THREAT REMOVAL

Remove PokemonGO Ransomware and Restore .locked Files

STF-pokemongo-ransomware-pokemon-go-virus-happy-pikachu-screensaver

PokemonGO now has a ransomware virus counterpart – an executable file with the name PokemonGo.exe and an icon of the Pikachu pokemon. Fans of the latest trend in the gaming world might be tricked to open the file and find their files encrypted. Based on the HiddenTear project, this ransomware will also put the .locked extension to encrypted files as other similar viruses.

Read the full article to see how to remove the ransomware and possibly decrypt your files.

Threat Summary

NamePokemonGO
TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionThe ransomware encrypts all important files and displays a ransom note, giving out instructions on paying the ransom.
SymptomsThe ransomware will encrypt files with and put the .locked extension to each file.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, File Sharing Networks, .Exe Files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss PokemonGO.
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.

PokemonGO Ransomware – Infection Spread

STF-pokemongo-ransomware-pokemon-go-virus-icon-executable-sad-pikachu

PokemonGO ransomware spreads with an executable file named PokemonGo.exe as you can see in the picture on the right. It uses an icon of the pokemon Pikachu, which is emblematic for the world of these “pocket monsters”, that the game is about. Thus, the clever wrapper of the ransomware can trick hundreds if not thousands of people into opening it. The .exe file could be found across spam mail distributing electronic letters with malicious attachments, for instance.

File-sharing services and social media networks might also be used, as well as exploit kits in the future. Be careful with your online activity and avoid suspicious mails, websites, links and files.

PokemonGO Ransomware – A Detailed Look

PokemonGO ransomware is based on the HiddenTear project. It is named after the very popular Pokémon GO video game that became a worldwide phenomenon earlier this summer. The ransom note is written in Arabic. Thus, it is possible that mainly Arabic countries are targeted. In the past, the Arab world had banned all Pokemon games but has embraced the latest Pokemon Go craze. Thus, it is understandable that many people might search for it from Arab speaking countries. That does not exclude the possibility of other people to get their PCs compromised.

PokemonGO ransomware will create a user account named “Hack3r” on a compromised computer as you can see below:

STF-pokemongo-ransomware-pokemon-go-virus-hack3r-account

The following key in the Windows registry will be created, in accordance with the user profile:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList “Hack3r” = 0

The following Windows registry key will also be created, which makes the ransomware more persistent and starts it with each loading of the Windows Operating System:

HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run “PokemonGo”

On top of it all, the PokemonGO ransomware makes an Autorun.inf file, which will automatically start the ransomware upon the connection of any removable drive to the computer. This is what is found inside that file:

[AutoRun] OPEN=PokemonGo.exe
ICON=PokemonGo.exe

The ransomware was found in the wild by the malware researcher Michael Gillespie. It is thought that the virus might still be in development or could be tweaked more in the near future, but it looks nasty enough from now.

The PokemonGO ransomware places the .locked file extension on each of the encrypted files. After that process is complete, the file هام جدا.txt is placed on the desktop, containing the ransom instructions. The name of the file is translated as “very important”. The ransomware creates a screensaver with the same text as the ransom message:

STF-pokemongo-ransomware-pokemon-go-virus-happy-pikachu-screensaver

The text from that ransom note reads:

(: لقد تم تشفير ملفاتكم, لفك الشفرة فلكسي موبيليس للعنوان التالي me.blackhat20152015@mt2015.com وشكرا على كرمكم مسبقا

It is in Arabic, but a rough English translation of the ransom note will look like the following:

(: Your files have been encrypted, decoding on Falaksa Mobilis following address me.blackhat20152015@mt2015.com and thank you in advance for your generosity.

As you can see from the ransom note, it is written in Arabic. Only an email is left as a contact with the cyber criminals. Possibly the price is negotiable, but you shouldn’t be liable to such extortion. Do not pay the criminals, as this will only motivate them and support their illegal actions. No guarantee exists that you will get your files back.

→.asp, .aspx, .csv, .doc, .docx, .txt, .xls, .xlsx, .xml, .htm, .html, .sln, .sql, .mdb, .mht, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .php, .pptx, .ppt, .psd, .png, .jpg, .gif

All these file extension types are the most widespread ones used for storing the personal information of users. They will be encrypted with the .locked extension as other similar HiddenTear ransomware viruses do. The PokemonGO ransomware utilizes an AES 256-bit algorithm for the encryption.

PokemonGO ransomware is not reported to delete the Shadow Volume Copies from the Windows operating system, but it is a very probable outcome.

Remove PokemonGO Ransomware and Restore .locked Files

If your computer machine got infected with the PokemonGO ransomware, you should have some experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this ransomware as quickly as possible before it encrypts other files and spreads deeper in the network you use. The recommended action for you is to remove the ransomware effectively by following the step-by-step instructions manual provided down below.

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Berta Bilbao

Berta is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space. Her fascination with IT security began a few years ago when a malware locked her out of her own computer.

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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.


OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy


Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove PokemonGO from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove PokemonGO

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall PokemonGO 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. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by PokemonGO on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by PokemonGO there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for PokemonGO with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is 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. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by PokemonGO.

Ransomware infections and PokemonGO 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.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

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.


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of PokemonGO from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall PokemonGO and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to PokemonGO:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to PokemonGO. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to PokemonGO. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • 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 PokemonGO 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:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as PokemonGO. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for PokemonGO:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by PokemonGO.

Ransomware infections and PokemonGO 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.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

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.


PokemonGO FAQ

What is PokemonGO ransomware and how does it work?

PokemonGO 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 PokemonGO ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.PokemonGO 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 PokemonGO 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 .PokemonGO files?

You can't. At this point the .PokemonGO 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 .PokemonGO files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by PokemonGO 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 ".PokemonGO" files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .PokemonGO 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 PokemonGO 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 PokemonGO ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .PokemonGO files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like PokemonGO 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.

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