PClock4 virus, also known as PClock SysGop ransomware, is the latest iteration of the PClock ransomware family.
PClock ransomware virus has been around for quite some time. Previous infection campaigns were using the XOR algorithm to encrypt the user’s data. A previous PClock version of the ransomware family was also pretending to be Cryptolocker, relying on the famous ransomware’s name and fame. This old infection was reported to ask for 0.5 Bitcoin in exchange for file decryption. Let’s see what has been changed in PClock4 ransomware virus, in the table below:
|Short Description||PClock4, also known as PClock SysGop, uses the RSA-2048 encryption algorithm and targets a total of 2630 file type extensions. Reportedly it demands a ransom of 0.6 – 1.6 Bitcoin.|
|Symptoms||The victim’s files are encrypted. A screen locker function is embedded in the source code of PClock4 which gets in the way of any user activity on the targeted machine. A ransom message is displayed. For full text of the message, see the article.|
|Distribution Method||Spam emails.|
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|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss PClock4.|
|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.|
Unfortunately, in October researchers reported that there was no longer a way to decrypt newer PClock variants without the original decryption key possessed by criminals. The free decrypter coded by Fabian Wosar got broken when the ransomware authors updated their code. However, there still may be a chance for you to obtain access to your encrypted data via using powerful data recovery software or via data back ups.
There is no guarantee software data recovery attempts will be successful but in some cases users have shared positive results in restoring data partially. You will find data recovery solutions at the end of this article, where you will also be instructed on how to remove PClock both manually and automatically.
PClock 4 Ransomware Distribution Method
PClock4 has been reported to spread mainly in spam email campaigns. Such campaigns tend to become more intensive during the winter holidays season when people are less aware of potential online infections. The ransomware’s payload may be hiding in attached files appearing to be sent by legal organizations. Here are two examples of subject lines of PClock4 spam campaign:
- PLEASE READ YOUR FAX T6931
- Criminal case against you
Researchers report that the malware is attached in WSF files which contain the payload dropper – Crimace Trojan.
More particularly,a RAR archive contains a WSF file. When users download and open the archive, and execute the WSF file, a JScript function is set to initiate a series of operations that download and run a malware known as Crimace, known to be detected as TrojanDownloader:JS/Crimace.A.
The Trojan is a malware downloader, that connects to an online server and downloads and runs other malware such as PClock4. Other malware can be distributed the same way, too.
Besides being sent out in aggressive spam and phishing campaigns, the ransomware may be distributed in exploit kit operations.
PClock4 Ransomware – Further Technical Analysis
By comparing screenshots of PClock4 previous campaigns and the latest one described here, we will see that not much has changed. In other words, the ransomware hasn’t evolved, or at least no big changes have been observed. Here is an example of the latest campaign, provided by Microsoft:
The ransomware has been detected by Microsoft as Ransom:Win32/WinPlock.B or WinPlock, and is more commonly referred to as PClock. The first infections of the crypto virus were observed in 2015.
Emsisoft security researcher Fabian Wosar was able to create a decrypter for the earlier versions that enabled users to decrypt their files for free. Unfortunately, this is not the case any longer, as cybercriminals updated their code in May 2015 and broke the decrypter. The only way for PClock victims was to restore encrypted data from backup files or by paying the ransom, which is never recommended as it doesn’t guarantee any success. After all, don’t forget you are dealing with cybercriminals.
Interestingly, despite being known for more than 2 years, PClock has remained an entry-level operation even in the PClock4 iteration. The ransomware still requires its victims to get in contact with the authors via email, which is an ancient tactic. The only change in PClock4 appears to be the number of files targeted for encryption – it has jumped from 100+ files types, to 2,630.
Remove PClock4 and Restore Encrypted Files
PClock4 can be removed manually – the first half of PClock4 removal manual below will guide you through the process but keep in mind at least some experience in malware removal is needed. If you don’t feel confident enough, please refer to the instructions for PClock4 automatic removal.
- Guide 1: How to Remove PClock4 from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of PClock4 on Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove PClock4 in Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase PClock4 from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall PClock4 from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove PClock4 from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate PClock4 from Internet Explorer.
- Guide 8: Disable PClock4 Push Notifications in Your Browsers.
About the PClock4 Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this PClock4 how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific, adware-related problem, and restore your browser and computer system.
How did we conduct the research on PClock4?
Please note that our research is based on independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware, adware, and browser hijacker definitions.
Furthermore, the research behind the PClock4 threat is backed with VirusTotal https://www.virustotal.com/gui/home/upload.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
1.Browser Redirect – What Is It?
2.Adware Is Malicious, and It Uses Advanced Techniques to Infect
3.The Thin Red Line Between Potentially Unwanted Programs and Malware
4.The Pay-Per-Install Affiliate Business – Making Millions out of Adware
5.Malicious Firefox Extensions Installed by 455,000 Users Blocked Updates
How to Remove PClock4 from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove PClock4
Step 2: Uninstall PClock4 and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by PClock4 on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by PClock4 there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Step 4: Scan for PClock4 with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.
2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.
3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.
4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.
Video Removal Guide for PClock4 (Windows).
Get rid of PClock4 from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall PClock4 and remove related files and objects
1.Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:
3.In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to PClock4:
4.Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.
5.In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to PClock4. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.
6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference.
Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to PClock4. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.
7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove PClock4 via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:
2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:
3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as PClock4. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove PClock4 files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as PClock4, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Video Removal Guide for PClock4 (Mac)
Remove PClock4 from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2:Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase PClock4 from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall PClock4 from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove PClock4 from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the PClock4 will be removed.
Eliminate PClock4 from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.
Remove Push Notifications caused by PClock4 from Your Browsers.
Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome
To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.
Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:
Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:
Step 4: Open “Notifications”:
Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:
Remove Push Notifications on Firefox
Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.
Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":
Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”
Stop Push Notifications on Opera
Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings.
Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.
Step 3: Open Notifications:
Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):
Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari
Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.
Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".
What is PClock4?
The PClock4 threat is adware or browser redirect virus. It may slow your computer down siginficantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear on your device.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your computer to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your OS.
What are the symptoms of PClock4?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also unwanted apps in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your computer may become slow and has poor performance in general.
Symtpom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Task Manager.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts reccomend that you check your computer for viruses.
What types of Unwanted Programs are there?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently affect your Mac can be the following types:
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Browser hijackers.
- Fake optimizers.
What to do if I have a "virus" like PClock4?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most adware or unwanted program threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them from your browser and computer. One reccomended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you. There are many anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter is one of the reccomended anti-malware apps, that can scan your computer for free and detect any viruses, tracking cookies and unwanted adware apps and eliminate them quickly. This saves time when compared to doing the removal manually.
How to secure my passwords and other data from PClock4?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your e-mail passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activiites with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these reccomendations, your network and all devices will become significantly more secure against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
More tips you can find on our website, where you can also ask any questions and comment underneath the articles about your computer problems. We will try to respond as fast as possible.