.pumax Files Virus - How to Remove It

.pumax Files Virus – How to Remove It

This article has been created to help explain what is the .pumax file extension ransomware and how you can remove it plus restore the encrypted files.

A new ransomware virus, carrying around the .pumax file extension has been detected by users. The virus is a variant of the STOP ransomware viruses and is very similar to the

.puma files variant, suggesting that they are possibly made by the same people. If you want to know more about the .pumax files virus and how you can remove it from your computer and how you can try and restore files, encrypted by it on your PC, we advise you to read this article thoroughly.

Threat Summary

Name.pumax Files Virus
TypeRansomware, Cryptovirus
Short DescriptionA variant of the notorious STOP ransomware viruses. Aims to encrypt the files and then as victims to pay ransom to be able to open them again.
SymptomsFiles are encrypted with an added .pumax file extension. A ransom note may appear, with instructions on paying the ransom.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by .pumax Files Virus


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss .pumax Files 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.

.pumax Virus – Update December 2018

There is a decrypter tool released for .puma, .pumax, and .pumas variants of STOP ransomware. The tool was released thanks to the Proof of Concept by AfshinZlfgh and Michael Gillespie’s finishing touches. You can download it via the .puma, .pumax, .pumas Decryption Tool link. The tool requires a pair of an original file and its encrypted version.

.pumax Virus – Distribution Methods

There are more than one infection methods in relation to .pumax files virus. One of those tools is to use the ransomware virus in a malspam attack. Such attack involves sending the malicious file via e-mail and making it a if the virus is a legitimate document of some sort. In the e-mails, the crooks may imitate as if the e-mails come from shipment company and other big companies, like:

  • FedEx.
  • PayPal.
  • eBay.
  • Amazon.
  • DHL.
  • Facebook.
  • Instagram.
  • Twitter.
  • Google.

The outcome of this may be that the victim is tricked that the file is important one and downloads and opens it. Usually the files pose a “must-see” type of documents, like:

  • Invoices.
  • Receipts.
  • Password stolen documents.
  • Security report or log for the user’s online account for a certain site.

But this is not the only way via which you can become a victim of the .pumax ransomware virus, since this infection can also be spread as a result of being uploaded online and posing as a legitimate program that users aim to download. Such can often turn out to be:

  • Portable versions of programs.
  • Software license activators.
  • Cracks.
  • Hacktools.
  • Patches.
  • Key generators (Keygens).

.pumax Ransomware – Activity

Since the 24th of November, the .pumax variant of STOP ransomware has started infecting computers. The virus is from the ransomware type and it uses the ransom note !readme.txt which it drops upon infection. The ransom note has the following contents:

====================!ATTENTION PLEASE!====================
Your databases, files, photos, documents and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .pumax
The only method of recovering files is to purchase an decrypt software and unique private key.
After purchase you will start decrypt software, enter your unique private key and it will decrypt all your data.
Only we can give you this key and only we can recover your files.
You need to contact us by e-mail pumarestore@india.com send us your personal ID and wait for further instructions.
For you to be sure, that we can decrypt your files – you can send us a 1-3 any not very big encrypted files and we will send you back it in a original
form FREE.
Discount 50% avaliable if you contact us first 72 hours.
E-mail address to contact us:
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
Your personal id:

Once infected a computer, the .pumax files virus may drop Its malicious files in the following directories of Windows:

  • %Desktop%
  • %User’s Folders%
  • %Temp%

The files that are dropped on the desktop in relation to .pumax ransomware could be the following:

→ !readme.txt
{random name}.exe

After this has been done, the ransomware virus may also tamper with the following Windows Registry sub-keys:

→ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\ScreenSaveTimeOut
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

After this is done, the .pumax variant of STOP ransomware may also execute a .bat file which deletes the backups of your computer by entering some or all of the following commands as an administrator in Windows Command Prompt:

→ sc stop VVS
sc stop wscsvc
sc stop WinDefend
sc stop wuauserv
sc stop BITS
sc stop ERSvc
sc stop WerSvc
cmd.exe /C bcdedit /set {default} recoveryenabled No
cmd.exe /C bcdedit /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe” /C vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet

.pumax Files Virus – Encryption Process

The .pumax files virus is the type of ransomware whose main purpose is to get your files to not work, also known as a cryptovirus. To reach it’s goal, the virus uses the AES-256 encryption algorithm for the file enciphering procedure and it combines this cipher with CFB encryption mode. The files are encrypted with a zero IV and one 32 byte key is generated for the files. The maximum encryption size is 0x500000 byte, which is around 5 MB of space, according to ID Ransomware’s blog post.

To encrypt the files on your computer, the .pumax virus scans for the files, based on their file extensions (.jpg, .avi, .bmp, .png, .docx, etc.). The virus aims to encrypt only files that are important and often used, but it stays away from critical Windows files that may damage your operating system. The file type it aims to encrypt could be the following:

  • Documents.
  • Images.
  • Videos.
  • Archives.
  • Virtual drives.
  • Backup files.
  • Database files.
  • Presentations.
  • Photoshop and other files.

The outcome of the encryption is that the files are no longer usable and they have the .pumax file extension that is added to them. The files look like the following after the encryption:

Remove .pumax Ransomware and Try to Restore Encrypted Files

Before starting to perform any form of removal of this virus, we strongly suggest that you backup your files on a flash drive or other external memory carrier, just in case.

For the removal process of the .pumax files virus, we suggest that you follow the removal instructions underneath this article. They have been created with the main purpose to get you to remove the .pumax virus files and objects either by manually hunting for them or by doing it automatically. For maximum effectiveness during the removal, security experts recommend to remove this virus automatically, preferably by downloading an advanced anti-malware program. This is because such tool aims to make sure that all the files and objects related to .pumax files virus are fully removed and the ransomware is erased completely. More so, such software can also protect your computer against threats in the future as well.

If you want to try and restore as many encrypted files as possible, we would suggest that you follow the file recovery methods in the instructions below. They are alternative means by which you could theoretically bring back at least some of your files, but they are no 100% guarantee to recover all the data.


Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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