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|
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|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.
What is Purge Ransomware?
Purge 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.
Can Purge Ransomware Cayse Damage?
Yes, ransomware can damage your computer. Ransomware is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.
Should I Ignore Viruses, Like Purge?
No, you should never ignore ransomware. It can encrypt your data and block access to your computer, making it impossible to access your files until you pay a ransom.
Ignoring ransomware could lead to the permanent loss of your data, as well as the potential for the ransomware to spread to other computers on your network. Additionally, paying the ransom does not guarantee that your data will be recovered.
How Does Purge Infect?
Via several ways.Purge 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.
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 Purge 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 .Purge files?
You can't. At this point, the .Purge files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryptionkey 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 .Purge files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore ".Purge" Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Purge 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 Purge 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 Purge ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Purge files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like Purge ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts.
What to Do If I Cant Get The Files Back?
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 can be re-downloaded from the web.
- Another clever way 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.
How to 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 Purge 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.
Why Is the Ransom Paid in Crypto?
Cryptocurrency is a secure and untraceable form of payment, making it the ideal choice for ransom payments. It is difficult to trace, and the transactions are almost instantaneous. This means it is nearly impossible for authorities to track the payment and recover the money.
Can 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 Purge Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Purge 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.
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.