The PwndLocker Ransomware is a ransomware that is designed to infect target networks and computers. There is no information available about the hacking group behind it. It features several advanced modules which are designed to cause a lot of system issues.
Once the PwndLocker Ransomware has started it will execute its built-in sequence of dangerous commands. Depending on local conditions or the specific hacker instructions various actions will take place. The file encryption will begin after them — the encrypting component will use a built-in list of target file type extensions. In the end the victim files will be renamed with a designated extension.
|The ransomware encrypts files on your computer machine and demands a ransom to be paid to allegedly restore them.
|The ransomware will blackmail the victims to pay them a decryption fee. Sensitive user data may be encrypted by the ransomware code.
|Spam Emails, Email Attachments
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PwndLocker Virus March 2020 Update
As a complex ransomware threat the PwndLocker virus has been under analysis by malware security experts. The first detected samples that originate from this family date back to the late months of 2019. Ever since the first organized attacks have been detected there have been numerous victims across the globe. The malware has been used both against individual end users and also organizations and companies. Depending on the preset configuration options and system variables a different ransom note sum can be requested from the victims — $175,000 to over $660,000.
When the PwndLocker virus is started on a given machine the main engine will stop services and processes that it deems that can block the proper functioning of the ransomware. This includes backup programs, anti-virus engines and some Microoft Windows services. The full list includes the following:
CSFalconService, McAfeeFramework, Alerter, AcronisAgent, Acronis VSS Provider, BackupExecAgentAccelerator, BackupExecDeviceMediaService,
BackupExecJobEngine, BackupExecManagementService, BackupExecRPCService, BackupExecVSSProvider, DFSR, EPIntegrationService, EPProtectedService,
EPSecurityService, EPUpdateService, MB3Service, MBAMService, MBEndpointAgent, MSExchangeES, MSExchangeMGMT, MSExchangeMTA, MSExchangeSA,
MSExchangeSRS, MSExchangeADTopology, MSExchangeDelivery, MSExchangeDiagnostics, MSExchangeEdgeSync, MSExchangeHM, MSExchangeHMRecovery,
MSExchangeIS, MSExchangeMailboxReplication, MSExchangeRPC, MSExchangeRepl, MSExchange ServiceHost, MSExchangeTransport, MSExchangeUM,
MSExchangeUMCR, MSOLAP$*, MSSQLSERVER, MsDtsServer, MySQL57, OSearch15, OracleClientCache80, QuickBooksDB25, SPAdminV4, SPSearchHost Controller,
SPTraceV4, SPUserCodeV4, SPWriterV4, SQLBrowser, SQLSafeOLRService, SQLsafe Backup Service, SQLSERVERAGENT, SQLTELEMETRY, SQLBackups, SQLAgent$*,
MSSQL$*, MSMQ, Report Server, ReportServer$*, SQLWriter, SQLBackupAgent, Symantec System Recovery, SyncoveryVSSService, VeeamBackupSvc, VeeamCatalogSvc,
VeeamCloudSvc, VeeamEndpointBackupSvc, VeeamEnterpriseManagerSvc, VeeamMountSvc, VeeamNFSSvc, VeeamRESTSvc, VeeamTransportSvc.”Veeam Backup Catalog Data Service,
epag, epredline, mozyprobackup, masvc, macmnsvc, mfemms, McAfeeDLPAgentService, psqlWGE, swprv, wsbexchange, WinVNC4, TMBMServer, tmccsf, tmlisten, VSNAPVSS,
stc_endpt_svc, wbengine, bbagent, NasPmService, BASupportExpressStandaloneService_N_Central, BASupportExpressSrvcUpdater_N_Central, hasplms, EqlVss,
EqlReqService, RapidRecoveryAgent, YTBackup, vhdsvc, TeamViewer, MSOLAP$SQL_2008, MSOLAP$SYSTEM_BGC, MSOLAP$TPS, MSOLAP$TPSAMA, MSSQL$BKUPEXEC, MSSQL$ECWDB2,
MSSQL$PRACTICEMGT, MSSQL$PRACTTICEBGC, MSSQL$PROD, MSSQL$PROFXENGAGEMENT, MSSQL$SBSMONITORING, MSSQL$SHAREPOINT, MSSQL$SOPHOS, MSSQL$SQL_2008,
MSSQL$SQLEXPRESS, MSSQL$SYSTEM_BGC, MSSQL$TPS, MSSQL$TPSAMA, MSSQL$VEEAMSQL2008R2, MSSQL$VEEAMSQL2012, MSSQLFDLauncher, MSSQLFDLauncher$PROFXENGAGEMENT,
MSSQLFDLauncher$SBSMONITORING, MSSQLFDLauncher$SHAREPOINT, MSSQLFDLauncher$SQL_2008, MSSQLFDLauncher$SYSTEM_BGC, MSSQLFDLauncher$TPS, MSSQLFDLauncher$TPSAMA,
MSSQLSERVER, MSSQLServerADHelper, MSSQLServerADHelper100, MSSQLServerOLAPService, SQLAgent$BKUPEXEC, SQLAgent$CITRIX_METAFRAME, SQLAgent$CXDB,
SQLAgent$ECWDB2, SQLAgent$PRACTTICEBGC, SQLAgent$PRACTTICEMGT, SQLAgent$PROD, SQLAgent$PROFXENGAGEMENT, SQLAgent$SBSMONITORING, SQLAgent$SHAREPOINT,
SQLAgent$SOPHOS, SQLAgent$SQL_2008, SQLAgent$SQLEXPRESS, SQLAgent$SYSTEM_BGC, SQLAgent$TPS, SQLAgent$TPSAMA, SQLAgent$VEEAMSQL2008R2, SQLAgent$VEEAMSQL2012,
ReportServer$SQL_2008, ReportServer$SYSTEM_BGC, ReportServer$TPS, ReportServer$TPSAMA
Following this the next step in the encryption process will be to delete Shadow Volume Copies and other backups. This will make file recovery very difficult. As for the encryption a custom cipher will be used to rename the process and rename the target user data.
PwndLocker Virus Overview
The PwndLocker virus is an advanced ransomware which has been found to infect victims across the world — the latest attack was found to be set against Lasalle country in the US state of Illinois. Soon after the first attacks another campaign was launched against the city of Novi Sad in Serbia. It appears that the hackers are experienced enough to have organised and run these campaigns. There is no information available about the hacking group behind the attacks — as the security analysis continues we may gain more information about the possible origins of the criminals. According to one of the reports this sample may be a derivative of the Hakbit virus.
At the moment there is no single attack mechanism used to spread the virus files, as such we anticipate that the most popular extensions have been used:
- Phishing Emails — They are used to manipulate the victims into thinking that they are receiving a legitimate notification or service message. The contents of these messages may originate from a domain name which sounds very similar to well-known companies and services.
- Infected Files — The virus code can be be placed in multiple types of files — the two most popular types are infected documents which can be of all popular formats and malicious setup bundles. The criminals will create the dangerous files and send them over to the intended victims using different types of channels — they may be inserted and attached as files in messages or file-sharing networks like BitTorrent.
- Online Communities — The virus files can be easily linked and attached over forums, chatrooms, social networks and etc.
- Active Attacks — The virus files can be used to exploit existing vulnerabilities in a given system. When a potential weakness is found the hackers will use special scripts in order to intrude onto the computers and their associated networks.
When the virus infection is started a series of dangerous actions will occur. The PwndLocker virus will start a sequence of the built-in modules and components. According to the hacker configuration one of the first actions that are started will be related to the security bypass function — the main virus will attempt to disable key operating system processes and user-installed security apps. Apart from other viruses PwndLocker will also stop the following running programs:
Veeam, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Exchange, Acronis, Zoolz, Backup Exec, Oracle and the Internet Information Server (IIS).
During the analysis the researchers also uncovered that the virus will stop any running office programs. Files removal will also take place — key data will be removed including Backups and Shadow Volume Copies — this means that the restore process will be very difficult unless a combination of a data recovery and anti-malware programs are used.
The captured samples will start the encryption engine, but instead of using the traditional approach and using only a list of target file extensions, two distinct types of blacklists will be used as well. The first one is the inclusion of files that are to be skipped by the virus engine:
.exe, .dll, .lnk, .ico, .ini, .msi, .chm, .sys, .hlf, .lng, .inf, .ttf, .cmd, .bat, .vhd, .bac, .bak, .wbc, .bkf, .set, .win, .dsk
All data found in these folders will also be skipped:
System Volume Information
Kaspersky Lab Setup Files
Windows Media Player
Windows Photo Viewer
Windows Portable Devices
The PwndLocker virus will start to encrypt all of the files which are placed in the list of data that is to be encrypted. A strong cipher will be used to process them. Depending on the exact version of the acquired ransomware the victim files will receive the .key or .pwnd extension. The hackers can change the extensions in order to differentiate between victims of the virus versions, it is possible that other extensions can be added as well.
A ransom note will be created in a file called H0w_T0_Rec0very_Files.txt which will be placed on the user’s desktop. Its main goal is to manipulate the victims into paying the hackers a decryption fee to access their data.
Remove PwndLocker Ransomware
If your computer system got infected with the PwndLocker Files 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 PwndLocker virus Ransomware?
PwndLocker 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 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 PwndLocker virus 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 PwndLocker virus Infect?
Via several ways.PwndLocker virus 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 PwndLocker 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 .PwndLocker virus files?
You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the .PwndLocker virus 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 .PwndLocker virus files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore ".PwndLocker virus" Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .PwndLocker virus 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 PwndLocker virus 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 PwndLocker virus ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .PwndLocker virus 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 PwndLocker virus 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 PwndLocker virus Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this PwndLocker virus 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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