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Remove Koler ransomware / virus (Removal Guide) - Nov 2017 update

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Ransomware

Koler ransomware attacks Android users in USA to gain illegal profits

Koler virus targets Android users

Koler virus is a dangerous ransomware with a screen-locking function. This Android virus version blocks the access of the target device and insists its owner on paying a ransom. To reset the tablet or phone to its primary stage, the fee must be paid via One Vanilla prepayment system.

Unfortunately, there is a significant increase in the distribution of this virus over the past several months in USA and other countries. You can encounter this mobile ransomware[1] masquerading as a Pornhub application which the visitors of adult-themed websites are offered to install when trying to view certain content. 

Experts believe that Koler is merely an Android OS adaptation of the infamous Windows ransomware virus called Reveton which has been locking computers since 2014. Three years have passed since then but the virus creators are still hoping to catch their victims on the same bait. 

When the app is installed, it automatically takes over the administrative privileges to change the PIN code of the device and drops an official-looking lockscreen claiming that FBI blocked the device because of the illegal activity on the device.

The message is very similar to the one that Reveton was using back in 2014. The full message reads:

As a result of full scanning of your device, some suspicious files have been found and your attendance of the forbidden pornographic sites has been fixed. For this reason your device has been locked. Information on your location and snapshots containing your face have been uploaded on the FBI Cyber Crime Department’s data center.

First of all, familiarize with the positions stated in the section “The Legal Basis of Violations”. According to these positions your actions bear criminal character, and you are a criminal subject. The penalty as a base measure of punishment on you which you are obliged to pay in a current of three calendar days is opposed. The size of the penalty is $500

Attention! Disconnection of disposal of the device or your attempts to unlock the device independently will be apprehended as unapproved actions interfering the execution of the law of the United States of America (read section 1509 – obstruction of court orders and section 1510 – obstruction of criminal investigations).

In this case and in case of penalty non-payment in a current of tree calendar days from the date of this notification, the total amount of penalty will be tripled and the respective fines will be charged to the outstanding penalty. In case of dissent with the indicted prosecution, you have the right to challenge it in court. To make a penalty payment, go to section “Payment Penalties”.

Koler ransomware appears as a PornHub app
Koler ransomware virus tricks people to pay a $500 fine for possessing an adult-content app on Android gadget.

This message is a good example of malicious social engineering[2] used to scare the victim and prevent Koler removal from the system. The extortionists employ well made up scare tactics to make victims pay the 500 dollar ransom via One Vanilla card which doesn't require to submit personal details. 

While Windows versions of this virus were aimed at individual countries and altered their ransom notes depending on PC's location[3], this malware seems to be aimed purely at US users, hence the FBI theme.

If you live in the US and have become a victim of clickjacking, make sure you remove Koler from PC without delay. After you perform the elimination with the help of mobile antivirus software like Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or manually, you should be able to access your files again.

Understanding methods used by this Android virus to spread around

As we have mentioned, researchers spotted Koler malware spreading as a fake PornHub app. Links to this app were spotted in adult-related sites. When dealign with this scam, Android users have no idea they are downloading a ransomware-laden Trojan on their devices. The first understanding that they are infected shakes them only after they start seeing the fake FBI alert on their screen.

Experts share the list of some links that have already been discovered to download Koler virus:


Experts have a few suggestions what can be changed to avoid similar incidents in the future

First of all, you should avoid visiting shady websites that may be potentially harmful to your PC. If you happen to land on such pages purposefully or by accident, you should not interact with any ads, links, pop-ups or similar content displayed there. Make sure you leave these sites immediately.

Also, DO NOT open .exe files if they get automatically downloaded on your PC or device. Put them into Trash without checking what's inside them.

And finally, make sure you always have the protective shields on and that your security software is running the latest version. If it is not updated automatically, make sure you download the latest updates every couple of days.

Do not hesitate to get rid of Koler virus

You can start Koler removal immediately — reboot your gadget to a Safe Mode and eliminate administrative right for suspicious applications that might be related to the virus. Afterwards, uninstall PornHub app from your device by putting it into Trash. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you with this task:

  1. Find the power button on your phone or tablet and press it for a couple of seconds until you see a menu. Tap the Power off.
  2. Once you see a dialog window that offers you to reboot your Android to Safe Mode, select this option and OK.

If this failed to work for you, just turn off your device and then turn it on. Once it becomes active, try pressing and holding MenuVolume DownVolume Up or Volume Down and Volume Up together to see Safe Mode.

When in Safe Mode, you should finish Koler ransomware removal by uninstalling the malicious app:

  1. Reboot your device into Safe Mode with the help of steps that are given above.
  2. When in Safe Mode, go to Settings. Once there, click on Apps or Application manager (this may differ depending on your device).
  3. Here, look malicious app (PornHub and other apps that look suspicious) and uninstall all of them.

We also recommend turning off the option allowing installing apps that belong to unknown sources. For that, go to Settings -> Security. Once there, turn off this option.

After you are done with these steps, Koler virus should be gone from your device. To make sure you won’t have to remove Koler in the future again, you should obtain a reputable mobile antivirus software. Just to be safe, you should also create backup copies of important files from your device.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Koler virus, follow these steps:

Remove Koler using 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 Koler

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

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

Remove Koler 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 Koler. 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 Reimage Cleaner Intego and make sure that Koler removal is performed successfully.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Koler and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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