Ransomware cryptoviruses are among the most feared and most devastating pieces of malware out there. One of the most recently released viruses of this type is called PyCL Ransomware and our article is dedicated to informing our users about the way this file encrypting piece of programming functions.
But aside from that we will also provide you with information regarding its most common sources, so that you can avoid any potential future infections. But above all – at the end of this article we will provide you with a set of removal instructions that could help you detect and delete PyCL from your system. However, removing the virus alone won’t be enough to restore the files it has encrypted on your machine. In the same removal guide you will also find separate instructions on how to recover your files from system backups. We should warn you that we cannot guarantee the full recovery of your files, but it is still certainly worth a try and a better alternative to giving in to the criminals’ ransom demands.
How does ransomware operate and what can I do to prevent infections?
Ransomware viruses like PyCL typically enter your machine by stealth and get straight to business by first scanning your machine for targeted file types. These usually include images, music and video files, text and other documents, as well as sometimes even system files. Then, the malicious program begins to create identical copies of those files only with one significant difference – they have a strong encryption algorithm placed on them to prevent you from accessing them. You might have noticed that the encrypted files have a different extension now, which is a sure indication of the encryption. Afterwards, the original files are deleted and you are left with the inaccessible copies. Finally, a ransom note is generated on the screen of victim, informing them of the process that has just taken place and stating the demands of the hackers, which you are to fulfill if you expect to regain access to your data.
Needless to say that all of the above (save of course for the ransom note) is performed in full stealth, which is partially why these viruses are so successful – because you can’t stop them while they’re acting. However, in rare cases when the victim users know what to look for, they may be able to spot the ongoing infection and intercept it. Telltale signs include CPU and RAM spikes in your Task Manager, as well as a substantial slowdown of your machine for no apparent reason. While there may be other causes for these symptoms, checking your Task Manager for any unfamiliar processes may reveal a ransomware virus at work, at which point you will need to immediately shut down your computer and contact a specialist for help.
But as such cases are fairly rare and depending on the amount of data you have stored, as well as the processing power of your PC, you may not experience any symptoms at all, it’s best to make sure that you never contract such a virus, instead of having to battle it. You can do this by avoiding its most common sources, for example. These are usually fake and compromised online ads that we call malvertisements. They look no different from the regular ads you see on a day-to-day basis, such as popups and banners, only clicking on them can result in a fatal infection and not just with viruses like PyCL. And speaking of other malware, Trojan horses are often used to transport ransomware, so it would make sense to purchase a high-quality antivirus program, as it will be able to offer better protection against such threats. Trojans are most commonly spread via spam emails, so be sure to be very cautious with incoming correspondence and don’t open anything you think may be suspicious.
As far as your current situation with PyCL goes, you may be tempted to pay the requested money and simply have the ordeal over with. We wouldn’t suggest you count on that, because the hackers may not send you the promised decryption key, necessary to restore your files. In fact, this is often exactly the case, which is why we would recommend first removing the virus with the help of the below instructions and then trying to recover the data from system backups, as shown in our guide.
PyCL Ransomware Removal
Prior to starting to execute the steps from the guide, we advise you to either bookmark this page or open it on a separate device since throughout the process of completing the guide, you might need to exit your browser.
1: Using Safe Mode
Before beginning to troubleshoot the issue, you are advised to enter Safe Mode on your PC. If you do not know how to do that, use this guide on how to enter Safe Mode.
2: Spotting the process
Open your Task Manager using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc key combination. Next, go to the processes tab and carefully look through the list for any shady entries. Usually, malicious processes will be consuming large amounts of CPU and RAM and will either have no description or will have a suspicious-looking one.
Once you identify the virus’ process, right-click on it and select Open File Location. Delete everything in the folder that opens if you are sure that the process was malicious. If you are not sure, contact us in the comments.
Go back to the Task Manager and end the potentially harmful process.
3: Hosts file IP’s
Go to your start menu and in the search field, paste the following address: notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts. Select the first result and look at the bottom of the newly opened notepad file. See if there are any IP’s below “Localhost” and tell us in the comments if there were any IP addresses.
4: System Configuration Startup Programs
Type System Configuration in the Windows search bar and open the first result. Go to the Startup tab and take a look at the list of startup programs (on Windows 10, the Startup programs can be seen in the Startup Section of the Task Manager). If any of them look shady or have unknown manufacturer or a manufacturer with a sketchy name, uncheck those entries and click on OK.
Open the Run window (WinKey + R), type regedit and press Enter. Once the Registry Editor opens, press Ctrl + F and type the name of the virus. Select Find Next and delete whatever gets found that has the virus’ name. Do that with all search results.
6: Deleting potential virus files
Open the Start Menu and separately type each of the following locations: %AppData% %LocalAppData% %ProgramData% %WinDir% %Temp% . Open each of those folders and sort their contents by date. Delete the most recent files and folders. When you open the Temp folder, delete everything in it.