THREAT REMOVAL

.pr0tect File Virus (Remove and Restore Files)

This material is created to help you on how to remove the Pr0tector ransomware virus and restore files encrypted with the .pr0tect file extension.

“READ ME ABOUT DECRYPTION.txt” is the ransom note used by the .pr0tect file virus also known as Pr0tector ransomware. The malware’s only goal is to infect the computers of unsuspecting users and encrypt the files on them. The encrypted files on the compromised computers contain the .pr0tect file extension, lack an icon and cannot be opened. In the ransom note, the virus demands users to contact one of the two emails – pr0tector@india.com and pr0tector@tutanota.com. In case you have been infected by this virus, it is advisable to not pay the ransom and read this article thoroughly instead.

Threat Summary

Name

.pr0tect File Virus

TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionThe malware encrypts users files using a strong encryption algorithm, making direct decryption possible only via a unique decryption key available to the cyber-criminals.
SymptomsThe user may witness ransom notes and “instructions”, called “READ ME ABOUT DECRYPTION.txt” linking to the contacts of the cyber-criminals. Changed file names and the file-extension .pr0tect has been used.
Distribution MethodVia an Exploit kit, Dll file attack, malicious JavaScript or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss .pr0tect File Virus.
Data Recovery ToolWindows 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.

.pr0tect File Virus – Infection Methods

The Pr0tector ransomware is no different than any other threat out there. The virus uses different malicious loaders which cause the infection by running obfuscated scripts which latter connect to the c2 servers of the cyber-criminals. These intermediary infection files are usually used in multiple different ways to deceive you into opening them:

  • In spam e-mails that are focused on tricking users with deceptive messages to open them as attachments.
  • As fake setups of programs posted on suspicious websites.
  • As files that pose as game cracks or program patches on torrent websites.
  • As fake updates.
  • Via other malware that may have already infected your computer.

Via potentially unwanted programs that may in some scenarios cause an infection by causing browser redirects or different types of third-party malvertising, which if clicked on executes a script.

.pr0tect File Ransomware – Infection Activity

After the infection happens, the malicious files of this ransomware infection are dropped on the infected computer, and they may reside in the following Windows folders:

  • %AppData%
  • %Roaming%
  • %Local%
  • %LocalRow%
  • %Common%

After the files are dropped, multiple processes of the compromised machine may be used to make sure that several settings on it are modified. One of those may be the deletion of shadow volume copies by executing a set of commands:

→ process call create “cmd.exe /c
vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /quiet
bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled no
bcdedit.exe /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

The virus may also create String Values with custom data which leads to the location of the malicious executables of this ransomware infection. These executables may be set to run on startup. The same may be done to change the wallpaper on the infected computer. The usually targeted registry keys that may be used by the .pr0tect file virus are the following:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

After this has happened, the .pr0tect virus may cause an error message to appear on the compromised computer and then either perform the encryption directly or force restart the machine and do the encryption process on system boot.

.pr0tect Ransomware – Encryption Process Explained

Regarding encryption, this particular ransomware may attack widely used file types. Such are file types associated with:

  • Documents.
  • Pictures.
  • Videos.
  • Audio files.
  • Image files.

Once this ransomware virus has already performed the encryption process, it may change the file extensions on the encrypted files. The extension changed is .pr0tect, and the files appear like the following image:

The files encrypted by the .pr0tect virus can no longer be opened, and the virus opens a ransom note to make sure the user is aware of it’s presence on the computer – READ ME ABOUT DECRYPTION.txt:

Your files were encrypted.
Your personal ID is: {Unique ID Tag}
To buy private key for unlocking files please contact us:
pr0tector@india.com
pr0tector@tutanota.com
Please include the ID above.

After this, the user may receive instructions on how to pay a hefty ransom fee to get his/hers files back.

Remove .pr0tect Ransomware and Try Getting Back Files

For the removal of this ransomware infection, multiple different things should be done. One is to completely isolate the threat first, and the other is to back up the encrypted files, just in case. To do this, we recommend you to follow the removal instructions below. They are carefully created to help you delete the files encrypted by this ransomware infection. If you are experiencing difficulty in removing the files yourself, experts outline advanced anti-malware tool as the best automatic removal option. It will not only eliminate all files associated with this ransomware infection but will also ensure protection in the future.

For the file recovery process, unfortunately, there is no direct decryptor for this ransomware infection as this virus is still in early stages. However, you can try using copies of the encrypted files in other methods of file recovery and decryption. We have posted several suggestions below in step “2. Restore files encrypted by pr0tect” and you should try them, even though they are not 100% guarantee to get all your files back.

Avatar

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.

As a site that has been dedicated to providing free removal instructions for ransomware and malware since 2014, SensorsTechForum’s recommendation is to only pay attention to trustworthy sources.

How to recognize trustworthy sources:

  • Always check "About Us" web page.
  • Profile of the content creator.
  • Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
  • Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.


OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy


Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove .pr0tect File Virus from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove .pr0tect File Virus

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall .pr0tect File Virus 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. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by .pr0tect File Virus on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by .pr0tect File Virus 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.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for .pr0tect File Virus with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


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.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .pr0tect File Virus.

Ransomware infections and .pr0tect File Virus aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of .pr0tect File Virus from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall .pr0tect File Virus and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


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 .pr0tect File Virus:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


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 .pr0tect File Virus. 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 .pr0tect File Virus. 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 .pr0tect File Virus 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:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

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 .pr0tect File Virus. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for .pr0tect File Virus:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .pr0tect File Virus.

Ransomware infections and .pr0tect File Virus aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


.pr0tect File Virus FAQ

What is .pr0tect File Virus ransomware and how does it work?

.pr0tect File Virus is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files.

Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithm how to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.

How does .pr0tect File Virus ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways..pr0tect File Virus Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, containing virus attachment.

This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users.

After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.

Another way, you may become a victim of .pr0tect File Virus is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.

How to open ..pr0tect File Virus files?

You can't. At this point the ..pr0tect File Virus files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.

Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?

Do not panic and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your ..pr0tect File Virus files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by .pr0tect File Virus ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.

How Do I restore "..pr0tect File Virus" files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore ..pr0tect File Virus files.

These methods are in no way 100% guarantee that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.

How do I get rid of .pr0tect File Virus ransomware virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate .pr0tect File Virus ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important ..pr0tect File Virus files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like .pr0tect File Virus ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.

What to Do If nothing works?

There is still a lot you can do. If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:

  • Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
  • Try to contact your friends, relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.
  • Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re-downloaded from the web.
  • Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.
  • You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.

More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.

1 Comment

  1. Avatarmakoyski

    hi, can you share hash or samples?

    Reply

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