Paas ransomware (virus) - Recovery Instructions Included

Paas virus Removal Guide

What is Paas ransomware?

Paas file virus – a Windows computer infection that leaves its victims locked out of their data

Paas ransomwareThe ransomware asks for money when the encryption process is done.

Paas ransomware is a cryptovirus developed for cryptocurrency extortion. The moment it lands on your device, it starts encrypting all personal data (videos, documents, archives, databases) and modifying system files to establish persistence. The whole process takes less than five minutes.

During the encryption, a .paas extension is appointed to the original filenames or every locked file. Their contents aren't changed, but until a necessary decryption software isn't used, you won't be able to access any of them. Threat actors behind the attack try to convince their victims that the only way to restore the data is by purchasing their decryption software.

Their instructions and demands are listed within the _readme.txt ransom note found on the desktop after the encryption. They state that if the victims reach out to them through helpmanager@airmail.cc or helpteam@mail.ch, within 72 hours, they will apply a 50% discount on the ransom, lowering it from $980 to $490.

If your computer got infected with Paas file virus, please rest assured that you don't need to forward Bitcoins to the criminals as there might be other ways to recover your files. This article contains every plausible method of infection removal, data recovery options, and ways to recover the virus damage.

The article's culprit belongs to the infamous Djvu/STOP ransomware family, which has been spewing out new variations of its infections since late 2018. Cryptoviruses from this lineage are among the most pervasive ones as they lead the stat sheets of reported ransomware attacks by a landslide.[1]

The primary way you might have infected your computer with Paas virus is by using high-risk websites and services of file-sharing platforms, especially torrent sites. Researchers have reported[2] that the most prominent method of spreading Djvu family ransomware is through various software cracks,[3] including the latest games and expensive programs.

We've been helping out people who got their devices infected with various malware for more than ten years. Our cybersecurity experts and research teams provide detailed step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow, even for people who have no IT knowledge. Thus please let us walk you through this unpleasant nightmare.

name Paas file virus
Type Cryptovirus, ransomware, file-locker
Family Djvu/STOP
Infection symptoms Personal data is renamed and is inaccessible; can't open AV software and visit security-related pages; ransom note appears on the desktop; the infected device is visibly slower
Appended file extension All files are renamed by adding .paas to their original filenames
Ransom note _readme.txt
Distribution The malware family spreads using pirating platforms and malicious files distributed via such sites. Game cracks, software installs can lead to ransomware infetion
Data recovery There's no need to pay the criminals for the decryption key as companies like Emsisoft and others offer free decryption software that might be useful
Virus removal Unfortunately, manual elimination is not possible. You can do it only with trustworthy security software that's fit for the job and can detect[4] the threat
System health check To repair the virus damage and prevent your PC from exhibiting any strange behavior, we highly advise using the ReimageIntego system diagnostics tool

Difference between old and new versions of the Djvu

This is the family that evolved over the years and started using more advanced methods when encrypting files. It was decryptable for a while, but the improved method that relies on the online victim IDs is not allowing decrypting files without obtaining a particular key for each unique victim.

When the ransomware is not connecting to the command and control server during encryption, the built-in encryption key is used. Such offline IDs generally end in t1 and can be easily identified. There are many victims with the same ID, in such cases, so many victims can get their files recovered with the particular tool. Emsisoft has released the decryptor for such versions. You can find the link and the user guide below for it.

However, .paas virus and other versions released in 2020 and later use the Online ID method. This technique allows criminals to form the unique key for each infected device. Hence, the particular victim needs to obtain a specific decryption key to recover the affected files. Criminals connect to the remote server to generate a random key.

Decryption options are limited for this reason. This is why we recommend removing the threat and saving the system before you move on t recovery methods. It is possible to wait for the decryption tool that gets developed later, so you may want to save some encrypted files and virus-related pieces on the external device and then wipe the system with anti-malware tools, so the virus is terminated.

Detailed instructions to remove Paas file virus from an infected device

If you're reading this, we take it your Windows computer was infected with the article's culprit. Well, now you can take a deep breath because the ransomware has done its deed, and there's no need to panic or make any rash decisions. We don't advise paying off your assailants as there's no guarantee that you'd receive the promised decryption software.

Moreover, the ransomware developers could use that money to expand their illegal empire by targeting more innocent people like you, developing new, more advanced versions of their malware, and researching more effective ways to distribute it.

Paas file virusMalware infects the machine and affects particular processes in the background.

The only reasonable action to take now is to remove Paas file virus from your device. If you didn't keep backups of your data, before you begin the removal, you have to copy all encrypted files to an offline storage device, such as a USB flash drive, SSD, or similar. We're glad you chose us to accompany you on this journey, so let's get to it.

Some infections could be removed manually, but not Paas ransomware. Thus you will need a reliable security tool for this step. We highly recommend downloading and installing either Malwarebytes or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. Both of these reliable anti-malware tools can identify, detect, and remove pretty much every cyber threat that's lurking on the internet.

Therefore after you install either of those tools, please update its virus database with the latest signatures. Then perform a full system scan and wait a couple of minutes until it's finished. When it's done, proceed with the security software recommendations on what files should be removed and do that ASAP.

That's it. Paas virus removal is finished. But that's just the beginning. However, it's worth mentioning that this ransomware could prevent you from downloading any security software or launching it. If that's the case, you will have to complete this entire step in Safe Mode with Networking. If you're unsure how to access this mode, please scroll down to the bottom of the article, where our illustrated guides are posted. Only when you remove the virus, please continue to the recovery section.

Paas virusData of various formats get affected and those particular files cannot be opened or accessed.

Recover Paas files and damage your computer's system has sustained

The article's culprit and its whole family make tons of modifications to system files and settings without encrypting them. It alters the Windows Registry, host files, bootup section, and other core system components. That results in the inability to use AV tools in normal Windows mode, visiting security-related pages (including 2-spyware.com), and could even lead to infection renewal.

Therefore, after you remove Paas virus and before you begin recovering data, you have to repair the damage it has caused to your system. Our recommendation is to use the time-proven ReimageIntego PC repair software for this purpose, as it will fix system irregularities automatically. Only after you're done with the next step, it's safe to proceed to file recovery.

Step 1.

  • Download the application by clicking on the link above
  • Click on the ReimageRepair.exe
    Reimage download
  • If User Account Control (UAC) pops up, choose Yes
  • Click Install and wait till the program finishes the installation processReimage installation
  • A scan will begin immediately after the installation is finished.Reimage scan
  • Once it's done, check the results listed in the Summary
  • You can now click on each of the issues and fix them manually
  • If you see many problems that you find difficult to fix, we recommend you purchase the license and fix them automatically.Reimage results

By using the patented technology of ReimageIntego repair software, you can rest assured that your computer's overall health is taken care of. Make a habit of scanning your entire system with this system diagnostics tool at least twice a week to keep your device at top-notch performance.

Step 2.

When Paas file virus removal is finished and the damage it's done to your system has been repaired, it's time to recover your files. You'll be glad to know that this is the last step. If you've kept backups of your files, you can safely recover them now.

If you didn't, you would want to try out the free decryption software developed by Emsisoft to combat Djvu family ransomware:

  • Download the app from the official Emsisoft website.Paas ransomware
  • After pressing the Download button, click on the decrypt_STOPDjvu.exe that should show up at the bottom of your browser.
    Paas ransomware
  • If the User Account Control (UAC) alert pops up, press Yes.
  • Agree to License Terms by clicking Yes.
    Paas ransomware
  • After the Disclaimer shows up, press OK.
  • The tool should automatically locate folders affected by Paas file virus, although you can also do it by pressing Add folder:
    Paas ransomware
  • When all folders are selected, press Decrypt.
    Paas ransomware

There are three possible outcomes after pressing the Decrypt button:

  1. Decrypted!” is shown when Paas file recovery is successful.
  2. Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID:” appears if the tool doesn't have the required algorithms yet, so be patient and try it out later.
  3. This ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible” means that the Emsisoft decryptor is unable to help you with this version of Djvu ransomware.

If everything worked and you can use your files again – we're more than happy to help. If this step was unsuccessful, please rest assured that there are still alternative ways to recover Paas files. We've added all plausible methods below this paragraph, so please do try them out. If you have any further questions, feel free to submit them to our team.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix 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.

Getting rid of Paas virus. Follow these steps

Isolate the infected computer

Some ransomware strains aim to infect not only one computer but hijack the entire network. As soon as one of the machines is infected, malware can spread via network and encrypt files everywhere else, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. If your computer is connected to a network, it is important to isolate it to prevent re-infection after ransomware removal is complete.

The easiest way to disconnect a PC from everything is simply to plug out the ethernet cable. However, in the corporate environment, this might be extremely difficult to do (also would take a long time). The method below will disconnect from all the networks, including local and the internet, isolating each of the machines involved.

  • Type in Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter
  • Go to Network and Internet Network and internet
  • Click Network and Sharing Center Network and internet 2
  • On the left, pick Change adapter settings Network and internet 3
  • Right-click on your connection (for example, Ethernet), and select Disable Network and internet 4
  • Confirm with Yes.

If you are using some type of cloud storage you are connected to, you should disconnect from it immediately. It is also advisable to disconnect all the external devices, such as USB flash sticks, external HDDs, etc. Once the malware elimination process is finished, you can connect your computers to the network and internet, as explained above, but by pressing Enable instead.

Scan your system with anti-malware

If you are a victim of ransomware, you should employ anti-malware software for its removal. Some ransomware can self-destruct after the file encryption process is finished. Even in such cases, malware might leave various data-stealing modules or could operate in conjunction with other malicious programs on your device. 

SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes can detect and eliminate all ransomware-related files, additional modules, along with other viruses that could be hiding on your system. The security software is really easy to use and does not require any prior IT knowledge to succeed in the malware removal process.

Repair damaged system components

Once a computer is infected with malware, its system is changed to operate differently. For example, an infection can alter the Windows registry database, damage vital bootup and other sections, delete or corrupt DLL files, etc. Once a system file is damaged by malware, antivirus software is not capable of doing anything about it, leaving it just the way it is. Consequently, users might experience performance, stability, and usability issues, to the point where a full Windows reinstall is required.

Therefore, we highly recommend using a one-of-a-kind, patented technology of ReimageIntego repair. Not only can it fix virus damage after the infection, but it is also capable of removing malware that has already broken into the system thanks to several engines used by the program. Besides, the application is also capable of fixing various Windows-related issues that are not caused by malware infections, for example, Blue Screen errors, freezes, registry errors, damaged DLLs, etc.

  • Download the application by clicking on the link above
  • Click on the ReimageRepair.exe
    Reimage download
  • If User Account Control (UAC) shows up, select Yes
  • Press Install and wait till the program finishes the installation process Reimage installation
  • The analysis of your machine will begin immediately Reimage scan
  • Once complete, check the results – they will be listed in the Summary
  • You can now click on each of the issues and fix them manually
  • If you see many problems that you find difficult to fix, we recommend you purchase the license and fix them automatically. Reimage results

By employing ReimageIntego, you would not have to worry about future computer issues, as most of them could be fixed quickly by performing a full system scan at any time. Most importantly, you could avoid the tedious process of Windows reinstallation in case things go very wrong due to one reason or another.

Restore Windows "hosts" file to its original state

Some ransomware might modify Windows hosts file in order to prevent users from accessing certain websites online. For example, Djvu ransomware variants add dozens of entries containing URLs of security-related websites, such as 2-spyware.com. Each of the entries means that users will not be able to access the listed web addresses and will receive an error instead.

Here's an example of “hosts” file entries that were injected by ransomware:

Hosts file

In order to restore your ability to access all websites without restrictions, you should either delete the file (Windows will automatically recreate it) or remove all the malware-created entries. If you have never touched the “hosts” file before, you should simply delete it by marking it and pressing Shift + Del on your keyboard. For that, navigate to the following location:

C:\\Windows\\System32\\drivers\\etc\\

Delete Windows "hosts" file

Restore files using data recovery software

Since many users do not prepare proper data backups prior to being attacked by ransomware, they might often lose access to their files permanently. Paying criminals is also very risky, as they might not fulfill the promises and never send back the required decryption tool.

While this might sound terrible, not all is lost – data recovery software might be able to help you in some situations (it highly depends on the encryption algorithm used, whether ransomware managed to complete the programmed tasks, etc.). Since there are thousands of different ransomware strains, it is immediately impossible to tell whether third-party software will work for you.

Therefore, we suggest trying regardless of which ransomware attacked your computer. Before you begin, several pointers are important while dealing with this situation:

  • Since the encrypted data on your computer might permanently be damaged by security or data recovery software, you should first make backups of it – use a USB flash drive or another storage.
  • Only attempt to recover your files using this method after you perform a scan with anti-malware software.

Install data recovery software

  1. Download Data Recovery Pro.
  2. Double-click the installer to launch it.
    Launch installer
  3. Follow on-screen instructions to install the software. Install program
  4. As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
  5. Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from. Select what to recover
  6. Press Next.
  7. At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned. Select Deep scan
  8. Press Scan and wait till it is complete. Scan
  9. You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
  10. Press Recover to retrieve your files. Recover files

Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future

One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.

Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:

  • Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
  • Use cloud storage services.

The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.

Using Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here's how to setup backups for OneDrive:

  1. Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
  2. Select Help & Settings > Settings.
    Go to OneDrive settings
  3. If you don't see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.
    Add OneDrive account
  4. Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
    Manage backup
  5. Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
  6. Press Start backup.
    Pick which folders to sync

After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).

Using Google Drive

Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.

You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.

  1. Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.
    Install Google Drive app
  2. Wait a few seconds for it to be installed. Complete installation
  3. Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.
    Google Drive Sign in
  4. Click Get Started. Backup and sync
  5. Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password. Enter email/phone
  6. Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
  7. Once done, pick Next. Choose what to sync
  8. Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
  9. Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.

Report the incident to your local authorities

Ransomware is a huge business that is highly illegal, and authorities are very involved in catching malware operators. To have increased chances of identifying the culprits, the agencies need information. Therefore, by reporting the crime, you could help with stopping the cybercriminal activities and catching the threat actors. Make sure you include all the possible details, including how did you notice the attack, when it happened, etc. Additionally, providing documents such as ransom notes, examples of encrypted files, or malware executables would also be beneficial.

Law enforcement agencies typically deal with online fraud and cybercrime, although it depends on where you live. Here is the list of local authority groups that handle incidents like ransomware attacks, sorted by country:

Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3

If your country is not listed above, you should contact the local police department or communications center.

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Important! →
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
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. 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.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
    Settings
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
    Reboot
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

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:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
    Startup

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:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. 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).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Downloads
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

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References