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

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware

PyCL ransomware returns and continues attacking computer users worldwide

PYCL virus

PyCL virus seems to be another big thing in the ransomware industry. Despite that it is a brand new ransomware virus, everything that we know about it makes us presume that it is going to be distributed on a large scale. This virus is also known as Pay_creditcard ransomware. It has been programmed in Python[1] language, whereas common ransomware viruses are built in C++ programming language.

The virus is spread in the form of NSIS installer[2], and this technique is known to be used for Cerber ransomware distribution[3]. Once on the computer system, PyCL malware extracts some .txt files to %AppData%\Roaming\How_Decrypt_My_Files\ folder.

These extracted files are called index.html, pay_creditcard.html, read_me.txt, send_btc.html and style.css. We can call these as parts that all make up a ransom note (a message from cyber criminals). The virus extracts the rest of its components to %AppData%\Roaming\cl folder, connects to a Command & Control[3] (C&C) server and launches cl.exe file.

This file carries the malicious payload and starts encrypting files stored on the victim’s computer system right away. During this process, it corrupts images, videos, music files, documents, archives, and various other files, making exceptions only for files stored in system folders.

Following this procedure, the ransomware deletes Volume Shadow Copies[4] from the system, but only if the user has admin’s privileges on the compromised computer.

Then the ransomware virus connects to its C&C server again to make a POST request to The indicated request transfers some information about the victim, including his Windows version, computer name, username, processor architecture, and more.

The server then sends back an RSA-2048 encryption key, Bitcoin wallet address and the ransom price in Bitcoins and USD. The information received from the server will be saved into %AppData%\Roaming\cl folder as btc_address.txt, btc_price.txt, public_key.txt, and usd_price.txt.

In the same folder, the virus saves a list of target file extensions as a filelist.txt file. Every file then gets encrypted using the individual AES-256 key generated for each file, then the list of files and their decryption keys gets saved in a new file in CL folder. The file then gets encrypted with the RSA-2048 key.

Once this is done, the ransomware creates How Decrypt My Files.lnk file that automatically executes an index.html file from the How_Decrypt_My_Files folder, which we mentioned earlier. This file contains a full tutorial on how to restore encrypted files. Finally, the ransomware launches a lock screen, which is actually a UI.exe file.

The program keeps checking if the ransom amount was paid and restores files right after the C&C server confirms that the ransom was transmitted. However, the current version of this virus does not delete original file copies. Therefore all you have to do is to delete the virus using a powerful malware removal software. To remove PyCL ransomware the easy way, use programs like Reimage. Please do not try to initiate PyCL removal manually – you can do more harm than good to your computer!

Techniques that virus' developers use for its distribution

It is believed that the described ransomware is going to be improved in the nearest future and victims won’ be able to access original file copies anymore. Until then, you should get to know methods used to distribute the virus and what can be done to avoid PyCL ransomware attack.

First of all, malware researchers have discovered that the malicious ransomware was distributed via EITest to RIG exploit kit[5]. However, the ransomware was pushed for the victims only for one day, which gives a warning sign that it was the test of the ransomware. It seems that victims were experiencing redirects after visiting compromised websites, and these redirects would throw them on sites that host RIG EK.

As you might know, exploit kits scan the computer system for vulnerabilities and use them to execute commands on the system. The malicious program steps in as a bogus NSIS installer.

However, this might not be the only distribution method used by cyber criminals – most likely they are going to spread the virus via mail spam. To protect yourself from ransomware attacks, we highly suggest using a strong anti-malware software.[6] experts suggest using anti-malware and not antivirus program because such software can detect and remove a broader range of malicious programs.

Remove PyCl virus from your PC and recover lost data

To successfully remove PyCL virus and all files it dropped on your system, perform a system check with a security program and let it wipe the ransomware elements from the computer automatically. We do not suggest you try to delete the virus manually because it is simply a very hard thing to do.

This ransomware won’t leave its uninstaller for you, and it means that you need to have certain computing skills in order to complete PyCL removal by yourself. We suggest you a better option – use these instructions given below and delete the virus in automated way.

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If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
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Manual PyCL virus Removal Guide:

Remove PyCL using Safe Mode with Networking

Remove the ransomware using anti-malware software, but reboot your PC in a Safe Mode with Networking first. This will help you to prevent the ransomware from creating obstacles for your security software.

  • 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 PyCL

    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 PyCL removal.

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

Remove PyCL 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 PyCL. 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 PyCL removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

At the moment, PyCl ransomware does not delete original file copies, so all you have to do is to delete the virus. However, we STRONGLY recommend you to create a data backup because the next time you can get infected with a much more sophisticated ransomware variant and only data backups can save your files from a complete destruction.

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

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

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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  • Kyrill

    The fact that an exploit kit was used in its distribution test frightens me. Is this going to be the next Locky?

  • lulu28

    I was attacked by PyCL. Managed to recover my files. It doesnt delete real copies, for sure.

  • majorkey

    God save us from ransomware!

  • Jasper

    This one seems to be scary… i hope it never gets improved… however I already believe that im wrong..