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Fox ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

Fox ransomware – a dangerous file encrypting virus that is spread via unprotected Remote Desktop Service

Fox Ransomware
Fox ransomware is a new variant of the infamous Matrix virus

Fox ransomware is a cryptovirus that was first spotted by security experts at the end of August 2018. The malware is a new variant of the Matrix ransomware which was originally a screen locker and then evolved, bringing newly designed payloads that encrypt files and demand ransom in the digital currency. The new version takes extra measures to make sure that every single file gets encoded by the AES and the RSA encryption algorithms.[1] After a lengthy process, Fox virus appends [hacker's email].[random_ID].FOX extension of each of the files, and then contacts C&C server[2] to obtain ransom note that is placed into each folder on the system. In the #FOX_README#.rtf message, hackers provide three contact addresses and warn that victims have seven days to pay the ransom; otherwise, all data will be lost.

SUMMARY
Name Fox ransomware
Type Crypto virus
Cipher AES and the RSA
First spotted by MalwareHunterTeam[3]
File extension [hacker's email].[random_ID].FOX
Ransom note #FOX_README#.rtf
Distribution Breaking through RDS
Elimination Use trusted security software like Reimage or Malwarebytes

Security researchers report that Fox ransomware is mostly distributed via Remote Desktop Protocol Service. Hackers scan the internet for the IP addresses that are connected to an unprotected RDP, brute-force the password and then inject the malicious payload manually. While the virus cannot be decrypted at the time of the writing, Fox ransomware removal using comprehensive security tools like Reimage or Malwarebytes should not be a problem.

This variant of Fox ransomware has several peculiarities when it comes to communication and file encryption process. Before file encryption is executed, Fox virus contacts Command and Control server used by criminals to display status updates during the process.

Two program windows will open – fox.matrix.dis.exe (Encryption Status Console) and NWIJjgOC.exe (Network Drives Console) that allow Fox ransomware authors to monitor the process in real-time. The malware will then change permissions of each file and use a modified version of Handle.exe to close all open handles.

Fox ransomware renames each file the following way: [hacker's email].[random_ID].FOX. Malware's targets are all personal files, including:

  • Databases
  • Pictures
  • Image files
  • Videos
  • Audios
  • Documents, etc.

After the encryption process is finished, Fox virus ill drop #FOX_README#.rtf file in each folder and also change the wallpaper. While the RTF file is very long, the wallaper states the following:

We are sorry to inform you that:
ALL YOUR FILES WERE ENCRYPTED with AES-128+RSA-2048 algorithms!
Without your personal key and special software data recovery is impossible!
=============================================================
To recover your files please write us to the e-mails:
PabFox@protonmail.com
FoxHelp@cock.lt
FoxHelp@tutanota.com
=============================================================
Please don't worry, we can help you to restore your server to original
state and decrypt all your files quickly and safely!
Please write us and we will help you!
=============================================================
*We recommend you to send your message ON EACH of our 3 emails!
*Additional info you can find in files #FOX_README#.rtf

While hackers state that they can “help” to recover data, security experts[4] highly advise you not to contact them. Cybercriminals can simply ignore you after the payment in digital currency (usually Bitcoin) is processed and might make you the target of future attacks, knowing that you are willing to pay. 

Due to such a long-winded process, detecting malware's presence is much easier. Nevertheless, several thousand files might be encrypted by then, and the damage done might be irreversible. Fortunately to those who got backups, the restore process will be smooth, as long as they remove Fox ransomware beforehand.

Those who did not have their data backed up can try using third-party software that might help with file recovery. All the instructions can be found below.

Use strong passwords for Remote Desktop Protocol

Remote Desktop service can help users to connect to their primary device from another one. If this function is turned on (hackers can easily find that out by scanning IP addresses), what bad actors need to connect to your computer remotely is your set password. Unfortunately, many users do not use safe passwords and instead pick easily-guessable ones, like:

  • Password
  • qwerty
  • 1234
  • 9876
  • 111111, etc.

Hackers have a whole list of such passwords and try to brute-force the RDP when attempting to connect to the victim's machine. Once succeeded, they can then upload malware and disable security measures. Basically, do everything to what they desire.

To protect yourself from such an intrusion, you should set secure passwords and frequently change them. The easiest way to do that is by using password management programs that use a complicated combination of letters and numbers to make sure that your password is impossible to guess.

Additionally, it is a good idea to disable the service when it is not used.

Remove Fox ransomware and then proceed with file recovery

As we already mentioned, there is no official decryption tool available as of now. However, if your computer got infected and your data is encrypted, the first thing you should do is remove Fox ransomware from your computer. To achieve that you should make use of reputable security tools like Reimage or Malwarebytes – these malware removal tools are capable of deleting all traces of the infection automatically. Nevertheless, you can use any security software of your preference.

Do not forget that malware might disable the operation of security tools, making Fox ransomware removal complicated. Safe Mode with Networking launches the PC with only necessary drivers on; therefore, the AV engines should work correctly.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

If you decided to select another anti-spyware, uninstall Reimage from your computer.
Press mentions on Reimage
Alternate Software
Malwarebytes
Alternate Software
Malwarebytes

To remove Fox virus, follow these steps:

Remove Fox using Safe Mode with Networking

To eliminate Fox virus from your PC, use the following steps to enter Safe Mode with Networking:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove Fox

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete Fox removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove Fox using System Restore

In case the first method did not work, you can try using System Restore:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of Fox. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with Reimage and make sure that Fox removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Fox from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If your files are encrypted by Fox, you can use several methods to restore them:

Data Recovery Pro might be able to recover your files

Data Recovery Pro is used to recover data that was accidentally deleted or corrupted. Nevertheless, experts noticed that it helps to restore files for ransomware victims, too. 

  • Download Data Recovery Pro;
  • Follow the steps of Data Recovery Setup and install the program on your computer;
  • Launch it and scan your computer for files encrypted by Fox ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Make use of Windows Previous Versions Feature

This method is only viable if you had System Restore enable before the virus attack.

  • Find an encrypted file you need to restore and right-click on it;
  • Select “Properties” and go to “Previous versions” tab;
  • Here, check each of available copies of the file in “Folder versions”. You should select the version you want to recover and click “Restore”.

ShadowExplorer might be the answer

ShadowExplorer is a perfect tool if malware failed to delete Shadow Volume Copies.

  • Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
  • Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.

No decryptor is available yet

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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