

    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 e-mail: [email protected]
    Set topic of your message to ‘Encryption ID:6BBC6934’

    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 permamently damaged
    4. Any services that offer you help or just take money from you and dissapear, or they will be intermediaries between us, with inflated value. Since the antidote is only among the creators of the virus.

    We recommend that all victims resort to our complete .locked virus removal guide to recover their computers.

    Remove .PHOBOS Virus and Restore PC

    WARNING! Manual removal of the .PHOBOS 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

    .PHOBOS 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 .phobos 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 .phobos 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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