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.PPTX ransomware file decryptor and virus removal

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Learn what virus strain the .pptx ransomware represents, how it is distributed, and how to act if it encrypts important files and demands a ransom.

The new .pptx ransomware is like an echo from the past. That’s because it is a spinoff of a crypto malware family that has been mostly dormant for a year or so and has recently resurfaced with a large-scale spreading campaign bolstering it. This lineage is referred to as GlobeImposter 2.0. The latest variant has the following outward characteristics: it appends the .pptx extension to every hostage file, leaves a ransom message name READ_ME.txt, and demands 0.112-0.17 Bitcoin for decryption. The rescue note also tries to reassure the victim that the data can actually be restored, stating that up to two files can be decoded for free. An interesting hallmark of this mod is that the ransomed files seem to be assigned a format of Microsoft PowerPoint documents for some reason. It means they all get the corresponding icon, which holds true even for databases, images, videos, and other type of information. The pest, obviously, continues to live up to its imposter handle.

Encrypted .pptx files sprinkled all over an infected computer
Encrypted .pptx files sprinkled all over an infected computer

Having trespassed on a host computer, the .pptx ransomware runs a scan in search of data that the victim is most likely to care about. It goes with a list of popular file formats and, when performing the aforementioned traversal activity, compares the spotted objects against this database. The infection scours the hard disk, removable drives if inserted at the time of the attack, and network drives. Therefore, the odds of not finding some valuable items is negligible. Once the entirety of personal files has been located, the culprit unleashes its uncrackable cryptographic routine. In plain words, it locks down all target files, additionally concatenating the .pptx string to each one. The completion of the data skewing part of the attack is, predictably enough, followed by the extortion proper.

READ_ME.txt ransom note by GlobeImposter 2.0 .pptx ransomware
READ_ME.txt ransom note by GlobeImposter 2.0 .pptx ransomware

The READ_ME.txt document, which lists the preliminary steps to get started on recovery, is going to appear on the desktop and inside all folders containing encrypted files. It says, “Your files are Encrypted! For data recovery needs decryptor”, with the subsequent walkthrough instructing the user to download Tor Browser and visit a specific page via it. As a side note, the criminals are apparently not native English speakers, given the grammar of the ransom alert. There is also a unique ID in it that enables the malefactors to identify victims. That’s a long alphanumeric string that the victim is supposed to copy and paste in the decryptor page after the payment is made.

.pptx ransomware decryptor page accessible with Tor Browser
.pptx ransomware decryptor page accessible with Tor Browser

Speaking of the black hats’ recovery service, it is a Tor site displaying the size of the ransom, the payment deadline, the malicious agents’ BTC address, and a link to proceed after the funds have been submitted. The original amount is $777 worth of Bitcoin, which is 0.17 BTC at the time of this writing. Unless the user opts for buyout within two days after the incursion, the size will double – as if it already didn’t cost a fortune from the get-go. Anyway, sending any money to the cyber villains should be considered the last resort. First of all, this is because they may run off with the ransom and never restore any data. Secondly, the more victims cough up the money the more capabilities the adversary will have to fine-tune their malicious code and launch new onslaughts.

The .pptx virus is mainly doing the rounds by means of spam combined with the use of Office macros. People receive emails that appear eye-catching, and some open the attached document and enable macros to view the contents, just to get stealthy JavaScript triggered in the background. The process surreptitiously downloads the GlobeImposter 2.0 .pptx version and the compromise kicks off. So, exercise caution with email attachments, do not allow macros in documents received this way, and use reliable antimalware that will identify the infection and stop it in its tracks. In case you are reading this because the .pptx ransomware has already messed up your data, follow the steps below to see what you can do without going the ransom way.

.pptx ransomware automated removal and data recovery

Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:

1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button

Download .pptx file virus remover

2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.

Data recovery toolkit to the rescue

Some strains of ransomware are known to delete the original files after the encryption routine has been completed. As hostile as this activity appears, it can play into your hands. There are applications designed to revive the information that was obliterated because of malfunctioning hardware or due to accidental removal. The tool called Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic features this type of capability therefore it can be applied in ransom attack scenarios to at least get the most important files back. So download and install the program, run a scan and let it do its job.

Download Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro

.pptx ransomware manual removal and file recovery

Some ransomware strains terminate themselves after completing the encryption job on a computer, but some don’t. Furthermore, the .pptx blackmail virus may prevent victims from using popular antimalware tools in order to stay on board for as long as possible. Under the circumstances, it may be necessary to utilize the Safe Mode with Networking or System Restore functionality.

Remove .pptx ransomware using Safe Mode with Networking

Remove .pptx ransomware using Safe Mode with Networking

Boot into Safe Mode with Networking. The method to do it depends on the version of the infected operating system. Follow the instructions below for your OS build.

  • Restart the machine. When the system begins loading back up, keep pressing the F8 key with short intervals. The Windows Advanced Options Menu (Advanced Boot Options) screen will appear.Boot into Safe Mode with Networking on Windows Vista and 7
  • Use arrow keys to select Safe Mode with Networking and hit Enter. Log on with the user account infected by the ransomware.
  • Click on the Search icon next to the Start menu button. Type msconfig in the search field and select the System Configuration option in the results. Go to the Boot tab in the upper part of the GUI.Boot options on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10
  • Under Boot options, select Safe boot and click the Apply button. A prompt will appear to reboot the computer so that the changes take effect. Select the Restart option and wait for the system to load into Safe Mode. Again, log on with the ransomware-stricken user account.

In Safe Mode, the ransom Trojan won’t keep security software from running or otherwise thwart troubleshooting. Open your preferred web browser, download and install an antimalware tool of choice and start a full system scan. Have all the detected ransomware components removed in a hassle-free way.

Get rid of .pptx ransomware using System Restore

Get rid of .pptx ransomware using System Restore

System Restore enables Windows users to roll back all changes made to the OS since the latest restore point creation time. This feature can help eliminate the most persistent ransomware. Before going this route, though, make sure System Restore had been enabled prior to the breach, otherwise the method will be inefficient.

  • Open Windows Advanced Options Menu as described in the previous section: hit F8 repeatedly when the PC is starting up. Use arrow keys to highlight the Safe Mode with Command Prompt entry. Hit Enter.Safe Mode with Command Prompt
  • In the Command Prompt window, type cd restore and hit Entercd restore command
  • Type rstrui.exe in the new command line and press EnterType rstrui.exe command
  • When the System Restore screen pops up, click Next, select a restore point that predates the contamination, and use the application’s controls to roll back the system to this earlier state.System Restore window

Be advised that even after the ransomware is removed, files will still be encrypted and inaccessible. The malicious code cleanup part, however, is important because it keeps a relapse of the infection from occurring further on and eliminates all opportunistic malware.

Ways of non-ransom recovery of .pptx files

Cracking the crypto used by this ransom Trojan is more of a science fiction thing rather than an attainable prospect for the masses. This is why the troubleshooting in predicaments of this sort is a matter of two approaches: one is to pay the ransom, which isn’t an option for many victims; and the other is to apply instruments that take advantage of the ransomware’s possible weaknesses. If the latter is your pick, the advice below is a must-try.

Backups can make your day

Backups can make your day

Not only are you a lucky person in case you’ve been backing up your most important files, but you’re also a wise and prudent user. This isn’t necessarily a resource-heavy activity these days – in fact, some providers of online services are allocating a sufficient size of cloud storage space for free so that every customer can easily upload their critical data without paying a penny. Having removed the .pptx file ransomware, therefore, all you have to do is download your stuff from the remote server or transfer it all from an external piece of hardware if that’s the case.

Restore previous versions of encrypted files

Restore previous versions of encrypted files

A positive upshot of using this technique depends on whether or not the ransomware has erased the Volume Shadow Copies of the files on your PC. This is a Windows feature that automatically makes and keeps the backups of data elements on the hard drive as long as System Restore is enabled. The cryptoware in question is programmed to switch off the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), but it has reportedly failed to in some cases.

Checking one’s options regarding this workaround is doable in two ways: through the Properties menu of each file or by means of the remarkable open-source tool called Shadow Explorer. We recommend the software-based way because it’s automated, hence faster and easier. Just install the app and use its intuitive controls to get previous versions of the encrypted objects reinstated.
Shadow Explorer

Alternatively, you can leverage the Previous Versions feature, which is native to Windows operating system. This method is more cumbersome that the use of ShadowExplorer, but it can help restore the most important individual files on condition that the ransomware failed to disable the Volume Snapshot Service on the computer. Right-click on a file of choice and select Properties. Then, go to the Previous Versions tab as illustrated below.
Previous Versions

Go ahead and pick the file’s latest backup version on the list. Use the Copy or Restore buttons to reinstate this object to a new path or to its original folder, respectively.

Ransomware Prevention Tips

To avoid the GlobeImposter 2.0 .pptx ransomware and other file-encrypting infections in the future, follow several simple recommendations:

  • Toggle your email provider’s anti-spam settings to filter out all the potentially harmful incoming messages. Raising the bar beyond the default protection is an important countermeasure for ransom Trojans

  • Define specific file extension restrictions in your email system. Make sure that attachments with the following extensions are blacklisted: .js, .vbs, .docm, .hta, .exe, .cmd, .scr, and .bat. Also, treat ZIP archives in received messages with extreme caution

  • Rename the vssadmin.exe process so that ransomware is unable to obliterate all Shadow Volume Copies of your files in one shot

  • Keep your Firewall active at all times. It can prevent crypto ransomware from communicating with its C&C server. This way, the threat won’t be able to obtain cryptographic keys and lock your files

  • Back up your files regularly, at least the most important ones. This recommendation is self-explanatory. A ransomware attack isn’t an issue as long as you keep unaffected copies of your data in a safe place

  • Use an effective antimalware suite. There are security tools that identify ransomware-specific behavior and block the infection before it can do any harm.
These techniques are certainly not a cure-all, but they will add an extra layer of ransomware protection to your security setup.

Revise your security status

Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup.

Download GlobeImposter 2.0 .pptx ransomware removal tool

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