Potato Ransomware Virus (Removal Steps and Protection Updates)

Our removal guide will give details about the Potato ransomware, a newly discovered threat that is of unknown origin and encrypts target data using a strong cipher.


Name
Potato

File Extensions
.potato

Ransom
Varies

Solution #1
You can skip all steps and remove Potato with the help of an anti-malware tool.

Solution #2
Potato ransomware can be removed manually, though it can be very hard for most home users. See the detailed tutorial below.

Distribution
Spam Email Campaigns, malicious ads & etc.

Potato Ransomware Description

The Potato ransomware is a new malware that is of unknown origin. The security experts are still investigating it and it is still not nown if this is a strain of a malware family or it is an independent creation.

Like all other related viruses, this one behaves in a similar way. Upon infection the virus starts its encryption engine which targets specific user file types. After this is complete a warning note is shown to the user which extorts the victims for a ransomware fee payment. This message has the following contents:

YOUR FILES WERE ENCRYPTED
using military-grade encryption (AES-256). The encrypted files have the additional extension .potato. You won’t be able to retrieve your data unless you make a payment by following the steps below:
1. Download the TOR browser
2. Access the following adress through TOR Browser for further instructions
http://tzakpakp6v5vwqqh.onion/
3. Enter your ID (see below) and hit “GET KEY” for further instructions
NOTICE: There’s a folder on your desktop named POTATO which contains the following files:
• ID_number.txt – an unique number that identifies your computer, which is mandatory for the payment process
• encrypted.txt – a list of files that were encrypted; if you decide to have them back, DO NOT DELETE IT
• decryptor.exe (including MSVCR100.dll) – the program you’ll use for decryption once the payment is made and the decryption key is transmitted to you.

The encryption engine targets the most commonly used file types – audio, photos, videos, backups, documents, configuration files and etc.

Potato Ransomware Distribution

The Potato ransomware is primarily distributed to the computer victims using email spam campaigns. The hackers may opt to use social engineering techniques or other methods to increase the infection ratio.

Other distribution methods include exploits kit attacks and using infected installers which may be located on various hacked or criminal-controlled sites and P2P networks.

Potato Ransomware – How To Remove it and Prevent It From Coming Back

There are two ways of removal:

Potato Ransomware Removal

For a faster solution, you can run a scan with an advanced malware removal tool and delete Potato completely with a few mouse clicks.

STEP I: 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.

    1) Hit WIN Key + R

Windows-key-plus-R-button-launch-Run-Box-in-Windows-illustrated

    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

Or check our video guide – “How to start PC in Safe Mode with Networking

STEP II: Show Hidden Files

    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

    show-hidden-files-win8-10

    4) Click “Apply” and then “OK” button

STEP III: 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

STEP IV: Remove Completely Potato Ransomware Using SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

Manual removal of Potato requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removal of any important data can lead to permanent system damage. Prevent this troublesome effect – delete Potato ransomware with SpyHunter malware removal tool.

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

STEP V: Repair Windows Registry

    1) Again type simultaneously the Windows Button + R key combination
    2) In the box, write “regedit”(without the inverted commas) 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

Further help for Windows Registry repair

STEP VI: Recover Encrypted Files

    1) Use present backups
    2) 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

    restore-your-personal-files-using-File-History-bestecuritysearch

      – Hit the “Restore” button

    3) Using System Restore Point

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

restore-files-using-system-restore-point

STEP VII: Preventive Security Measures

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

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

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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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