A ransomware virus pretending to be the notorious Purge ransomware, discovered back in August, 2016 has been reported to infect users via multiple methods and encrypt their files after which add the same file extension as the older virus – .purge. The ransomware then drops a completely different ransom note than the original purge in which demands are made to conduct a ransom payoff to the cyber-criminals and successfully recover the encrypted files.
|Short Description||Pretends to be the original Purge ransomware. Encrypts files and then adds a lock screen which is unlockable.|
|Symptoms||Files are encrypted with the .purge file extension and a lockscreen is added, demanding $250 to be paid as a ransom.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by Purge |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Purge.|
|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.|
How Does Purge Ransomware Spread
In order to infect as many users as it’s resources allow it, the Purge ransomware virus can be present in different forms online. The most widely used method which accounts to over 80% of the ransomware infections out there Is via spammed e-mail messages which have malicious e-mail attachments embedded within them. Such attachments may be actually loaders or other infection type of files that may cause additional damage to the computer of the user.
The content of the e-mails may only pretend to be legitimate. Usually fake e-mail topics are used, like:
- “PayPal Receipt.”
- “Bank Account Has been Suspended.”
- “Delivery Confirmation Notice.”
The messages themselves may contain e-mail attachments which may resemble to be Microsoft Office documents as well as pictures or other types of legitimate files, the user may be tricked into opening. These files may have obfuscation layer of code to hide this Purge ransomware variant from the computer from the user.
New Purge Ransomware Analysis
When the victim opens the infection file on his computer, he immediately becomes infected by this ransomware virus. The infection files are usually located in the system Windows folders, like:
- %User’s Profile%
These files may usually contain several different types of names:
- Completely random names (A-Z, a-z, 0-9).
- Names that are the same as legitimate Windows processes.
- Names that pretend to be a program or a game.
After dropping it’s malicious files, Purge Ransomware may modify the registry editor of the infected computer, more specifically target the Run and RunOnce sub-keys, which have the following locations:
In these Windows registry entries, multiple different registry values with custom data in them are created to run the malicious executables of Purge ransomware on the computer of the victim when Windows starts up.
In addition to this activity, Purge ransomware may also delete the Shadow Volume Copies of the infected computers. This is achievable by running the vssadmin command as an administrator in Windows:
Purge Ransomware Encryption Process
For the file encryption, the virus may use an AES encryption algorithm, the decryption for which may take significant time to crack. The only exception to this is if the virus has it’s master key embedded in it’s code or other flaws and exploits that may allow experts to reverse-engineer it.
In addition to this, the virus may also use a technology known by many as CBC-mode (cipher block chaining). This mode aims to make the encrypted files on your computer Tamper – resistant. As soon as you try to directly decrypt the files, they may break indefinitely, if Purge ransomware uses this mode. And what is worse, there is no way to notify you of this issue.
After the encryption process has completed, similar to other ransomware viruses, Purge adds a ransom note, with the following content:
YOUR FILES ARE ENCRYPTED
All your files have been encrypted by Purge Ransomware! but dont worry. i wont delete them.
All you got to do is pay 250 USD to get your files back. after purchase.
type the code in the box and press the Decrypt button. if failed to make purchase.
your files will NOT deleted. but they will be encrypted until purchase. so dont freak.
i am a kind ransomware. i wont delete the files
button “I PAID NOW GIVE ME MY FILES BACK”
For the encryption, Purge targets documents, audio files, videos, photos, archives and many file types that are often used. After the encryption process is completed, the ransomware adds the .purge file extension to the files encrypted by it:
Remove Purge Ransomware and Restore Encrypted Files
Before beginning the actual removal process of this ransomware virus, we recommend that you focus on backing your files up, just in case. To do this, you need to unlock the lockscreen of the virus first, by typing “TotallyNotStupid” in the code box. Then, you can proceed into removing this threat preferably by following the instructions in the steps below. Ofcourse, manuall removal will work for you, but since Purge ransomware creates multiple different types of mutexes and interferes with System processes of Windows, it is better to use a ransomware-specific removal tool, experts advise.
If you want to restore your files, we recommend staying away from direct decryption tools. If you have backed up the encrypted files, you should try alternative methods that go around direct decryption, like the ones we have suggested I step “2. Restore Files Encrypted by Purge” below. They are not 100% effective, but are created to help you restore as many files as it is possible via them.