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PoisonFang ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware

PoisonFang – a ransomware project created for educational purposes but may be abused by cybercriminals

  PoisonFang ransomware
PoisonFang ransomware virus is developed for educational purposes but it might spread malicious ways.

PoisonFang ransomware[1] is a virus that was created for educational purposes by researchers Omer Cohen and Tal Porat from Israel Insititute of Technology. Unfortunately, cybercriminals around the world manage to steal the program and abuse it for malicious purposes, encrypting files of innocent computer users. The malware-dropper is called PoisonfangDropper.exe and is typically delivered via spam emails or is injected as a drive-by download on malicious sites. It is unknown what encryption algorithm, what file extension the virus uses, or size of ransom is used as it should be defined by bad actors why use the program for malicious purposes.

Name PoisonFang
Type Ransomware
Country Israel
Initial purpose For educational purposes only
Developers Omer Cohen and Tal Porat
Danger Can be spread and work as a dangerous ransomware
Contact email omer.cohen@cs.technion.ac.il; talporat@campus.technion.ac.il; sassafro@technion.acc.il 
Distribution Spam email attachments, malicious websites, etc.
Elimination If you need protection use Reimage

Although the PoisonFang program was developed as ransomware for educational purposes only, cybercriminals can quickly utilize its code and send it out as malware with all the malicious features. The purpose of such activity is obviously money extortion from the victims, whose files become inaccessible.

Malware can strike unexpectedly and alter Windows-based systems' settings to gain boot persistence and potentially avoid detection. Then, PoisonFang virus scans the device for files to encrypt. All databases, video, audio, image, and other data get encoded. The initial program window includes “Payment” and “Decrypt Files” sections, which could be filled in by hackers and ask victims for a ransom payment for the decryption key.

The program displays contact emails of developers and project supervisor: omer.cohen@cs.technion.ac.il; talporat@campus.technion.ac.il; sassafro@technion.acc.il. However, there is is very little information about the project itself:

THIS SOFTWARE the IS the FOR ACADEMIC RESEARCH Purposes to ONLY ONLY! 
PoisonFang was developed as part of a ransomware project at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology

In case you encountered the activity of a virus on your PC, immediately proceed with PoisonFang ransomware removal. Even though it is not your typical ransomware, you must not think of it any different, as it can lead to permanent data loss after file encryption.[2] 

To remove PoisonFang ransomware, you should use an anti-malware tool. Reimage or other similar programs can be used for that. Do not try to eliminate the malware manually as it will most likely result in a failure.

Malicious programs come via spam emails

Researchers[3] warn that any executable files can be associated with ransomware, and are often cleverly disguised. Those files can look safe and legit, as the payload can be carried inside MS office documents, PDF or other typical file formats. The biggest red flag should raise if the attachment asks to enable Macro function. Do not agree to do that!

Malware authors often use botnets to distribute ransomware. These spam machines are capable of sending thousands of phishing emails in a short time and potentially infect many less-computer savvy or less-aware users. The reason for that being is that quite often these messages use names of influential companies, their logos, styling, etc.

Therefore, please beware of spam emails, as any of them can be malicious, no matter how genuine they look. Merely delete emails from questionable sources. If absolutely necessary, make sure you scan the attachment before opening it, although it does not guarantee virus detection either.

Remove PoisonFang ransomware from your computer before it's too late

If you got infected and wanted to remove PoisonFang ransomware, you should use anti-malware software, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these tools because they are designed to deal even with the most robust malware. Remember that malware can prevent security software from working properly. In such case, enter Safe Mode with Networking as explained below.

PoisonFang ransomware removal should be executed before trying to restore files from an external drive or cloud-based service. Otherwise, your data will be encrypted again. If you do not have any backups, you can try to restore files using third-party software – we explain how below.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove PoisonFang virus, follow these steps:

Remove PoisonFang using Safe Mode with Networking

Reboot your PC in Safe Mode with Networking if malware is preventing security software from starting:

  • 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 PoisonFang

    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 PoisonFang removal.

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

Remove PoisonFang using System Restore

System Restore feature also can help when dealing with ransomware:

  • 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 PoisonFang. 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 PoisonFang removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove PoisonFang 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 PoisonFang, you can use several methods to restore them:

Data Recovery Pro is a program created for restoring files

If you accidentally deleted your important files or ransomware encrypted them you can try Data Recovery Pro to get them back:

  • 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 PoisonFang ransomware;
  • Restore them.

If you want to recover individual files Windows Previous Versions feature might help

If System Restore feature was enabled before the initial ransomware attack you could try to restore your data using Windows Previous Versions feature:

  • 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 is a tool for data recovery after the ransomware attack

If you got lucky and ransomware you are dealing with did not delete Shadow Volume copies you can recover them with ShadowExplorer:

  • 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.

Decryption tool is not available

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from PoisonFang and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References