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Remove PadCrypt Ransomware and Restore .ETC Files

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Meet PadCrypt, a new addition to the ransomware malware category just detected by malware researchers at abuse(.)ch and analyzed by MalwareHunterTeam. Once installed on a system, PadCrypt will encrypt certain files and append an .ETC extension. The demanded payment is 0.8 Bitcoin, or approximately $320.

NamePadCrypt Ransomware
TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionPadCrypt ransomware has features similar to CryptoWall. It uses the AES algorithm.
SymptomsThe victim’s files are locked and have an .ETC extension appended.
Distribution MethodVia spam email attachments containing PDF files.
Detection ToolDownload Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by PadCrypt Ransomware
User Experience Join our forum to discuss PadCrypt Ransomware.
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.

PadCrypt General Description

Unfortunately, PadCrypt is designed to delete Shadow Volume Copies, but has an uninstaller featured inside its code. Interestingly enough, PadCrypt provides live chat support to its victims, possibly to increase the chance of victims paying the ransom. A live chat support in real time will guide victims through the frustrating payment process, and would act as a guarantee for the decryption key delivery. Currently, this feature is not available because the command & control servers are offline.

Also, the ransomware has a lot in common with CryptoWall, which is not that surprising. Cyber criminals just love to imitate CryptoWall, proven to be one of the most notorious ransomware pieces ever written.
For example, some versions of CryptoWall also had live support, but it was a Web-based chat that was supported by the website where victims would pay the ransom. PadCrypt’s live chat is available directly on the victim’s machine, and the victim doesn’t need to launch a browser or install Tor.

PadCrypt Ransomware Distribution Techniques

Ransomware is often spread in email spam campaigns, featuring malicious email attachments and archive files. Researchers believe that PadCrypt is spread via PDF files attached in the email bofy. Cyber criminals often send specially crafted emails, representing legitimate entities such as governmental institutions or well-known services, to trick users into opening them.

Learn how to increase your protection against spam

Keep in mind that, spam emails aside, ransomware pieces can be dropped by Trojan horses either contained in a malicious attachment or hosted on a malicious website. Trojans also lurk in torrents and p2p pages, and can be installed on a victim’s machine via a drive-by download.

PadCrypt Ransomware Technical Description

Once that malicious PDF file observed in this campaign (possibly named something like DPD_11394029384.pdf.scr) is executed, the user’s machine is infected with PadCrypt. The PDF itself is an executable file renamed with the .scr extension. Once it is executed, the package.pdcr and uninstl.pdcr files are downloaded from the disabled C&C servers, as pointed out by Bleeping Computer.

Researchers have identified the following command & control servers associated with PadCrypt:

  • annaflowersweb(.)com;
  • subzone3.2fh(.)co;
  • cloudnet(.)online.

Other Technical Details

PadCrypt main executable: package.pdcr
PadCrypt uninstaller: uninstl.pdcr

N.B. Both of the files are stored in the %AppData%\PadCrypt folder.

A curious theory about the existence of an uninstaller is that the ransomware creators may have used templates, and as a result the uninstaller was generated automatically, as pointed out by Softpedia.

PadCrypt Ransomware Encryption Process

Once the ransomware is launched, it will scan the local drives for files with certain extensions and will then crypt them via the AES algorithm. As a result, the encrypted files with have the .ENC extension appended to them.
All encrypted files are recorded in the %AppData%\PadCrypt\files.txt file.

The file extensions targeted by PadCrypt are:

→pdf, gif, bmp, jpeg, jpg, png, doc, docx, ppt, ptx, psd, pdn

As mentioned in the beginning, PadCrypt also targets and deletes the Shadow Volume Copies by executing the following command:

→vssadmin delete shadows /for=z: /all /quiet

Once the encryption process is finished, PadCrypt will create an IMPORTANT READ ME.txt file on the desktop, containing ransomware instructions:

IMPORTANT-READ-ME-padcrypt-ransomware-stforum
Image Source: Bleeping Computer

PadCrypt Ransomware Removal Options

Quite curiously, the C&C servers for PadCrypt are currently offline which possibly means that its creators have found flaws in their code (and are probably trying to fix them as we speak). In case of infection, the victim should immediately back up their data and remove the ransomware via a strong anti-malware program. As mentioned, the PadCrypt uninstaller is downloaded during the ransomware installation. However, if the uninstaller is also downloaded from the C&C servers which are currently unavailable, it won’t be available either.

Follow these instructions to clean your system and back up your data.

1. Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove PadCrypt Ransomware

Boot Your PC Into Safe Mode

1. For Windows 7,XP and Vista. 2. For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10.

For Windows XP, Vista, 7 systems:

1. Remove all CDs and DVDs, and then Restart your PC from the “Start” menu.
2. Select one of the two options provided below:

For PCs with a single operating system: Press “F8” repeatedly after the first boot screen shows up during the restart of your computer. In case the Windows logo appears on the screen, you have to repeat the same task again.

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For PCs with multiple operating systems: Тhe arrow keys will help you select the operating system you prefer to start in Safe Mode. Press “F8” just as described for a single operating system.

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3. As the “Advanced Boot Options” screen appears, select the Safe Mode option you want using the arrow keys. As you make your selection, press “Enter“.

4. Log on to your computer using your administrator account

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While your computer is in Safe Mode, the words “Safe Mode” will appear in all four corners of your screen.

Step 1: Open the Start Menu

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Step 2: Whilst holding down Shift button, click on Power and then click on Restart.
Step 3: After reboot, the aftermentioned menu will appear. From there you should choose Troubleshoot.

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Step 4: You will see the Troubleshoot menu. From this menu you can choose Advanced Options.

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Step 5: After the Advanced Options menu appears, click on Startup Settings.

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Step 6: Click on Restart.
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Step 7: A menu will appear upon reboot. You should choose Safe Mode by pressing its corresponding number and the machine will restart.

2. Remove PadCrypt Ransomware with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

Remove PadCrypt Ransomware with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Install SpyHunter to scan for and remove PadCrypt Ransomware.2. Scan with SpyHunter to Detect and Remove PadCrypt Ransomware.
Step 1:Click on the “Download” button to proceed to SpyHunter’s download page.

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It is highly recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter.

Step 2: Guide yourself by the download instructions provided for each browser.
Step 3: After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to automatically update.

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Step1: After the update process has finished, click on the ‘Scan Computer Now’ button.
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Step2: After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any PadCrypt Ransomware files, click on the ‘Fix Threats’ button to remove them automatically and permanently.
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Step3: Once the intrusions on your PC have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart it.

3. Back up your data to secure it against infections and file encryption by PadCrypt Ransomware in the future

Back up your data to secure it against attacks in the future

IMPORTANT! Before reading the Windows backup instructions, we highly recommend to back up your data automatically with cloud backup and insure it against any type of data loss on your device, even the most severe. We recommend reading more about and downloading SOS Online Backup .

To back up your files via Windows and prevent any future intrusions, follow these instructions:

1. For Windows 7 and earlier 1. For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 1. Enabling the Windows Defense Feature (Previous Versions)

1-Click on Windows Start Menu
backup-1
2-Type Backup And Restore
3-Open it and click on Set Up Backup
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4-A window will appear asking you where to set up backup. You should have a flash drive or an external hard drive. Mark it by clicking on it with your mouse then click on Next.
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5-On the next window, the system will ask you what do you want to backup. Choose the ‘Let Me Choose’ option and then click on Next.
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6-Click on ‘Save settings and run backup’ on the next window in order to protect your files from possible attacks by PadCrypt Ransomware.
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1-Press Windows button + R
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2-In the window type ‘filehistory’ and press Enter
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3-A File History window will appear. Click on ‘Configure file history settings’
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4-The configuration menu for File History will appear. Click on ‘Turn On’. After its on, click on Select Drive in order to select the backup drive. It is recommended to choose an external HDD, SSD or a USB stick whose memory capacity is corresponding to the size of the files you want to backup.
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5-Select the drive then click on ‘Ok’ in order to set up file backup and protect yourself from PadCrypt Ransomware.

1- Press Windows button + R keys.
sysdm
2- A run windows should appear. In it type ‘sysdm.cpl’ and then click on Run.
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3- A System Properties windows should appear. In it choose System Protection.
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5- Click on Turn on system protection and select the size on the hard disk you want to utilize for system protection.
6- Click on Ok and you should see an indication in Protection settings that the protection from PadCrypt Ransomware is on.
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Restoring a file via Windows Defense feature:
1-Right-click on the encrypted file, then choose Properties.
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2-Click on the Previous Versions tab and then mark the last version of the file.
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3-Click on Apply and Ok and the file encrypted by PadCrypt Ransomware should be restored.

4. Restore files encrypted by PadCrypt Ransomware

Restore Files Encrypted by PadCrypt Ransomware

Security engineers strongly advise users NOT to pay the ransom money and attempt restoring the files using other methods. Here are several suggestions:

To restore your data, your first bet is to check again for shadow copies in Windows using this software:

Shadow Explorer

If this method does not work, Kaspersky have provided a decryptors for files encrypted with the this and other encryption algorithms:

Kaspersky Decryptors

Another method of restoring your files is by trying to bring back your files via data recovery software. Here are some examples of data recovery programs:

There is also the technical option to use a network sniffer:

Another way to decrypt the files is by using a Network Sniffer to get the encryption key, while files are encrypted on your system. A Network Sniffer is a program and/or device monitoring data traveling over a network, such as its internet traffic and internet packets. If you have a sniffer set before the attack happened you might get information about the decryption key.

It is no guarantee that the methods will work with every file, but some users have reported to us that they managed to restore a small portion of their files. Furhtermore, you can follow our forum topic about TeslaCrypt .mp3. We will keep you updated about TeslaCrypt in case any effective decryptor for the files has been discovered.

Optional: Using Alternative Anti-Malware Tools

Remove PadCrypt Ransomware Using Other Alternative Tools

Malwarebytes Anti-MalwareSTOPZilla Anti Malware
1. Install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to scan for and remove PadCrypt Ransomware.
Step 1: Download Malwarebytes by clicking here.
Step 2: A pop-up window will appear. Click on the ‘Save File’ button. If it does not, click on the Download button and save it afterwards.
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Step 3: After you have downloaded the setup, simply open it.
Step 4: The installer should appear. Click on the ‘Next’ button.
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Step 5: Check the ‘I accept the agreement’ check circle if not checked if you accept it and click the ‘Next’ button once again.
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Step 6: Review and click on ‘Next’ on the following 4 steps that will appear afterwards and after that click on the ‘Install’ button.
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Step 7: After the installation process has completed click on the ‘Finish’ button and check the ‘Launch MalwareBytes AntiMalware’ check box.

2. Scan your PC with MalwareBytes to remove all PadCrypt Ransomware associated files automatically.

Step 1: Launch MalwareBytes if you havent launched it after install.
Step 2: Wait for the software to update and then click on the blue ‘Scan Now’ button. If it doesnt start updating automatically, click on the blue ‘Update Now’ highlighted text.
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Step 3: At this point, after clicking the ‘Scan Now’ button, the system should start scanning your PC. It may take a while but be patient – it is worth it.
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Step 4: After the scan has been complete and all of the threats have been identified, click on the ‘Remove Selected’ button to delete them permanently.
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Step 5: Once the scan has completed, MalwareBytes will prompt you to restart your computer. It is recommended to save all your data you are working on before restarting.

1. Download and Install STOPZilla Anti-malware to Scan for And Remove PadCrypt Ransomware.
Step 1: Download STOPZilla by clicking here.
Step 2: A pop-up window will appear. Click on the ‘Save File’ button. If it does not, click on the Download button and save it afterwards.
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Step 3: After you have downloaded the setup, simply open it.
Step 4: The installer should appear. Click on the ‘Next’ button.
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Step 5: Check the ‘I accept the agreement’ check circle if not checked if you accept it and click the ‘Next’ button once again.
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Step 6: Review and click on the ‘Install’ button.
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Step 7: After the installation process has completed click on the ‘Finish’ button.

2. Scan your PC with STOPZilla Anti Malware to remove all PadCrypt Ransomware associated files completely.
Step 1: Launch STOPZilla if you haven’t launched it after install.
Step 2: Wait for the software to automatically scan and then click on the ‘Repair Now’ button. If it does not scan automatically, click on the ‘Scan Now’ button.
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Step 3: After the removal of all threats and associated objects, you should Restart your PC.

NOTE! Substantial notification about the PadCrypt Ransomware threat: Manual removal of PadCrypt Ransomware requires interference with system files and registries. Thus, it can cause damage to your PC. Even if your computer skills are not at a professional level, don’t worry. You can do the removal yourself just in 5 minutes, using a malware removal tool.
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Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum for 4 years. Enjoys ‘Mr. Robot’ and fears ‘1984’. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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