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

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware
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Authors of the Phobos malware reveals the size of the ransom once victims contact them

Ransom note by Phobos ransomware virus

Phobos ransomware is a file-encrypting virus that appends ID.[<email].PHOBOS file extension to the targeted files and provides data recovery instructions in Phobos.hta ransom note. Victims are asked to send an email to OttoZimmerman@protonmail.ch with a subject line “Encryption ID:[victim’s ID number].”

The crypto-virus mostly spreads via malicious spam emails.[1] Once inside the computer, it starts scanning the system looking for the targeted files. Malware encrypts various pictures, multimedia, images, databases and other data using AES cryptography.[2] Thus, files locked by Phobos virus cannot be opened without specific decryption tool.

In the ransom note, criminals tell that the information stored on the affected computer was “turned into a useless binary code.” In order to make victims to follow the ransom payment instructions, crooks tell that other third-party data recovery services cannot help them. However, they might take the money and disappear. Though, this situation is most likely to happen if you contact and transfer the money to authors of the Phobos.

Malware developers do not give any deadline how long they are waiting for victim’s email. However, they warn that the size of the ransom will increase if victims do not rush. However, cyber security specialists do not recommend contacting criminals and following their instructions because it might result in money loss.

The first thing after ransomware attack is to stay calm. Do not panic about data loss and focus on Phobos removal. It’s important to get rid of the virus because it might install numerous malicious components and affect legit system process. Thus, it might not only damage your files but corrupt the system as well.

However, you should not try to eliminate malware-related files manually. In order to remove Phobos safely and successfully, you have to obtain a reputable software and terminate the virus within several minutes. We recommend scanning the system with Reimage. However, you can use your preferred tool as well.

Distribution methods of the file-encrypting virus

The crypto-malware can get inside the device when a user clicks on a malicious link, opens or downloads an infected file. The malware executable can be included in the email or presented as a useful program in various torrents or download sites. Thus, users have to be careful and avoid questionable content online.

  • Never open spam emails and stay away from the attachments included into an email that is sent from unknown senders.
  • Do not download illegal content.
  • Stay away from pop-ups informing about available updates.
  • Do not download software from untrusted or unauthorized sources.
  • Install a reputable antivirus program.
  • Keep all your programs updated.

Security experts from Norway[3] suggest creating backups and updating them regularly. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s impossible to decrypt files with the third-party software. Therefore, having backups prevents from data loss.

Phobos virus elimination guide

Trying to locate and wipe out malware-related files manually might end up with serious damage to the system. Therefore, we do not recommend risking to delete wrong files. It’s better to dedicate Phobos removal for the professionals. We mean, you should obtain a reputable malware removal software, such as Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus and get rid of the cyber infection automatically.

However, ransomware might be resistant and block security programs. For this reason, you should reboot the computer to the Safe Mode with Networking first in order to remove Phobos ransomware virus entirely. You can find the instructions below.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Phobos ransomware virus. 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.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

Manual Phobos virus Removal Guide:

Remove Phobos using Safe Mode with Networking

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

In order to run automatic malware removal, follow these steps:

  • 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 Phobos

    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 Phobos removal.

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

Remove Phobos using System Restore

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

These instructions can help to get rid of the virus with the help of antivirus software too:

  • 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 Phobos. 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 Phobos removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Only backups can help to restore all files encrypted by ransomware. However, we highly recommend trying alternative third-party tools that might help to recover at least some of the lost data.

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

Data Recovery Pro might help to restore files encrypted by Phobos ransomware

Originally, this software is designed to recover files after the system wreckage. However, it might be helpful after the ransomware attack.

Windows Previous Versions feature might help to restore the most important files

Follow these steps to restore individual files after the ransomware attack (note: System Restore has to be enabled before the 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 help to restore corrupted data

The Phobos virus should not delete Shadow Volume Copies, so this tool might be helpful:

  • 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.

Phobos decryptor is not available yet.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Phobos and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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References