There is a copycat of the CryptoWall 3.0 Ransomware that is infecting computers. It is also known as PhonyWall. It searches for files with many different extensions, overwrites them with its own files and then displays the decryption note of CryptoWall 3.0.
|Short Description||The PhonyWall Ransomware overwrites a huge portion of the user’s files and demands a payment. Poses as the CryptoWall 3.0 Ransomware.|
|Symptoms||Files are overwritten with the same file size, but unusable. A ransom message is displayed. Information about payment and “decryption” are included in a file that is a copy of CryptoWall’s decryption instructions.|
|Distribution Method||It can be distributed through browsing unsafe sites, malicious email attachments, drive-by downloads, etc.|
|Detection Tool||Download Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware|
|User Experience||Join our forum to discuss the PhonyWall Ransomware.|
PhonyWall Ransomware – How Did I Get It?
There are a number of ways you could get infected with Trojans such as the PhonyWall Ransomware.
The most common distribution method is known to be through malicious email attachments and spam emails. There are even cases, where an email itself also contains malicious code and upon opening the email, the user infects its computer with it, even if he doesn’t open the attachment inside.
Around social networks and file sharing services there may be similar attachments and files containing the PhonyWall Ransomware, disguised as something else.
Another common way of getting infected with Ransomware is through exploit kits run from legitimate websites. For exploit kits to run, these websites must have been compromised, to have some sort of a security breach. Also, landing suspicious sites with malicious code on them may just as easily get you infected.
PhonyWall Ransomware – In Detail
The PhonyWall Trojan horse is also classified as Ransomware. It is a copycat of CryptoWall 3.0, although not as dangerous. There have been other Ransomware Copycats in the past, pretending to be some other Ransomware. When PhonyWall is executed on a compromised computer it will first create the following two files:
→%UserProfile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\[Random Symbols].exe
→%AllUsersProfile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\[Random Symbols].exe
When those two files are created and hidden, it will inject entries into the Windows Registry:
→HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\[Random Symbols] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\[Random Symbols]\Type = 0x10
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\[Random Symbols]\Start = 2
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\[Random Symbols]\ErrorControl =1
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\[Random Symbols]\ImagePath =”%ALL_USERS%\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\[Random Symbols].exe” -run [Parameter] HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\[Random Symbols]\DisplayName= “CheckDisk Service”
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\[Random Symbols]\Description= “Creates and displays a status report for a disk based on the file system. Chkdsk also lists and corrects errors on the disk.”
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CURRENTCONTROLSET\ENUM\ROOT\LEGACY_[Random Symbols] HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run=”%USERAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\[Random Symbols].exe”-run [Parameter]
The [Parameter] is such, that is passed when the original file is executed.
Afterwards, the Ransomware will overwrite files with ones of the same file size. It will overwrite all files it can find on a compromised computer except files with the following strings, being extensions or prefixes:
→ *.scr *.exe *.msi *.msu *.dll *.ocx *.ax *.com *.sys *.lnk *.inf bootmgr ntldr boot.inintuser.*
The PhonyWall Ransomware does not overwrite files in these directories: Boot, Windows, Program Files settings, System Volume Information. So, System Restore Points and Shadow Volume Copies will still be available and the thing is the program only overwrites files and does NOT encrypt them. It is just trying to scare you into paying the requested sum of money under the false pretense of being CryptoWall 3.0.
The PhonyWall Ransomware will terminate the following processes on the computer:
The Ransomware, then creates a DESCRYPTION_INSTRUCTION.html file. That ransom note instruction file is an exact copy of the CryptoWall 3 one. Although, the user ID for every victim is always “vRRRbw”. The difference here is that CryptoWall uses different, individual keys for each infected computer.
Remove PhonyWall Ransomware Completely
To completely remove the PhonyWall Ransomware Trojan from your computer, you should have at least minimal experience in removing viruses. It is highly recommended to first to back up all of your personal files that you value, no matter if it is encrypted. Afterwards, carefully follow the instructions provided here:
After its removal, you might try recovering your files, using backups from an external device or cloud if you made such backups in the past, using Windows Restore Points or Shadow Volume Copies.
Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.
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.
- Guide 1: How to Remove PhonyWall Ransomware from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of PhonyWall Ransomware from Mac OS X.
How to Remove PhonyWall Ransomware from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove PhonyWall Ransomware
Step 2: Uninstall PhonyWall Ransomware and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by PhonyWall Ransomware on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by PhonyWall Ransomware there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Step 4: Scan for PhonyWall Ransomware with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by PhonyWall Ransomware.
Ransomware infections and PhonyWall Ransomware aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.
Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.
Get rid of PhonyWall Ransomware from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall PhonyWall Ransomware and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove PhonyWall Ransomware via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by PhonyWall Ransomware on your Mac.
Ransomware for Mac PhonyWall Ransomware aims to encode all your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decode, unless you pay money.
This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files, but only in some cases. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.
PhonyWall Ransomware FAQ
What is PhonyWall Ransomware ransomware and how does it work?
PhonyWall Ransomware 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 algorithm how 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.
How does PhonyWall Ransomware ransomware infect my computer?
Via several ways.PhonyWall Ransomware Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, 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 PhonyWall Ransomware 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 .PhonyWall Ransomware files?
You can't. At this point the .PhonyWall Ransomware files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.
Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?
Do not panic and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .PhonyWall Ransomware files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
One way to restore files, encrypted by PhonyWall Ransomware ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.
How Do I restore ".PhonyWall Ransomware" files (Other Methods)?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .PhonyWall Ransomware files.
These methods are in no way 100% guarantee that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.
How do I get rid of PhonyWall Ransomware ransomware virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate PhonyWall Ransomware ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .PhonyWall Ransomware files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like PhonyWall Ransomware ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.
What to Do If nothing works?
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 it can be re-downloaded from the web.
- Another clever way to get back some of your files 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.