Did you notice that your files refuse to open and their names end with the “pahd” extension? Are there notes in your folders asking you to pay up to $980 to “return all your files”?
These are symptoms of the Pahd ransomware, new data-encrypting malware related to the Djvu family. Pahd attacks Windows computers and spreads with pirated software.
Pahd Ransomware quicklinks
- How Pahd ransomware works
- Signs of a Pahd attack
- Part of a family of ransomware
- How to get your data back
- How to delete Pahd ransomware
- Important -- edit the hosts file to unblock security websites
- Find and edit the hosts file
- Download and run the antivirus program
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to recover Pahd Ransomware encrypted files and remove the virus
- Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
- 1. Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt:
- 2.Restore System files and settings.
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Pahd Ransomware encrypted files
Pahd ransomware in short:
|Harm caused by Pahd||It encrypts data and hides the decryption key,
it changes various settings, making the infected computer harder to use,
it may be installed together with more malware.
|Can the encrypted data be restored?||Paying the ransom is dangerous,
there’s a chance that your decryption key is not unique,
it’s possible that some files can be partially repaired.
|How to delete Pahd||Restore the settings that were changed by Pahd,
delete Pahd and other malware with antivirus tools (such as Spyhunter) or by formatting your drive,
protect your accounts.
How Pahd ransomware works
Signs of a Pahd attack
A Pahd ransomware infection can be recognized by a few symptoms:
- Your computer temporarily slows down, some programs quit on their own, a fake Windows Update pop-up might appear.
- After a while, files won’t open, their icons are the blank page, and they have a second file type extension “pahd”, with Windows listing their file type as “PAHD”.
- Text notes called “_readme.txt” appear in some folders. These notes have a message from the people responsible for Pahd – “pay a ransom to get your files back”, to paraphrase.
- Some antivirus programs are disabled or have their updates deleted. Some websites won’t load. Task Manager may be disabled.
If you don’t have file extension view enabled, you can do that in File Explorer settings. Either way, you should notice that files refuse to open. If you do open them, like text files, you might see that their contents show random symbols.
These files are encrypted and the only way to fix them is to decrypt them with the correct decryption key. While the decryption software is available, the decryption keys are unique to each of Pahd’s victims (in most cases).
This is where the ransom comes in – the extortionists want their victims to send them money in exchange for a chance to get their files back.
Part of a family of ransomware
Ransomware infections in this family tend to spread in pirating sites. They are downloaded by malicious cracks, keygens, as well as “free” Adobe, Microsoft, and other programs. Pahd is likely to be downloaded together with spyware and adware.
How to get your data back
If you had no backups or if you lost them in the Pahd attack, then how can you get your files back?
Don’t pay the ransom to the people behind Pahd unless you absolutely have to. You can never trust extortionists to not just take your money and then ignore you. If you do contact the operators of Pahd, hide your identity and personal information from the criminals.
Look into the Emsisoft decryptor. It checks whether your files were encrypted with a unique key. Scan your Pahd-encrypted files and see if recovery by using someone else’s decryption key is possible.
Finally, consider file repair. Pahd only encrypts some files partially. For instance, you may still be able to play Pahd’encrypted audio recordings, sans the first few seconds. You should also be able to extract archives marked with the Pahd extension, though the first couple of files will be corrupted. You may even be able to repair some photographs and other files.
There are file recovery programs that can undelete files from hard drives (but not solid state drives). They may help in some cases, but don’t expect much.
And remember – be careful of anyone who offers to decrypt your files for money. They are likely to be scammers. There’s no miracle solution to getting files back after an attack by Pahd ransomware.
How to delete Pahd ransomware
Below are instructions for how to enter safe mode and use antivirus software to find and delete Pahd and other malware. Pahd is flagged by antivirus scanners as Suspicious, Malicious, Trojan, Kryptik, and similar names (Virustotal.com).
There are a few features that the infection may have disabled – Task Manager and Registry Editor. You can enable them as described in this post.
Below are also instructions for unblocking websites (in case Pahd blocked any).
Likely, Pahd ransomware gets installed together with spyware and adware. Review your antivirus scan results to check. You can remove the malware with a powerful antivirus program and/or you can format your drive (in which case, you’ll need to reinstall your programs).
If spyware was found on your device, use a clean computer to reset your passwords and make sure that you’re using multi-factor authentication to protect your accounts.
Important -- edit the hosts file to unblock security websitesTL DR : The hosts file is edited to block security sites Before the virus can be removed, it's necessary to fix the hosts file (the file which controls which addresses connect to which IPs). That is the reason the majority of security websites is inaccessible when infected with this particular parasite. This infection edits this file to stop certain websites, including anti-malware download sites, from being accessed from the infected computer, making browsers return the "This site can't be reached" error. Luckily, it's trivial to fix the file and remove the edits that were made to it.
Find and edit the hosts fileThe hosts file can be found on C:/Windows/System32/Drivers/etc/hosts. If you don't see it, change the settings to see hidden files.
- In the Start Menu, search for Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel, find Appearance and Personalization.
- Select Folder Options.
- Open the View tab.
- Open Advanced settings.
- Select "Show hidden files...".
- Select OK.
- Open the Start Menu and enter "notepad".
- When Notepad shows up in the result, right-click on it.
- In the menu, choose "Run as administrator"
- File->Open and browse for the hosts file.
Download and run the antivirus programAfter that, download antivirus programs and use them to remove the ransomware, the trojan, and other malware. Spyhunter (https://www.2-viruses.com/reviews/spyhunter/dwnld/).
Automatic Malware removal tools
How to recover Pahd Ransomware encrypted files and remove the virus
Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
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 Pahd Ransomware has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of Pahd RansomwareAfter restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Spyhunter and remove all malicious files related to Pahd Ransomware. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore Pahd Ransomware affected files using Shadow Volume CopiesIf 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 Pahd Ransomware 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.
Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Pahd Ransomware encrypted filesThere 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 a data recovery program.
- Install and scan for recently deleted files.