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Pennywise ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

Jigsaw virus is back with a new Pennywise ransomware variant

Pennywise virus image

Pennywise functions as a file-encrypting virus and was first discovered at the end of October 2017. The primary aim of the malware is to encode personal data with a robust cipher[1] and ask for ransom in exchange for a decryption key. The corrupted information is marked with a .beep file extension after strong encryption.

Researchers link Pennywise to the notorious Jigsaw ransomware which emerged on the cyberspace in April. This ransomware family has expanded rapidly over the last months, and the most common versions are Ramsley, Jokers House, DarkLocker, and HACKED.

Even though some variants remain undecryptable, you should remove Pennywise virus and try to recover your data using a Jigsaw decryptor. Moreover, there is a possibility to retrieve the most necessary files from backup copies[2] which are stored in the cloud. These methods will help you to avoid financial losses since the criminals seem to be highly unreliable and aggressive.

After Pennywise ransomware has encoded user’s data, it opens a pop-up, which serves as a ransom note. The victims are provided with the following message:

Your personal files are being deleted. Your photos, videos, documents, etc…

But, don’t worry! It will only happen if you don’t comply.
However I’ve already encrypted your personal files, so you cannot access them.
Every hour I select some of them to delete permanently, therefore I won’t be able to access them, either.
If you turn off your computer or try to close me, when I start next time you will get 1000 files deleted as a punishment.
Yes you will want me to start next time, since I am the only one that is capable to decrypt your personal data for you.
Meanwhile….. You want a balloon? Hahahahaha_

Desperate computer users are urged to pay the ransom since the hackers threaten to delete one file each hour permanently. Besides, people who wouldn’t agree to follow the rules are warned that they will receive a punishment — next time Pennywise ransomware infects their computer, the malevolent people will delete 1 thousand encrypted files.

Remember, that you should not tolerate this kind of behavior. Get help from a security software like Reimage or Malwarebytes to start Pennywise removal safely. Shortly after, you will be ready to try alternative data retrieval methods. It is also wise to use the anti-malware system not only in case of ransomware attack but also to prevent this type of infections in the first place.

Distribution techniques

This ransomware family keeps spreading via infected e-mail attachments, and Pennywise is not an exception. Hackers employ fraudulent messages carrying an executable of the ransomware. The letters might impersonate well-known companies or brands to lure gullible people into clicking on it.

Once the e-mail or its attachment is opened, it might infiltrate a trojan which opens backdoors to the ransomware or the crypto-malware itself. Therefore, we advise you to monitor your online activity carefully. It is important to be able to recognize malicious e-mail letters and avoid opening them.

Besides, experts from[3] warn that some of the ransomware variants also spread as fake software updates which might be displayed as pop-up ads on bogus websites. Be aware that they are designed to look remarkably genuine. Thus, stay away from Adobe Flash Player, VLC Media Player update and similar offers that are presented on unauthorized pages.

The quickest way to eliminate Pennywise

We suggest using a reliable antivirus system, such as Reimage or Malwarebytes for Pennywise removal since it will not only serve as an uninstaller but also protect your computer from identical infections in the future. Thus, you should download it and run an entire system scan as soon as possible.

However, the ransomware might prevent you from employing a security software. You can circumvent it by booting your PC into Safe Mode. If you don’t know how to do that, check the manual elimination guide below.

Additionally, you should know that if you want to remove Pennywise virus manually, it will be time-consuming and require extreme focus. The best solution would be to opt for an entirely automatic termination or combine both removal methods together.

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To remove Pennywise virus, follow these steps:

Remove Pennywise using Safe Mode with Networking

By booting your PC into Safe Mode you will circumvent the ransomware system which blocks the installation of the security software.

  • 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 Pennywise

    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 Pennywise removal.

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

Remove Pennywise using System Restore

If the first method doesn't seem to help, try to reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

  • 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 Pennywise. 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 Pennywise removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

If you carefully follow the instructions above, Pennywise ransomware should be already gone from your system. Now you are ready to try recovery tools which should help you to retrieve corrupted data.

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

Download Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is designed to help victims after ransomware attack. It is also able to restore files after you accidentally delete them. Thus, it is a powerful tool and you should definitely give it a try.

  • 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 Pennywise ransomware;
  • Restore them.

The official Jigsaw decryptor is released

IT technicians tried their best to be able to offer a Jigsaw decryptor for people who lost necessary data. Even though it doesn't work on every version of the ransomware, but the latest variants such as Pennywise should be decryptable.

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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