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

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware
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The characteristics of a brand new Potato ransomware virus

Potato virus may sound like a joke; however, it’s a serious cyber threat that encrypts files stored on the attacked computer. Once it managed to get inside the computer, it starts encrypting files using the AES-256[1] cipher, which is known as military grade encryption. Therefore, when data encryption is over users cannot access any of their files that have .potato file extension. Though, victims are not left in obscurity. Potato ransomware drops two files right after data encryption. README.png and README.html files are the ransom notes where victims are asked to pay the ransom if they do not want to lose their files. Hackers provide detailed instructions how the transaction has to be made. The scenario barely differs from other ransomware developers orders. People have to download TOR[2] browser and using it access the payment website where they have to enter their unique ID number, hit “GET KEY” button and follow further instructions. People who are willing to trust the words of cyber criminals have to contact them via email potatoransom@sigaint.org. However, we recommend neither messaging them nor paying the ransom. First of all, you might be fooled and do not get the chance to decrypt your files even though the payment has been made. Secondly, Potato malware does not delete Shadow Volume Copies[3] of the targeted files. Therefore, if you do not backup files, you still have a chance to restore your files from shadow copies.

Apart from the ransom note, Potato virus also creates the folder on the affected computer’s desktop that includes three files. The first one is called “ID_number.txt” that includes a unique number of the targeted computer. Previously we have mentioned that this ID is necessary for decryption process. The second file is called “encrypted.txt” and provides the full list of files that had been touched by the ransomware. The third one is called “decryptor.exe (including MSVCR100.dll) which is supposed to be a decryption software. After paying the ransom, victims are supposed to receive the decryption key to use it. As we already mentioned, you should not follow these instructions. Instead of risking your money[4] and redeeming your personal documents, remove Potato virus from the computer. When your PC is virus-free, you can try additional data recovery methods that we presented below this article. Bear in mind that hesitation does not lead to anything good. After the attack, your computer and your privacy are in danger because you can expect other malware attacks as well. Therefore, start automatic Potato removal with Reimage or other strong malware elimination software.

How does ransomware infiltrate the computer?

Potato ransomware is still under investigation; however, hackers are suspected of using DarkComet RAT to get remote access to the computers. Then they download malware executable “potato.exe” and execute it. Once the malicious file is executed, malware starts data encryption and drops ransom notes to the system. However, we want to remind that ransomware might be spreading in many different ways. For example, malicious spam emails stay the main ransomware distribution technique. Furthermore, exploit kits also helps to infiltrate a vulnerable computer, and misleading ads might trick to click and install malware executable. Therefore, if you want to avoid ransomware[5], you have to watch your behavior online and protect your PC with security software.

Instructions for automatic Potato removal

Even though data recovery seems the priority for the majority of ransomware victims, Potato removal is the more important task. While malware resides on the computer, all data encryption methods are just a waste of time because malware can encrypt restored files again. What is more, if you do not follow our advice and pay the ransom, you might waste your money as well. After receiving your money hackers may ask for more and do not provide a decryption software. Therefore, remove Potato ransomware from the computer by scanning the computer with Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. If ransomware prevents from accessing security tools, follow 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 Potato 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 Potato virus Removal Guide:

Remove Potato 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.

If Potato malware prevents from accessing security tools necessary for automatic removal, reboot your PC to the Safe Mode as shown below.

  • 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 Potato

    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 Potato removal.

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

Remove Potato using System Restore

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

If you cannot start automatic removal, follow the steps below.

  • 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 Potato. 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 Potato removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

At the moment there’s no free decryption tool created yet that can decrypt files encoded by Potato virus; however, you should try these additional data recovery methods.

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

Data Recovery Pro – automatic data recovery option

Data Recovery Pro is a professional tool that helps to restore corrupted, lost or encrypted files. Follow these steps to use this tool:

Take advantage of Windows Previous Versions feature

If System Restore function was activated on the computer before Potato hijack, you could retrieve individual copies of the lost files by following these steps:

  • 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 – another way to restore files encrypted by the ransomware

Potato ransomware does not delete Shadow Volume Copies of the targeted files. Hence, ShadowExplorer can help you to restore encrypted files. Follow these steps:

  • 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 Potato 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


  • hahahaha

    Potato ransomware 😀 Maybe there are other viruses named after vegetables?

  • Inere

    Its not fun at all to be infected with ransomware…

  • Me

    no one should pay the ransom! i was a fool once, and i didnt get back my files ;/ i spent 500 dollars…