PhobosImposter Ransomware

PhobosImposter Ransomware Description

The PhobosImposter Ransomware is among the most recently spotted ransomware threats, which are lurking the Web looking for new victims. Many cyber crooks opt to build and distribute threats of this type because they are often seen as a way to generate some quick cash without much of a risk of getting caught. It is not clear yet whether the PhobosImposter Ransomware is a variant of any of the popular ransomware families. This is despite the attackers trying to mask their threat as a copy of the infamous Phobos Ransomware clearly. This is likely done because this notorious data-encrypting Trojan strikes fear in the hearts of users online worldwide.

Propagation and Encryption

Malware researchers have not yet pinpointed the exact infection vectors, which are to blame for the spreading of the PhobosImposter Ransomware. The creators of this threat may be taking advantage of some of the most popular ways or propagating file-locking Trojans. One of these methods, and arguably the most popular, is via spam email campaigns. The attackers use various social engineering techniques when tailoring the message in the email so that they are more likely to convince the user to launch the file they have attached. Usually, these files are macro-laced and, when opened, would trigger the execution of the threat. Another common technique of spreading ransomware threats is to use fake pirated copies of popular applications as an infection vector. This is why malware researchers keep warning users against downloading pirated software and media – this hides great risks. When the PhobosImposter Ransomware compromises the targeted host, it will begin scanning all the existing files. This is done so that the PhobosImposter Ransomware will mark all the files, which match the file types that its creators have programmed it to target. The list of targeted filetypes is usually very long because authors of ransomware aim to cause as much damage as possible. Next, the PhobosImposter Ransomware will begin its encryption process. The targeted files will be locked using a complex encryption algorithm. All the locked files will receive an additional extension at the end of their file names – ‘.phobos.’ For example, if you had named an image ‘sunset-hill.jpeg,’ the PhobosImposter Ransomware will alter its name to ‘sunset-hill.jpeg.phobos.’

The Ransom Note

When the encryption process is completed, the PhobosImposter Ransomware will proceed to drop its ransom note on the desktop of the victim. The note is named ‘Restore-My-Files.txt.’ In the message, the creators of this ransomware threat ensure the victims that all their data has been encrypted, and their files will be damaged permanently if the user attempts to unlock them with a third-party application. The attackers have not mentioned a specific sum regarding the ransom fee. However, they note that the price will depend on how quick the victim manages to get in touch with them on the email provided – ‘phomen@cock.li.’ Like most authors of ransomware threats, the creators of the PhobosImposter Ransomware demand the ransom fee to be paid via Bitcoin as this would protect their anonymity. For users who may not be accustomed with the cryptocurrency and how to obtain Bitcoin, they have attached a guide that would walk them through the process. As proof that the attackers are in possession of a working decryption key, they suggest the user sends them two files, which they will decrypt for free, provided that their size does not exceed 1MB. The files also must not contain any information, which may be deemed valuable.

It is always advisable to keep your distance when it comes to dealings with cybercriminals. Understandably, these are not among the most honest folk and are known to keep their promises rarely. This is why instead of paying cyber crooks like the ones behind the PhobosImposter Ransomware, you should download and install a legitimate anti-malware tool and use it to remove the threat from your PC safely.

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