[firstname.lastname@example.org].help virus Removal Guide
What is [email@example.com].help ransomware?
[firstname.lastname@example.org].help ransomware – malicious program designed to hold your files hostage
[email@example.com].help ransomware is a malicious program designed to lock all personal files on a Windows computer
[firstname.lastname@example.org].help ransomware is a cryptovirus that belongs to a malware family known as Phobos. The malware locks all pictures, music, videos, documents, databases, and other files with the AES encryption algorithm, preventing any access to them. The main goal of cybercriminals is to extort money from victims – they ask for a ransom to be paid in exchange for the decryption key that could unlock all the data once applied.
As soon as the encryption is complete, [email@example.com].help file virus drops a ransom note, which comes in a popup window titled “phobos” or “encrypted.” In the note, the attackers explain what happened and that users need to pay an unspecified amount of money to be delivered in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Apparently, the size of ransom depends on how fast victims send an email to criminals via firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was also reported by some victims that .help virus did not provide any ransom note after the data locking process. Despite this, security experts recommend avoiding contact with cybercriminals and using backups to recover files.
|Name||[email@example.com].help ransomware, Help ransomware|
|Type||Ransomware, data locking malware, cryptovirus|
|Encryption method||AES encryption algorithm|
|File extension||.help; example of an encrypted file|
|Ransom note||Malware delivers a ransom note in a popup window titled “phobos” or “encrypted.” Some users reported that no ransom note is delivered by [firstname.lastname@example.org].help ransomware|
|File Recovery||If no backups are available, recovering data is almost impossible. Nonetheless, we suggest you try the alternative methods that could help you in some cases – we list them below|
|Malware removal||Perform a full system scan with powerful security software, such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner|
|System fix||Malware can seriously tamper with Windows systems, causing errors, crashes, lag, and other stability issues after it is terminated. To remediate the OS and avoid its reinstallation, we recommend scanning it with the ReimageIntego repair tool|
Phobos belongs to one of the most prevalent ransomware families in the wild, with variants such as Dever, Actor, and many others, being released on a regular basis. Malware usually delivers a ransom note in the HTA format, which is a popup window that looks very similar to those used by Dharma ransomware versions – a family it originates from.
Help ransomware can be distributed via various channels, as it is highly advertised on underground forums (meaning that many parties are participating in its distribution). Some of the most common methods include:
- Spam email attachments and malicious links;
- Software cracks, loaders, activators, repacked installers;
- Vulnerabilities and exploits;
- Networks and computers exposed to the internet, etc.
It is known that the [email@example.com].help file virus may bypass the User Account Control verification, so users can not stop the infection from spreading and finally locking the files. Malware shuts down several applications that might interfere with the encryption process, deletes Shadow Copies, and performs other Windows system changes – these can later be remediated automatically with tools such as ReimageIntego if security software is not capable of doing so.
[firstname.lastname@example.org].help ransomware is a virus that stems from a well known malware family - Phobos
Help ransomware virus not only appends the .help extension to each of the files but uses the following pattern instead:
file name.file extension.id[XXXXXXXX-XXXX].[email@example.com].help
After data encryption, users can see that all the files can no longer be opened, appended with several new strings, and lost the original icons. The virus then drops a ransom note which reads:
All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Write this ID in the title of your message 1R748D00-1076
If there is no response from our mail, you can install the Jabber client and write to us in support of
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 5 files for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 4Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
How to obtain Bitcoins
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click 'Buy bitcoins', and select the seller by payment method and price.
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
Jabber client installation instructions:
Download the jabber (Pidgin) client from https://pidgin.im/download/windows/
After installation, the Pidgin client will prompt you to create a new account.
In the “Protocol” field, select XMPP
In “Username” – come up with any name
In the field “domain” – enter any jabber-server, there are a lot of them, for example – exploit.im
Create a password
At the bottom, put a tick “Create account”
If you selected “domain” – exploit.im, then a new window should appear in which you will need to re-enter your data:
You will need to follow the link to the captcha (there you will see the characters that you need to enter in the field below)
If you don't understand our Pidgin client installation instructions, you can find many installation tutorials on youtube – https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pidgin+jabber+install
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.
Unfortunately, but hackers are right about one thing: it is impossible to recover .help files without a unique key that is stored on their servers. As evident, they are not willing to provide the decryptor for free, and are likely to ask fora large sums of money. We recommend Help ransomware removal instead. You can also employ alternative methods for data recovery – check for more details in the next segment of the article.
To remove [email@example.com].help ransomware from your machine, we recommend using powerful anti-malware solutions, such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. For more details on how to perform PC cleaning process, check the removal section below.
The only guaranteed method for .help file recovery are backups
One of the main misconceptions that ransomware infected users have is that they can recover .help files as soon as they scan their systems with anti-malware. However, this is not the case at all, as security software is not designed to decrypt files but rather delete malicious files and other components from the computer. As long as a malicious program runs on the system, it will keep encrypting the incoming files, thus, it is vital to eliminate the infection before attempting the recovery process.
As evident, the best and most secure way to open [firstname.lastname@example.org].help files again is by restoring them from backups. Unfortunately, most users are not ready for a ransomware infection and end up germanely losing their files due to a lack of proper backups.
Recovering [email@example.com].help files is very difficult if no backups are available
Even if you have no backups, not all is lost. Security researchers are constantly working on recovery tools that could help ransomware victims to restore their files. Unfortunately, the Phobos malware family is not decryptable yet, although it might be in the future.
As for now, if you have no backups and your data is affected with [firstname.lastname@example.org].help files virus, you can attempt alternative recovery solutions, such as Windows Previous Versions or third-party data recovery tools such as Data Recovery Pro. For more details, check out our recovery section below.
The correct method of [email@example.com].help ransomware removal
Immediate [firstname.lastname@example.org].help ransomware removal might permanently damage the encrypted data. In such a case, even a working decryption key would not be able to restore your files (note that this does not apply to you if you have a working backup). Thus, you should first make a copy of all the encrypted data – locked files do not hold any malicious code within them, so they are safe to copy.
Once you backup the encrypted .help files, you can then remove [email@example.com].help ransomware from your computer with the help of anti-malware software – we recommend using SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes for the job. Keep in mind that malware might have damaged Windows system files, so you could employ ReimageIntego to prevent system crashes, errors, and other stability issues after infection removal.
Finally, attempt to restore your files using the solutions we provide below, although you should keep in mind that chance of success is relatively low (although never zero).
Getting rid of [firstname.lastname@example.org].help virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
In case of .help file virus tampers with your security software, access Safe Mode with Networking as explained below:
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.
Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking
Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment.
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
- Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
- Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Select Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Press Restart.
- Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes
Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check program Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Go to Startup tab.
- Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
Step 4. Delete virus files
Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
- Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):
After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.
Remove [email@example.com].help using System Restore
System Restore can also be used if it was not deleted by the infection:
Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Command Prompt from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
- Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
- Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window.
Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
- Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.
- Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again..
- When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of [firstname.lastname@example.org].help. After doing that, click Next.
- Now click Yes to start system restore.
Bonus: Recover your dataGuide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove [email@example.com].help 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 [firstname.lastname@example.org].help, you can use several methods to restore them:
Data Recovery Pro
Use Data Recovery Pro – it might be able to extract working copies of your files from the hard drive.
- 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 [email@example.com].help ransomware;
- Restore them.
Windows Previous Versions Feature might be useful
Using Windows Previous Versions, you might be able to restore files one-by-one.
- 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
If ransomware failed to delete Shadow Copies, ShadowExplorer should help you restore all files immediately.
- 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 currently available
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from [firstname.lastname@example.org].help and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Do not let government spy on you
The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet.
You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.
Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.
Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack
Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.
When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.