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Remove PureLocker ransomware (Removal Instructions) - May 2020 update

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware

PureLocker ransomware – a cryptovirus that affects Windows, Linux, and macOS device and encrypts servers

PureLocker ransomware
PureLocker ransomware is a malware strain that targets production servers with targeted attacks and locks all data files on them

PureLocker is a ransomware strain that is written in programming language PureBasic (which is quite an unusual trait) – it allows malicious actors to deploy malware on Windows, Linux, and macOS systems. It has been spotted attacking various organizations and their servers in targeted attacks recently. It mainly encrypts databases or servers and then requires ransom in Bitcoin to return those files.

Once inside the system, PureLocker ransomware makes necessary changes to the system and begins to look for files that can be encrypted. Once detected, all the data gets locked with AES-256 + RSA-4096[1] encryption algorithm and an extension .CR1 is appended to each of the files, preventing any further access. Additionally, the drops a ransom note YOUR_FILES.txt, which explains to users what happened to their data and that they need to pay a ransom in order to recover it.

PureLocker is also very careful when it comes to payload delivery. Before starting the infection process, it performs several checks and, if not all the conditions are met, it will exit without performing any further actions. The check makes sure that the malware is executed as intended (for example, whether the malware is being executed via regsrv32.exe or if the file extension is .ddl/.ocx) and that it is not being debugged/analyzed by malware researchers.

Name PureLocker ransomware
Type Cryptovirus, file locking malware
Operational scheme Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS)
Targeted systems  While most of the ransomware viruses are developed for Windows OS, this malware strain can also be used to attack macOS and Linux systems 
Cipher  All files (apart from system and executable files) are encrypted with a combination of AES-256 and RSA-4096 encryption algorithms
Extension  Victims can quickly recognize encrypted files that are no longer accessible by .CR1 marker
Ransom note Malware drops YOUR_FILES.txt file on victims' desktops, which includes all the instructions about how to proceed next
Contact details Malware authors ask users to contact them by using cr1-silvergold1@protonmail.com or another email within seven days of the initial infections, or the personal key required for data decryption will be deleted (the claim is not yet verified)
Code Researchers claim that ransomware developers are reusing the code of More_Eggs backdoor (also known as Terra Locker and SpicyOmlette)
Targets Malware is known to be targeting corporate servers
Elimination  Ransomware is programmed to delete itself upon successful infiltration. However, users should employ a most powerful up-to-date anti-malware tool to perform a full system scan in Safe Mode to make sure no malicious components are left
File decryption There is no working decryptor that could help with PureLocker ransomware-encrypted files. However, victims can restore their data by using data recovery tools (in some cases), or by paying ransom to cybercriminals (not recommended)
Recovery PureLocker was based on a sophisticated backdoor and could possibly insert other malware on the system, which might corrupt the Windows registry and damage system files. To revert this damage, we recommend using repair software Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

The amount of ransom is not provided by PureLocker ransomware developers, although they ask victims to contact them using cr1-silvergold1@protonmail.com email and claim that the private key that is capable of restoring the data on the compromised machine will be deleted after seven days from the infection date. Note that email address varies and be different for each victim. Since ransomware has just been discovered recently, no decrypter is currently available for file redemption.

While there is no data recovery price mentioned in the ransom note, it is highly likely that criminals will ask for a relatively large sum of money, considering that the malware targets organizations. YOUR_FILES.txt includes the following message:

#CR1
All your files have been encrypted using: AES-256-CBC + RSA-4096.
Shadows copies were removed, original files were overwritten, renamed and deleted using safe methods.
Recovery is not possible without own RSA-4096 private key.

Only we can decrypt your files!

To decrypt your files contact us at: cr1-silvergold1@protonmail.com

Your private key will be deleted after 7 days starting from: [date], after that the recovery of your files will not be possible.

Paying cybercriminals is quite risky, especially when there has not been any successful PureLocker ransomware decryption tool retrieval. The attackers might be frauds, and never send the promised software, even after the payment in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency is processed.

Instead, you can use other solutions for file decryption. For example, data recovery software might be one of the solutions to recover PureLocker-encrypted files, although chances are relatively low. To find out more about alternative data restoration methods, check our recovery section below.

PureLocker ransomware virus
PureLocker is file locking malware that was written in PureBasic programming language, increasing its evasion and persistence

A famous hacking group is behind a backdoor which code was used by PureLocker 

PureLocker ransomware managed to stay under the radar for several months – not many AV engines on Virus Total were detecting the threat due to its sophisticated evasion techniques such as hiding certain of its components in sandbox environments. Nevertheless, the most up-to-date security software should help with PureLocker ransomware removal in Safe Mode environment.

Intezer and IBM X-Force researchers, who analyzed the sample of PureLocker ransomware,[2] claimed that some of its components are closely related to More_Eggs (also known as Terra Loader and SpicyOmelette)[3] backdoor, which was available on the dark market by a prominent hacker group Cobalt – it operates an underground malware-as-a-service[4] (MaaS) scheme. The backdoor was also used by another criminal gang, FIN6, that primary targets financial organizations.

Researchers claim that PureLocker virus uses a completely unique code that was either heavily modified from an existing malware or is something completely new. Indeed, ransomware that can infect all operating systems and be highly evasive while doing so might cause maximum damage to its victims.

Ransomware operation methods

In most of the cases, corporations send a targeted phishing email that carries a malicious attachment, which, once opened, executes several commands and downloads the main payload of the ransomware. The analyzed sample by experts was an obfuscated 32-bit DLL file that presented itself as a C++ library Crypto++.

The library contains elements that are typical to music playback functions that are used by regular programs. These included:

  • DeleteMusic
  • DllRegisterServer
  • FindMusic
  • MoveMusic
  • SeekMusic
  • UploadMusic

Due to this component, ransomware managed to bypass the detection of most of the AV vendors in recent weeks. Additionally, once the file was executed in a sandbox[5] environment, it did not show any suspicious or malicious activity. Paying attention to details and being more suspicious can help avid these infections since some red flags can indicate a malicious purpose of the email.  PureLocker ransomware encrypted files
PureLocker encrypts all files with .CR1 extension, although this might change depending on the affiliate parties that are using the ransomware-as-a-service scheme

Recovery options after PureLocker ransomware infection

PureLocker virus is relatively unique ransomware that uses various tricks to stay undetected by security solutions. While it is true that automatic removal will be performed immediately after it accomplishes its tasks, it might leave multiple components behind or even a secondary payload. In any case, the best solution would be running a reputable anti-malware tool in Safe Mode just to make sure.

Once you remove PureLocker ransomware and all other malicious components, you can attempt to recover your data. Upon infiltration, the malware deletes Shadow Volume Copies – these are automatic Windows backups that otherwise would save you from permanent data loss. If this process fails, you might have a chance of restoring all your files. Additionally, below, you will find suggestions for other methods that might help in some cases.

PureLocker ransomware removal is the process that comes in stages. The first step is ensuring that the machine is no longer affected by malware – running security tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes or anti-malware programs. This way you can clean the system and move on to data recovery. Also, to make the difference in system performance repair files and functions using Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove PureLocker virus, follow these steps:

Remove PureLocker using Safe Mode with Networking

To check if no malware components are present on your computer, access Safe Mode with Networking and perform a full system scan:

  • 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 PureLocker

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete PureLocker removal.

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

Remove PureLocker using System Restore

System Restore can be used to eliminate the threat:

  • 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 PureLocker. 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 Reimage Cleaner Intego and make sure that PureLocker removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Data Recovery Pro option might be helpful

Data Recovery Pro is one of the methods that might work when recovering data encrypted by PureLocker ransomware – it aims to retrieve working copies of files within your hard drive. Nevertheless, such an option might only work for some of your files or not work at all.

  • 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 PureLocker ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Make use of Windows Previous Versions feature

This option is possible only if you had System Restore enabled before the infection took place.

  • 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 be able to recover all your data

Shadow Volume Copies might not be deleted by ransomware in some cases. In such a case, use 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.

No decryption tool is currently available for PureLocker ransomware

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from PureLocker and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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