This article provides information about a version of PGPSnippet data locker ransomware released in active attack campaigns. The threat encrypts important files and demands a ransom payment. By reaching the end of the article, you will know how to remove it and how to restore encrypted files.
PGPSnippet is known to be a ransomware that encrypts files stored on infected hosts and demands a ransom payment for decryption solution. It appends the specific extension .email@example.com to the names of all encrypted files. All .firstname.lastname@example.org files remain unusable until their code is returned to its original state. Following encryption, the ransomware displays a ransom note that extorts a ransom payment from victims.
|Short Description||A data locker ransomware that utilizes strond cihper algorithm to encrypt files on stored on the infected computer. Then it demands a ransom for decryption solution.|
|Symptoms||Important files are locked and renamed with .email@example.com extension. They remain unusable until a ransom is paid.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by PGPSnippet |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss PGPSnippet.|
|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.|
PGPSnippet Ransomware – Distribution
ThePGPSnippet ransomware infects computer systems with the help of its payload. It may have landed on your computer after you visited a compromised web page. Such pages are usually set to drop the ransomware payload directly on the devices of all visitors. Their URLs can be spread via various advertising campaigns, posted on social media channels or send in email spam messages.
Email spam messages are also commonly used by cyber criminals who attempt to trick you into infecting your device with their ransomware code. The malicious payload could have sneaked into the system by being embedded in file attachments like archives, documents, images, text files, PDFs and other. Beware and practice caution before you download and open files from recently received emails even when they seem legitimate. Hackers often pose as representatives of well-known companies, services, websites and even governmental institutions.
So next time when you need to open a dubious file on your PC be advised to consider the use of a free online extractor as it will reveal whether the uploaded file contains malicious elements or not.
PGPSnippet Ransomware – Infection Analysis
PGPSnippet is known to be a ransomware that encrypts files stored on infected hosts and demands a ransom payment for decryption solution. For the purpose, it needs to plague the system and remain undetected until the end of the attack.
Infection process begins once its payload file is running on the system. At first, it is likely to create additional malicious files or drop needed ones from its command and control server. These files help the ransomware to take over legitimate processes and use their functionalities in order to plague essential system settings and remain undetected by active security measures.
PGPSnippet has the ability to self-delete its own files after the completion of the attack. It is likely that only a few malicious files will remain on the system so they can trigger the ransomware on each system start. This feature enables the threat to infect all newly created files that match the target files set in a built-in list.
The automatic execution of malicious files is possible by exploiting the functionalities of specific registry keys stored in the Registry Editor. Usually, Run and RunOnce sub-keys are among the affected by ransomware threats. This could be explained by the fact that these two keys store information about all essential programs that should start on each system load. So by adding its malicious values under these keys PGPSnippet (.firstname.lastname@example.org) ransomware ensures its persistent presence on the system.
At the last infection stage PGPSnippet crypto virus drops a file that contains ransom message crafted by hackers. The message is stored in a file named !!!README_DECRYPT!!!.txt and all what it reads is:
All your documents and other files ENCRYPTED !!!
TO RESTORE YOUR FILES YOU MUST TO PAY: 1 by Bitcoin to this address: 11zc6pm11fQiWXDAG7urFTeBUu9UGe***
You can open an wallet here:
Send the file on the way “WIN + R >> %APPDATA%” file name hosts.txt to our e-mail after paymentat this email address: email@example.com
We will confirm payment and send to you decrypt key + instruction
Remember: you have a 72 hours and if you not paid, that price will up
ATTENTION : all your attempts to decrypt your PC without our software and key can lead to irreversible destruction
of your files !
Beware that the ransom payment does not guarantee the decryption of .firstname.lastname@example.org files as hackers may not have a working decryption solution. Furthermore, they may skip sending any decryption key even when the transaction is made.
The good news for all of you whose important files are corrupted by this new iteration of PGPSnippet ransomware is that its code has been cracked by the security researcher Michael Gillespie.
PGPSnippet Ransomware – Encryption Process
The latest version of PGPSnippet ransomware is associated with the specific .email@example.com extension. This threat is primarily designed to scan the system for predefined types of files in order to enccrypt them and restrict the access to the infromation they store. So in case of infection it is likely that the following files will remain encrypted until an efficient recovery solution reverts them back to the original state:
- Audio files
- Video files
- Document files
- Image files
- Text files
- Backup files
- Banking credentials, etc
After encryption, all these have the extension .firstname.lastname@example.org appended at the end of their names.
Following encryption, PGPSnippet crypto virus can erase all Shadow Volume Copies created by the Windows operating system. This happens after the command below is entered in the Command Prompt tool:
→vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /Quiet
As a result one of the possible ways for data restore is eliminated. Happily, there are other available methods that may help you to restore some files back to their normal state. Keep reading to find some of them.
Remove PGPSnippet Ransomware and Restore .email@example.com Files
The removal of PGPSnippet ransomware demands a bit of technical experience and ability to recognize traits of malware files. And there is no doubt that you should remove this nasty threat from the infected PC as soon as you detect it. Otherwise, it may send its infection payload to all devices connected to the same network. Below you could find how to remove all malicious files and objects associated with the ransomware step by step. Beware that ransomware has highly complex code that could plague not only your files but your whole system. So as recommended by security researchers you need to utilize an advanced anti-malware tool for its complete removal. Such tool will keep your system protected against severe threats like PGPSnippet and other kinds of malware that endanger your online security.
After you remove the ransomware make sure to check the “Restore Files” step listed in the guide below to find alternative ways for .firstname.lastname@example.org files recovery. But before you take any further actions, don’t forget to back up all encrypted files to an external drive in order to prevent their irreversible loss.