The Predator Virus is a test release ransomware targeting users on a global scale. The currently released samples of it are early versions that may be updated in further iterations. Refer to our in-depth article for a technical analysis and full removal instructions.
|The ransomware encrypts sensitive information on your computer system with the .predator extensions and demands a ransom to be paid to allegedly recover them.
|The ransomware will encrypt your files with a strong encryption algorithm.
|Spam Emails, Email Attachments
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Predator Virus – Distribution Ways
The Predator virus is being distributed using a targeted campaign that appears to primarily affect English-speaking users. The security research shows that the hacker or criminal group behind are probably using the most common tactics in order to increase the number of affected users.
A common tactic is the use of phishing email messages that are made using hijacked design and elements from famous Internet sites and services. Inside of them the criminals may either embed hyperlinks to Predator virus or directly attach the virus files. They can also be used alongside download sites that use the same strategy to spread infected payloads. There are two primary types:
- Infected Documents — The hackers can construct files of various types: presentations, spreadsheets, documents and text files. Once they are opened by the users a notification prompt will appear asking them to enable the built-in scripts. This action will trigger the sequence.
- Software Installers — Using a similar technique the criminals can modify application installers of popular software: system utilities, creativity suites and productivity tools. They are constructed by taking the legitimate setup packages and modifying them with the dangerous code.
In certain situations the Predator virus can also be embedded in browser redirect code. It is primarily carried by web browser hijackers which are malicious web browser plugins that pose as legitimate extensions. They are often found on the repositories offered by the browsers themselves and are accompanied by fake user credentials and/or user reviews. The operators behind them employ descriptions that coerce the users into installing them under the disguise of new feature additions & etc.
Predator Virus – In-Depth Analysis
The initial code analysis of the Predator virus reveals that the main infection engine is not associated with any of the famous ransomware families. At the same time there is no information about the hacker or criminal group behind it which signals that it may be their invention or acquired through a hacker underground market.
The Predator virus uses a built-in infection sequence which is probably taken from one of the famous malware families. The typical behavior is to start a data gathering process which is used to extracts strings that can be grouped in two separate categories:
- User Personal Data — The malicious engine can be programmed into extracting details about the identity of the users: their name, address, phone number, interests, location and account credentials.
- Attack Optimization Data — The hackers can harvest information that can be used to update and make more effective the attack campaigns. The collected strings of this type include information such as the user’s set regional settings, operating system values and the installed hardware components.
Using the acquired information the Predator virus can then use it with another component used to bypass the security protection installed on the infected computers. This is done using an application scan that looks for signatures of anti-virus programs, sandbox environments and virtual machine hosts. Consequently their real-time engines are shut down or entirely removed.
Once the Predator virus is free to infect all system components the typical behavior is to cause various computer modifications. The most common ones include the following:
- Registry Changes — They can be done both to the operating system entries and to the user-installed applications. Common tactics are to disable certain functions and cause overall performance to degrade.
- Persistent Installation — The malicious engine can reconfigure the host system in order to make the Predator virus automatically start once the computer boots. This step also affects other processes that can be disabled. In most cases this step also involves the manipulation of the boot recovery menu —during the virus’s installation the users will not be able to access it. This creates a serious issue when using manual user recovery instructions.
- Trojan Instance — The Predator virus can be used to start a Trojan horse infection. This is done by connecting to a hacker-operated server which is used to spy on the victim’s computers, take over control of their machines and deploy additional threats.
Predator Virus — Encryption
When all components have finished execution the ransomware engine will be called. It is usually the last module that is started and like other typical infections uses a strong cipher that encrypts specific files according to a built-in list. An example victim data includes the following:
The affected files are renamed with the .predator extension. To manipulate the users into paying the hackers a proposed “decryption fee” an accompaying ransomware note is crafted in a file called README.txt. It reads the following message:
Your files were encrypted with Predator The Cipher!
Predator The Cipher v1.0
To decrypt your files:
1. Send 100$ to this bitcoin wallet: 1Pe9zG5uZFj4bGxPs98VbReXrnFayuoGf.
2. Send us email with your machine ID (XXXXXXXXXX) and bitcoin wallet ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Then we would send you back our decipher tool.
DO NOT TRY TO DECRYPT OR DELETE YOUR FILES. YOU WILL ONLY MAKE IT WORSE!
Remove Predator Ransomware Virus and Restore .Predator Files
If your computer got infected with the Predator ransomware virus, you should have a bit of experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this ransomware as quickly as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect other computers. You should remove the ransomware and follow the step-by-step instructions guide provided below.
What is Predator Ransomware?
Predator 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 algorithms 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.
What Does Predator Ransomware Do?
Ransomware in general is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware viruses can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.
How Does Predator Infect?
Via several ways.Predator Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, 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.
Another way you may become a victim of Predator 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 .Predator files?
You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the .Predator files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryption key for the particular algorithm.
What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?
Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .Predator files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore ".Predator" Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Predator files.
These methods are in no way 100% guaranteed that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.
How To Get Rid of Predator Virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program.
It will scan for and locate Predator ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Predator files.
Can I Report Ransomware to Authorities?
In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer.
Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:
Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:
Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei
United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre
United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police
France - Ministère de l'Intérieur
Italy - Polizia Di Stato
Spain - Policía Nacional
Netherlands - Politie
Poland - Policja
Portugal - Polícia Judiciária
Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)
India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell
Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center
Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.
Can You Stop Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?
Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files.
Can Predator Ransomware Steal Your Data?
Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it.
Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?
Yes, ransomware can infect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.
Should I Pay Ransomware?
No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.
What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?
If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.
Can a Ransomware Attack Be Detected?
Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine.
It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.
Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?
Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and others have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.
About the Predator Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Predator how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.
How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?
Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.
To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
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.
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