PokemonGO ransomware - How to remove?
The obsession with PokemonGo game is not a phenomenon to be easily subsided. As gradually more players engage with this application, the more this world of Pokemon begins to be introduced into shady affairs. This time, a ransomware infection, taking over victims’ computers, is spotted to have a payload identified as PokemonGo.exe file. To make it more believe, it has an adorable icon of a jumping pikachu. However, there is nothing innocent or usual about this file: it is the center of a ransomware virus and we cannot stress its hazardousness enough. PokemonGo ransomware can be only targeting Arabic-speaking countries, since the ransom note is written in this language. Be aware of this threat and make sure that the sly executable is not lurking somewhere in your computer’s folders.
About PokemonGO Ransomware
PokemonGO virus invades computers and causes significant changes to the compromised devices. It creates a separate user account which can be spotted as “Hack3r”. Furthermore, it modifies Windows Registry Keys in a way to be launched together with other applications. After you become infected, crooks are making sure that a majority of your files would become encrypted. It has selected to ruin stored data with the AES-256 cipher for encryption. This algorithm makes audio, video and other documents unavailable for access. Such encoding is a rather scary feature of PokemonGO virus: there is a strong possibility to permanently lose all of your material. That is why frightened victims sometimes feel like there is no choice but to pay the demanded fee for their files. After PokemonGO virus is successful at encrypting all your files and making them unavailable, it adds a very common extension to the encoded casualties: .locked. Of course, it would not be a real ransomware if PokemonGO virus would not leave behind a ransom note. هام جدا.txt can be spotted on the infected devices’ desktops. Its content is rather laconic and does not provide a lot of information.
“(: لقد تم تشفير ملفاتكم, لفك الشفرة فلكسي موبيليس للعنوان التالي email@example.com وشكرا على كرمكم مسبقا”
The translation to English looks something like this:
“(: Your files have been encrypted, decoding Falaksa Mobilis following address firstname.lastname@example.org and thank you in advance for your generosity.”
How to Decrypt Files Encrypted by PokemonGO Ransomware?
PokemonGO virus might offer to decrypt your files if you pay enough money but you should never actually choose this option. The amount of ransom is not indicated so it can depend on the severity of the accomplished encryption. It is highly recommended not to even bother to contact hackers via the provided email address. Grasp the truth that such shady programmers only care about money: not keeping their affairs in honest order. If you send them money, that does not mean you will be get the key for decryption. You can try to retrieve files from backup storages, utilize universal file-recovery tools and check if the Shadow Volume Copies are deleted.
How is PokemonGO Ransomware Distributed?
PokemonGO virus can be spotted as PokemonGO.exe file. This payload can be spread around in a couple of ways. One possibility is that email accounts receive a letter, offering internet users to download a new variant of PokemonGO. Users should never open such messages and never go as far as to download the offered attachment. It is very likely that a ransomware payload might be the appended addition. Furthermore, this type of viruses can be passed on by drive-by download. Make sure not to visit unreliable domains that might have malicious executables uploaded in them.
PokemonGO virus can be automatically eliminated with Reimage, Spyhunter or Hitman. For more information, regarding the decrypting and manual removal, scroll down. We offer to seriously consider getting the earlier mentioned anti-malware tools if you are a cautious visitor.
How to recover PokemonGO ransomware encrypted files and remove the virus
Using System Restore to restore PC to previous state
1. Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
for Windows 7 / Vista/ XP
- Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
- Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
for Windows 8 / 10
- Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart.
- Choose Troubleshoot → Advanced Options → Startup Settings and click Restart.
- When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings.
2. Restore System files and settings.
- When Command Prompt mode loads, enter cd restore and press Enter.
- Then enter rstrui.exe and press Enter again.
- Click “Next” in the windows that appeared.
- Select one of the Restore Points that are available before PokemonGO virus has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
3. Complete removal of PokemonGO ransomware
4. Restore PokemonGO ransomware affected files using Shadow Volume Copies
If you do not use System Restore option on your operating system, there is a chance to use shadow copy snapshots. They store copies of your files that point of time when the system restore snapshot was created. Usually PokemonGO virus tries to delete all possible Shadow Volume Copies, so this methods may not work on all computers. However, it may fail to do so.
Shadow Volume Copies are only available with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. There are two ways to retrieve your files via Shadow Volume Copy. You can do it using native Windows Previous Versions or via Shadow Explorer.
a) Native Windows Previous Versions
Right-click on an encrypted file and select Properties>Previous versions tab. Now you will see all available copies of that particular file and the time when it was stored in a Shadow Volume Copy. Choose the version of the file you want to retrieve and click Copy if you want to save it to some directory of your own, or Restore if you want to replace existing, encrypted file. If you want to see the content of file first, just click Open.
b) Shadow Explorer
It is a program that can be found online for free. You can download either a full or a portable version of Shadow Explorer. Open the program. On the left top corner select the drive where the file you are looking for is a stored. You will see all folders on that drive. To retrieve a whole folder, right-click on it and select “Export”. Then choose where you want it to be stored.
5. Use Data Recovery programs to recover PokemonGO ransomware encrypted files
There are several data recovery programs that might recover encrypted files as well. This does not work in all cases but you can try this:
- We suggest using another PC and connect the infected hard drive as slave. It is still possible to do this on infected PC though.
- Download Data Recovery Pro (commercial)
- Install and scan for recently deleted files.
Note: In many cases it is impossible to restore data files affected by modern ransomware. Thus I recommend using decent cloud backup software as precaution. We recommend checking out Carbonite, BackBlaze, CrashPlan or Mozy Home.