A brand new variant of the Fantom crypto-virus is on the loose. The virus has been reported to encrypt files with over 1200 different extensions. Now it appends the extension .locked to the files, ditching the previous .locked extension. Ransom is demanded from victims, and a ProtonMail is given as contact, namely firstname.lastname@example.org. To remove the ransomware and see how to try and decrypt some of your data, read the article carefully.
|Short Description||The ransomware will encrypt your files and demand payment. A ProtonMail address is given as a contact.|
|Symptoms||The ransomware will encrypt over 1200 files with different extensions with the .locked extension appended to them. A ransom note with instructions will be displayed after.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Fantom.|
|Data Recovery Tool||Windows Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix Notice! This product scans your drive sectors to recover lost files and it may not recover 100% of the encrypted files, but only few of them, depending on the situation and whether or not you have reformatted your drive.|
Fantom Virus – Infection Spread
The new variant of the Fantom ransomware is possible to spread in several ways. Spam emails are the most probable way to be used in the spreading of the virus. A spam email is usually comprised of a brief description which tries to sound convincing that is of huge importance. Also, victims in most cases fall for the trick of opening an attached file, which supposedly reveals more information or has something useful inside. Those attachment files might look harmless, but upon opening, such a file could drop the payload of the virus and infect your whole PC.
Social media websites or file-sharing networks might be used to further spread this Fantom ransomware variant. The cybercriminals could have put a file containing a malicious script on these networks. Opening the file will release the payload for the ransomware, and your system will get infected. A tip to prevent that from happening is avoiding any suspicious emails, links, and files. When you are about to open a file you just downloaded, check its signatures first, along with its size and scan it with a security program. You can read more ransomware prevention tips in our forum.
Fantom Virus – Technical Description
After infection, the payload file will create files on your computer which will launch a fake update. You can view that fake Windows update screen down here:
The screen will be locked and not allow any interaction with it or other windows. If you see that screen, know that your files are in the process of being locked in the background. You might be able to close the screen using the Ctrl + F4 key combination. That will not stop the encryption process from going. The screen even has a percentage counter to fake the spike in activity of your disk drives and best imitate an update.
Next, the Fantom ransomware can create entries in the Windows Registry, which allow it to auto-launch with the start of the Windows Operating System. To support that, the ransomware does not encrypt any files which have the following extensions:
→.sys, .dll, .exe, .ico, .link, .locked, .purge, .frozen, .tmp, .temp, dll, ini, manifest, .com, .prx, .bin, .am, .dlm, .ngr
The following folders will also be ignored and all files inside them will remain unscathed:
→APPDATA, ProgramData, ProgramFiles, WINDOWS, APPDATA, Appdata, Application Data, intel, nvidia, Program Files, Program Files x86, Windows, RECYCLER, Recycle.Bin, Recycler, TEMP, Temp, Microsoft, RECYCLE.BIN
After encrypting the rest of the files set in the ransomware code, a picture with the ransom payment instructions will be placed on your desktop:
The ransom note is changed and looks more professional:
The newly-found Fantom ransomware also does not set a price for paying the ransom, as its previous version. Again it claims to delete your files from its servers after a while – this time the deadline is set to one week. However, the criminals behind it have improved and now use a more secure message system, involving the ProtonMail encrypted e-mail service:
- https://bitmsg.me BM -2cUhQ3orPHtcCKvk2iwCeJnmbSeKLLHdog
Do NOT contact these cyber crooks about decryption. No guarantee there is in the world that you will get your files unlocked and as you can see from this article, they will keep making more ransomware. Giving money to them to unlock your files, and later that money to be used to lock your files again, including those of somebody else, is a viscous circle.
The new version of the Fantom ransomware encrypts an even bigger amount of files compared to its predecessor. The ransomware searches to encrypt files with 1,296 extensions. The list is gigantic, so we put it inside the following drop-down window:
All encrypted files will have the same extension appended to them, which is .locked. The ransomware is believed to use the RSA-2048 encryption algorithm. The public and private keys differ. The private key doesn’t seem to be in the code of the malware sample, according to the MalwareHunterTeam and the ransomware may be deemed not decryptable.
There are not that many detections of the new Fantom variant on VirusTotal:
The Fantom ransomware is highly likely to delete the Shadow Volume Copies from the Windows Operating System. Read down to learn of some ways in which you can try to decrypt some of your files.
Remove Fantom Virus and Restore .locked Files
If your computer got infected with the Fantom ransomware virus, you should have some experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this ransomware as fast as possible before it can have the chance of spreading further and infect more PCs. You should remove the ransomware and follow the step-by-step instructions guide given below. To see ways that you can try to recover your data, see the step titled 2. Restore files encrypted by Fantom.
Manually delete Fantom from your computer
Note! Substantial notification about the Fantom threat: Manual removal of Fantom requires interference with system files and registries. Thus, it can cause damage to your PC. Even if your computer skills are not at a professional level, don’t worry. You can do the removal yourself just in 5 minutes, using a malware removal tool.