Ransomware | 07/12/2019

How to remove php ransomware from your system?

About: php ransomware is a newly launched Dharma ransomware variant. It infiltrates the system and makes your files unusable. However, this article will help you to get rid of this malicious virus.

| Ransomware | How to remove php ransomware from your system?

Understanding php ransomware

Dharma malware family has a new feather in its cap. The arsenal of this notorious ransomware is getting better day by day. The latest edition php ransomware is no different in executing the malicious intentions of its creators.  As always, the targeted operating system is Windows.


Alike, its cousins, php attack initiates with the encryption of data in your system. Eventually, it creates a unique decryption key on the hacker’s server. In order to recover .php files, the victim need the decryption key! The decryption process is a challenging task without this private key. Apart from it, the developers ask for large amount of ransom to enable the decryption key. Hence, the victim users are left with no other choice than paying the ransom.

However, this is not the only way out of this problem. There are a few virus removal guidelines that you can follow to remove ransomware virus manually. Scroll down to find the steps on how to remove php ransomware.

Threat Summary

Name Php Virus
Type Ransomware
Category Malware
Targeted OS Windows
Targeted Bowser Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox


Distribution Technique

The seeds of a malware are carefully planted on questionable websites to frame the honey trap for the users! The moment a connection is established followed by a wrong click on the website, these dangerous codes come in the existence with a silent switch and without the knowledge of the users, and they spread in the system.

Apart from the malicious websites, Trojans are another deceptive method used to distribute php file virus. Trojans are destructive programs designed to cause ‘chain-infections’. They gradually attack your system with the intention to further installation of nasty software.

Once in, php ransomware shows the qualities of a true master of disguise! It has its own set of rules to ensure it presences on a connecting network as well! It could be a data transfer request, the contact list of email client or even your favourite social networking list, php file virus is fined tuned to evade security protocols and journey to their selective destinations.

The moment this variant of dharma malware family establishes its identity in an affected system, it hunts for popular extensions that majorly represent user specific information.


Threat Behavior

To show its unethical presence and set the fear in the mind of users, it encrypts the file content with strong algorithm and makes the content unreadable. It appends a unique extension – .php to the file names. For example – ‘sample.jpg’ would be renames to ‘sample.jpg.php’.

Alike its siblings, it uses a powerful cryptography algorithm to encrypt the data. RSA – 1024 encryption algorithm is used to fulfil the evil idea of the developers of php virus. Once, the files are successfully encrypted by php malware, it generates a unique decryption key on the remote server. Keep in mind, obtaining the key is not a piece of cake! However, it offers a solution to the victim users. It asks for hefty ransom from the users to decrypt their sensitive information. The ransom amount may vary from $500 – $1500. Of course, in the form of bitcoins! In addition, these cyber crooks allow you to attach one .php file of around 1MB, which they decrypt for free as a proof. It is the trick to get the trust of victim users. After the encryption of the files/ documents, the ransom note ‘RETURN FILES.txt’ will be created in the victim’s system.

Ransom Note

Many of the users fall in the trap set by this expert marksman and end up paying to the demands. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee to the cure offered and the information may never be restored in many cases.


Removal guidelines for php ransomware


STEP A: Reboot your system to Safe Mode

Windows 7/ Vista/ XP

  1. Click on Windows icon present in the lower left corner of the computer screen.
  2. Select and click  Restart.
  3. When the screen goes blank, Keep tapping  F8  Key until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  4. With the help of arrow keys on keyboard, Select Safe Mode with Networking  option from the list and press the Enter Key. The system will then restart to Safe Mode with Networking.

5 Click on the username and enter the password (if any).

Windows 10 / Windows 8

  1. Press and hold the Shift Key and simultaneously click on the windows icon present in the lower left corner of your computer screen.
  2. While the Shift key is still pressed click on the Power button and then click on Restart.
  3. Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings.
  4. When the Startup Settings screen appears which is the first screen to appear after restart, select and click on Enable Safe Mode with Networking. The system will then restart to Safe Mode with Networking.
  5. Click on the username and enter the password.

STEP B: Delete the suspicious file from Configuration Settings

  1. Type “Msconfig” in search box / Run Box, select it and press Enter.
  2. Click on “Services” Tab and click on “Hide all Microsoft services”.
  3. Select php ransomware from the list of remaining services and disable it by removing the tick mark from the checkbox and click on Apply button.

Windows 7

  1. Click on the next tab – “Startup”.
  2. Find any blank or suspicious entry or the entry with php ransomware mentioned and remove the check mark.
  3. Click on Apply button and then click on OK.

Windows 10

  1. Click on the next tab – “Startup”.
  2. Take the mouse cursor to ‘Open task Manager‘ link and click on it.  This opens the Task Manager window.
  3. Find any blank or suspicious entry or the entry with php ransomware mentioned and click on it.
  4. Then click on Disable button.

STEP C: Remove malicious file from Command Prompt

Once the system starts, ensure to use an account with administrative privilege to access Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

After the user enters admin credentials, Command prompt window is displayed wherein you are entitled to enter the below commands:

  1. Type the command “sc delete php ransomware” in the command prompt and press Enter.
  2. Type “exit” to exit the command prompt and restart the system in safe mode with command prompt.


STEP D: Restore the system files & folder

Method 1 using Control Panel

  1. Click on the ‘Start’ button on the taskbar. This will open the Start menu.
  2. Click on the ‘Control Panel’ button in the Start menu. This will open the control panel window.
  3. In the Control Panel window, click on the ‘View by:’ button on the top right. Select the Large Icon option
  4. In the control Panel window click on the ‘Recovery Icon’. This will open a window that will ask ‘Restore the computer to an earlier point in time’.
  5. Click on the ‘Open system restore’ button. This will open the ‘system restore ’window where you need to click on the Next Button.
  6.  Select the restore point that is prior the infiltration of php ransomware. After doing that, click Next.
  7. This will open the ‘Confirm your restore point’ dialog box. Click on Finish button. This will restore your system to a previous restore point before your system was infected by php ransomware.


Method 2 using Command Prompt

  1. Type cmd in the search box and click on the command prompt to open the Command Prompt window. box and clicking on it.
  2. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.(Ensure that you in the system32 directory of Windows folder in C Drive)
  3. Now type rstrui and press Enter again.
  4. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of php ransomware. After doing that, click Next.
  5. This will open the ‘Confirm your restore point’ dialog box. Click on Finish button. This will restore your system to a previous restore point before your system was infected by php ransomware.



Method 3 : Directly type 'rstrui' in the search box

  1. Type ‘Rstrui’ in the search box present on the task bar. This will open the System restore dialog box.

Continue to follow steps 4 & 5 of Method 2 to restore the System Files and settings.

Tips to prevent your system from php ransomware

  1. Keeping the Operating System Updated- In order to remain protected and avoid such infections, it is recommended to keep your Operating System updated by enabling the automatic update on your system. The systems with outdated or older versions of Operating System become an easy target for the attackers.
  2. Resist clicking on spam emails – One of the major techniques used for malware distribution is forwarding spam emails to the user. The system gets infected as soon as the user clicks on the attachment. These mails appear to be genuine, so be aware and resist falling for these tricks.
  3. Keep an eye on third party installations- It is quite important that you take due care while installing any third party applications for they are major source of such infections. Such malware programs come bundled with the free applications thereby requiring the user to remain cautious.
  4. Regular periodical backup- In order to keep your data and files safe, it is recommended to take regular back up of all your data and files either on an external drive or cloud.
  5. Use Anti-Virus Protection- We strongly recommend the use of antivirus protection/internet security in your PC like Vipre and Kaspersky so that it remains safe.
  6. Enable the Ad Blocker/Popup Blocker in your browser- Enabling the popup blocker/ ad blocker in your chosen browser will help you to stay protected from annoying adware.

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