Latest In Ransomware: .PLC Virus Splits Files In Encrypted Parts - How to, Technology and PC Security Forum |

Latest In Ransomware: .PLC Virus Splits Files In Encrypted Parts

A ransomware for Windows 10 OS has appeared that not only uses a strong cipher to encrypt files of infected computers. What is new with this ransomware is that it splits files into different parts besides encrypting them, making the job even more impossible than previous ransomware variants. Researchers are presently working on discovering what exactly this ransomware variant is capable of and in the meantime users are advised NOT to pay any ransom money to cyber-criminals, because a decryptor may be released for free later on.

.PLC Ransomware and How Did It Get To This

Ransomware virus attacks have increased a lot in the past two years, causing an immense amount of damage. The viruses have begun to spread across the globe, and their variations became even more than before. Law enforcement agencies have tried to stop this menace, and they have captured several criminal enterprises behind these attacks, but this only resulted in releasing some decryptors. In fact, the consequence for this is that cyber-crooks became increasingly paranoid, adding new features in ransomware viruses.

One of those new features is the rootkit capabilities of ransom viruses. Notorious crypto-variants like Petya and its “sister” Mischa Ransomware have bonded together attack directly the master boot record (MBR) of the computers they infect adding a XOR value to them. Later on, this method proved fixable by simply booting from a safe device which does not have its MBR attacked and copying the files which were non-encrypted.

Another relatively “new” feature which has seen more popularity with ransomware viruses lately is the Cipher Block Chaining mode which interestingly enough separates encrypted portions of files, calling them blocks. This separation is also used in combination with a so-called IV (Initialization Vector) which breaks the file when you try to decrypt it, making file decryption a very risky process, especially if users try to do it by themselves.

Virus-encoders have also begun to use stronger ciphers such as the RSA-4096 and the AES-256 algorithms, and this proved to be rather risky because some viruses which were poorly coded, like CrypZ Ransomware broke users’ files permanently by releasing a broken decryptor after being paid the ransom.

Not only this but, Fake Ransomware viruses have also begun to infect people. Viruses, like the Fake AnonPop Ransomware, directly delete the files of the machines they infect and still ask users to pay the ransom money, which is a new peak in the audacity of cyber-criminals.

Besides this, ransomware attacks have seen a revolution In the private and government sectors as well, attacking governmental institutions and small businesses as well.

Crypto-virus attacks have not only spread across more and more systems, but they have also started to be more and more developed, adding new features, new extensions, hiding the files of infected users and even adding voice messages.

Not only this but along with the latest installment by Windows – 10, there has also been a drastic development in how such viruses spread as well. Infection methods increased in variety from simple mail attachments to using sophisticated Exploit Kits, JavaScript attacks as well as drive-by downloads and obfuscated droppers.

What is New with .PLC Ransomware?

This mysterious ransomware variant may use the conventional methods to spread – via e-mail, exploit kit or a javascript and even malicious macros. However, once it penetrates your computer and possibly modifies the “/Run” registry entry to run when you start Windows 10, it does something rather unique and unseen previously – .PLC Ransowmare splits the files into different parts, giving them numbers. One affected user in Bleeping Computer security forums has reported that the .PLC virus not only encodes the files but it separates one file in several parts, for example:

Before Encryption by .PLC:
After Encryption:
Part1.plc, Part2.plc, Part3.plc, Part4.plc

The encrypted files by this ransomware, naturally carry the .plc file extension, and they cannot be opened by any program. Here is how an encrypted file has been reported to look like:


It is believed that since the files are split into parts, the cyber-criminals behind .PLC Ransomware virus may have created a program which acts as a compiler and a decryptor at once. This means that they may provide decryption and compile the files of affected users after paying the ransom money. This is a new development In ransomware viruses and only time will tell whether or not it is effective.

Besides that, the virus may also encrypt the files with either RSA, AES or other cryptographically strong encoding language.

The .PLC virus may also add a ransom note, which contains instructions for users on how to pay the ransom. Ransom payoffs by viruses like the .PLC variant may be conducted via anonymous Tor networking and the usage of BitCoin – the most widely used cryptocurrency at the moment.

.PLC Ransomware – Conclusion, Removal, File Reverting and Protection

There is not much known about this virus yet. But we will keep researching the matter and new possibilities to restore files encrypted by it. So far we have attempted to use the following file decryptors and have failed decrypting files by it:

→Emsisoft Decrypter for ApocalypseVM
Emsisoft Decrypter for Apocalypse
Emsisoft Decrypter for BadBlock
Emsisoft Decrypter for Xorist
Emsisoft Decrypter for 777
Emsisoft Decrypter for AutoLocky
Emsisoft Decrypter for Nemucod
Emsisoft Decrypter for DMALocker2
Emsisoft Decrypter for HydraCrypt
Emsisoft Decrypter for DMALocker
Emsisoft Decrypter for CrypBoss
Emsisoft Decrypter for Gomasom
Emsisoft Decrypter for LeChiffre
Emsisoft Decrypter for KeyBTC
Emsisoft Decrypter for Radamant
Emsisoft Decrypter for CryptInfinite
Emsisoft Decrypter for PClock
Emsisoft Decrypter for CryptoDefense
Emsisoft Decrypter for Harasom

This is why we strongly recommend that you to use the instructions posted below to remove this virus from Windows 10 in case you have been infected by it and try to restore your encrypted files using other alternative solutions that may work in some cases for some of your files.

As a bottom line, Ransomware has brought a new type of crime. With the ever increasing technologies the threats have also changed and this is a proof. We have researched a lot of crypto-malware variants the past few years and we have to ask ourselves, where is the borderline for this and when will it stop? There is no answer that can surely be appropriate and satisfying for this question, however the situation is all in our hands to stop this ever-increasing threat to our data.


Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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