BACKJOHN Virus 🔐 (.BACKJOHN Files) — How to Remove?

Written by Brendan Smith
The Backjohn virus falls within the Phobos ransomware family. A harmful program of such sort encrypts all the data on your PC (images, documents, excel tables, music, videos, etc) and adds its own extension to every file, creating the info.txt files in every directory with the encrypted files.
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What is known about the Backjohnvirus?

☝️ A strictly correct designation for the Backjohn would be “a Phobos family ransomware malicious agent”.

The scheme of renaming is the following: id[xxxxx].[contact_email].BACKJOHN. As a part of encryption, a file named, for instance, “report.docx” will be turned into “report.docx.id[9ECFA84E-3143].[[email protected]].BACKJOHN”.

In each directory containing the encoded files, a info.txt text document will be created. It is a ransom money memo. Therein you can find information on the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other information. The ransom note usually contains a description of how to purchase the decryption tool from the ransomware developers. You can obtain this decrypting software after contacting [email protected] via email. That is basically the scheme of the felony.

Backjohn summary:
Name Backjohn Virus
Ransomware family1 Phobos ransomware
Extension .BACKJOHN
Ransomware note info.txt
Contact [email protected]
Detection MSIL/GenKryptik.GGWL, Doina.48214, Win32:Teerac-BX [Trj]
Symptoms Your files (photos, videos, documents) get a .BACKJOHN extension and you can’t open them.
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Backjohn virus

The info.txt document accompanying the Backjohn malware provides the following discouraging information:

!!!All of your files are encrypted!!!
To decrypt them send e-mail to this address: [email protected].
If we don\'t answer in 24h., send e-mail to this address: [email protected]

In the picture below, you can see what a directory with files encrypted by the Backjohn looks like. Each filename has the “.BACKJOHN” extension added to it.

Backjohn Virus - encrypted .BACKJOHN files

An example of encrypted .BACKJOHN files.

How did my machine catch Backjohn ransomware?

There are plenty of possible ways of ransomware injection.

There are currently three most exploited methods for hackers to have the Backjohn virus planted in your system. These are email spam, Trojan introduction and peer-to-peer networks.

If you access your mailbox and see letters that look just like notifications from utility services providers, delivery agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose mailer is unknown to you, be wary of opening those letters. They are very likely to have a malicious item enclosed in them. Thus it is even more dangerous to open any attachments that come with emails like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan virus scheme2. A Trojan is an object that gets into your PC disguised as something legal. Imagine, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some program. However, what is unpacked reveals itself a harmful agent that encodes your data. As the installation package can have any name and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the source of the things you’re downloading. The optimal thing is to use the software companies’ official websites.

As for the peer networks like torrents or eMule, the threat is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Internet. You can never guess what you download until you get it. So you’d better be using trustworthy websites. Also, it is a good idea to scan the folder containing the downloaded objects with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is finished.

How do I get rid of the Backjohn virus?

It is important to inform you that besides encrypting your data, the Backjohn virus will most likely deploy the Azorult Spyware on your computer to seize your credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That spyware3 can extract your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Sometimes tamperers would unblock several of your files to prove that they indeed have the decryption tool. Since Backjohn virus is a relatively new ransomware, anti-malware engineers have not yet found a way to undo its work. Nevertheless, the decryption tools are constantly upgraded, so the solution may soon be available.

Sure thing, if the criminals succeed in encoding victim’s essential data, the desperate person will probably comply with their demands. However, paying a ransom does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your blocked information back. It is still risky. After getting the money, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption code to the victim. There were reports of racketeers just disappearing after getting the money without even bothering to reply.

The best safety measure against ransomware is to have a system restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud disk or at least on an external storage. Surely, that might be not enough. Your most crucial thing could be that one you were working upon when it all went down. But at least it is something. It is also advisable to scan your drives with the anti-malware utility after the OS restoration.

Backjohn is not the only ransomware of its kind, since there are other specimens of ransomware out there that act in the same manner. For instance, Goaq, Qotr, Coaq, and some others. The two major differences between them and the Backjohn are the ransom amount and the method of encryption. The rest is almost identical: files become encrypted, their extensions changed, ransom notes are created in every directory containing encrypted files.

Some fortunate users were able to decode the blocked files with the help of the free software provided by anti-ransomware experts. Sometimes the racketeers mistakenly send the decoding code to the wronged in the ransom note. Such an epic fail allows the user to restore the files. But naturally, one should never expect such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a bandits’ tool to pull the money out of their victims.

How сan I avert ransomware injection?

Backjohn ransomware has no superpower, so as any similar malware.

You can protect your system from ransomware infiltration within three easy steps:

  • Ignore any emails from unknown senders with strange addresses, or with content that has likely no connection to something you are expecting (can you win in a lottery without participating in it?). If the email subject is more or less something you are expecting, check all elements of the dubious letter carefully. A hoax letter will surely have mistakes.
  • Do not use cracked or untrusted software. Trojans are often shared as an element of cracked software, possibly under the guise of “patch” to prevent the license check. Understandably, potentially dangerous programs are very hard to tell from trustworthy ones, as trojans may also have the functionality you need. Try searching for information about this software product on the anti-malware message boards, but the optimal way is not to use such software.
  • And finally, to be sure about the safety of the objects you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software will be a perfect defense for your PC.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft4

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft5.

Download Removal Tool.

You can download GridinSoft Anti-Malware by clicking the button below:

Run the setup file.

When setup file has finished downloading, double-click on the setup-antimalware-fix.exe file to install GridinSoft Anti-Malware on your system.

Run Setup.exe

An User Account Control asking you about to allow GridinSoft Anti-Malware to make changes to your device. So, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Setup

Press “Install” button.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Install

Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Splash-Screen

Wait for the Anti-Malware scan to complete.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your system for Backjohn infections and other malicious programs. This process can take a 20-30 minutes, so I suggest you periodically check on the status of the scan process.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scanning

Click on “Clean Now”.

When the scan has finished, you will see the list of infections that GridinSoft Anti-Malware has detected. To remove them click on the “Clean Now” button in right corner.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

FAQ

🤔 Is it possible to open “.BACKJOHN” files?

Negative. That is why ransomware is so frustrating. Until you decode the “.BACKJOHN” files you will not be able to access them.

🤔 I really need to decrypt those “.BACKJOHN” files ASAP. How can I do that?

Hopefully, you have made a copy of those important files. In case you haven’t, there is still a chance that you do have a Restore Point from some time ago to roll back the whole system to the moment when it had no virus yet, but already had your files. There are other ways to beat ransomware, but they take time.

🤔 Will GridinSoft Anti-Malware remove all the encrypted files alongside the Backjohn virus?

Absolutely not! The encrypted files are not harmful, so they won’t be deleted.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware only deals with real viruses. The malware that has infiltrated your computer is most likely still active and running scans periodically to encrypt any new files you might create on your computer after the initial attack. As it has been mentioned above, the Backjohn malware comes with the company. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide criminals with easy access to your computer after some time.

🤔 What to do if the Backjohn virus has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation key.

In such a case, you need to prepare a flash memory card with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the procedure. The point is that the ransomware runs automatically as the system boots and encrypts any new files created or brought into your PC. To suppress this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital programs to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on booting Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What could help the situation right now?

Some of the blocked files can be located elsewhere.

  • If you sent or received your important files through email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
  • You might have shared photographs or videos with your friends or family members. Simply ask them to send those images back to you.
  • If you have initially got any of your files from the Web, you can try to do it again.
  • Your messengers, social networks pages, and cloud disks might have all those files as well.
  • It might be that you still have the needed files on your old PC, a notebook, mobile, external storage, etc.

HINT: You can use data recovery programs6 to get your lost data back since ransomware arrests the copies of your files, removing the original ones. In the tutorial below, you can learn how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but be advised: you can do it only after you remove the ransomware itself with an antivirus program.

Also, you can contact the following governmental fraud and scam sites to report this attack:

To report the attack, you can contact local executive boards. For instance, if you live in USA, you can have a talk with FBI Local field office, IC3 or Secret Service.

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Brendan Smith
How to Remove BACKJOHN Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: BACKJOHN Virus

Description: BACKJOHN Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .BACKJOHN extension. So, you can't use them at all.

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
  2. You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
  3. You can read more on spyware variants and nature in the respective section of GridinSoft official website.
  4. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  5. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
  6. Here’s the list of Top 10 Data Recovery Software Of 2023.

About the author

Brendan Smith

I'm Brendan Smith, a passionate journalist, researcher, and web content developer. With a keen interest in computer technology and security, I specialize in delivering high-quality content that educates and empowers readers in navigating the digital landscape.

With a focus on computer technology and security, I am committed to sharing my knowledge and insights to help individuals and organizations protect themselves in the digital age. My expertise in cybersecurity principles, data privacy, and best practices allows me to provide practical tips and advice that readers can implement to enhance their online security.

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