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

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware
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The dangers of PopCornTime ransomware:

PopCornTime virus is a crypto-ransomware infection that originates from HiddenTear source code and imitates an online movie streaming service to infect computers. Please beware that the original PopCorn Time website has nothing to do with this virus. After finding out that their domain name was exploited for hacking purposes, the administrators of this domain issued a public warning [1]. Interestingly, the software which shares popularity among countless of netizens worldwide also sparks the extortionists’ imagination. It is not the first time since the domains have been compromised. There were multiple cases when the domain was suspected of spreading malware. Using popular brand names is not an uncommon phenomenon among the ransomware hackers. Recently, Locky ransomware has been discussing under Amazon name to infiltrate netizens‘ devices [2]. DailyMotion has also suffered a hijack assault [3]. In relation to this, the ransomware hides under PopCorn Time name, but it marks files with a distinguishable .filok and .kok file extension. It is interesting that before starting the encryption, the virus looks for specific files called been_here and server_step_one. The presence of these files on the computer indicate that is is already infected and no further actions need to be taken. In all other cases, the virus may initiate the lockscreen and begin the encryption. Even if this cyber misfortune has befallen you, there is no need to panic, install Reimage to remove PopCornTime.

The image of PopCornTime ransomware

Vindicating the name of the software is becoming a more difficult task for its authors. Hackers still come up with new malware versions which in one way or another exploit Popcorn Time name. It is not surprising since watching movies without charge is one the most popular activities in the cyber space. Luckily, a famous virus researcher Michael Gillespie had found this roaming malware before it wreaked more havoc on the Internet. PopCornTime ransomware exploits SHA-256 hash encryption technique to encode the files. Depending on the technical capacities of your operating system, the malware may take a couple of minutes up to half an hour to encode your files. The very process is disguised with a fake software download screen, so the victims usually do not suspect the encryption is even taking place. Later on, the cyber infection opens up the .txt and .html files named restore_your_files.html and restore_your_files.txt. to inform you about the conditions to retrieve the data. However, paying ransom does not boost up your chances of recovering the files [4].

popcorntime ransomware note

Update: PopCornTime ransomware introduces new and very nasty data decryption option

As evil as they are, PopCornTime virus developers have not used up all of their malicious potential just yet. The hackers are currently implementing a new ransomware distribution scheme which involves exploiting its victims for spreading the malware voluntarily. Well, not entirely so. The users are offered ransomware distribution as an alternative way of receiving the decryption key. So, instead of paying for it, they have to infect two more computers with this virus. This can be utilized by spreading its referral link included in the ransom note. The link leads to a TOR server which contains a file with PopCornTime payload. The users who download the file are immediately infected and the cycle perpetuates. Thus, the virus dispersion is expected to grow more rapidly in the upcoming weeks. Besides, the hackers now also threaten to start deleting the encrypted files if the victim fails to submit the correct decryption key 4 times in a row. This new intimidation technique that the hackers have implemented in the program’s source code might add to the virus growth as well.

suggestion to distribute ransomware

Ransomware dispersion techniques:

The distribution methods of PopCornTime malware are not limited to spam emails. The latter channel has facilitated the hijack of countless ominous ransomware threats such as Cerber virus [5]. In the case of PopCornTime hijack, the very malware is delivered to victims‘ computers via Trojan-Dropper.Win32.Dapato.opig, and Win32/Trojan.Dropper.bed trojans. Nonetheless, not all security tools are able to detect it so far. Updating your anti-virus utilities should be your current priority. Therefore, restrain from using PopCorn Time domain for a while until virus researchers determine where the virus comes from. Lastly, if you spot that Popcorn Time.exe is trying to invade the system, terminate the process say exiting any installation windows and check the task list in the Task Manager. Let us proceed to PopCornTime removal.

Can I remove PopCornTime virus by myself?

The first thing you should do is either to install an anti-spyware application, such as Reimage or Malwarebytes Anti Malware, or update the current. Afterward, initiate the scanning progress. Usually, PopCornTime removal only takes a couple of minutes. Keep in kind that security tools do not decrypt the files so you will need to use extra utilities to recover your encrypted personal data. Only when the elimination process is finished, you can proceed to the data recovery methods. If you struggle to remove PopCornTime virus because of off system errors, enter the Safe Mode with Networking and follow the below-displayed guidelines.

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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 PopCornTime 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.
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Manual PopCornTime virus Removal Guide:

Remove PopCornTime 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 PopCornTime

    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 PopCornTime removal.

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

Remove PopCornTime 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 PopCornTime. 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 PopCornTime removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Does Data Recovery Pro help to decrypt files?

Regarding current ransomware activity on the Web, the developers of this program updated the software and now it may be able to decrypt some of your files.

ShadowExplorer and its operation peculiarities

This utility recreates the files by using volume shadow copies which are located in a remote folder of Windows OS.

  • 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.

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

About the author

Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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References


  • hackerforlife

    It is common sense that the hackers will try to disguise under well-known apps…

  • MrBoo

    DECRYPTER! DOES ANYONE HAVE A DECRYPTER?

  • kevinhoopray

    It is high time FBI did something about these attacks…