FARGO Virus (.FARGO Files) — How to Remove?

Written by Brendan Smith
The Fargo virus falls under the ransomware type of malicious agent. A harmful program of such sort encrypts all user’s data on the computer (photos, documents, excel tables, audio files, videos, etc) and adds its own extension to every file, creating the FILE RECOVERY.txt text files in every folder which contains the encrypted files.
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What is Fargo virus?

☝️ A scientifically correct designation for the Fargo would be “a ransomware-type malicious agent”.

Fargo will append its own .FARGO extension to every file’s title. For example, a file named “photo.jpg” will be turned into “photo.jpg.FARGO”. Just like the Excel table named “table.xlsx” will be altered to “table.xlsx.FARGO”, and so forth.

In every folder with the encrypted files, a FILE RECOVERY.txt file will appear. It is a ransom money note. It contains information on the ways of paying the ransom and some other remarks. The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to buy the decryption tool from the racketeers. That is it.

Fargo overview:
NameFargo Virus
Extension.FARGO
Ransomware noteFILE RECOVERY.txt
Detection1Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Wanna.apno, Win32/Injector.AOXO, Win32/Spy.Chekafev.AB
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) get a .FARGO extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Fargo virus

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

Fargo Virus - encrypted .FARGO files

An example of encrypted .FARGO files.

How did my machine catch Fargo ransomware?

There are many possible ways of ransomware infiltration.

There are currently three most popular methods for malefactors to have the Fargo virus planted in your system. These are email spam, Trojan infiltration and peer networks.

If you access your mailbox and see emails that look like familiar notifications from utility services companies, postal agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is strange to you, be wary of opening those emails. They are very likely to have a viral item enclosed in them. So it is even more dangerous to download any attachments that come with letters like these.

Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan horse model2. A Trojan is a program that gets into your computer disguised as something legal. Imagine, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some software. But what is unboxed turns out to be a harmful agent that compromises your data. As the installation package can have any name and any icon, you have to make sure that you can trust the resource of the stuff you’re downloading. The optimal thing is to trust the software companies’ official websites.

As for the peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent or eMule, the threat is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Web. You can never know what you download until you get it. Our suggestion is that you use trustworthy resources. Also, it is a good idea to scan the folder containing the downloaded files with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is done.

How do I get rid of the Fargo virus?

It is crucial to inform you that besides encrypting your data, the Fargo virus will probably install the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That program can extract your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Sometimes criminals would decode some of your files to prove that they do have the decryption program. Since Fargo virus is a relatively new ransomware, anti-malware developers have not yet found a method to undo its work. However, the decoding instruments are constantly updated, so the effective countermeasure may soon arrive.

Of course, if the evildoers succeed in encoding victim’s critical files, the desperate person will most likely comply with their demands. Despite that, paying to racketeers does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your data back. It is still risky. After getting the ransom, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption code to the victim. There were reports about ransomware developers just vanishing after getting the ransom without even bothering to reply.

The best countermeasure to ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud disk or at least on an external storage. Obviously, that might be not enough. Your most crucial thing could be that one you were working upon when it all happened. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also wise to scan your PC for viruses with the antivirus program after the OS restoration.

There are other ransomware products, besides Fargo, that work similarly. For instance, Zfdv, Bbyy, Bbzz, and some others. The two main differences between them and the Fargo are the ransom amount and the method of encryption. The rest is almost identical: documents become inaccessible, their extensions changed, ransom notes appear in each directory containing encoded files.

Some lucky victims were able to decrypt the arrested files with the help of the free software provided by anti-ransomware developers. Sometimes the racketeers mistakenly send the decoding key to the victims in the ransom readme. Such an epic fail allows the injured part to restore the files. But obviously, one should never rely on such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a tamperers’ technology to lay their hands on the money of their victims.

How to avert ransomware injection?

Fargo ransomware has no superpower, neither does any similar malware.

You can armour yourself from its infiltration within several easy steps:

  • Never open any emails from unknown senders with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are expecting (how can you win in a lottery without even taking part in it?). If the email subject is likely something you are expecting, scrutinize all elements of the dubious letter carefully. A hoax letter will always have a mistake.
  • Never use cracked or untrusted programs. Trojan viruses are often spreaded as a part of cracked software, most likely under the guise of “patch” which prevents the license check. Understandably, potentially dangerous programs are difficult to distinguish from reliable software, as trojans sometimes have the functionality you need. You can try searching for information on this software product on the anti-malware forums, but the optimal way is not to use such programs at all.
  • And to be sure about the safety of the objects you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a powerful defense for your PC.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft3

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft4.

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 PC.

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 Fargo 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 completed, 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

Frequently Asked Questions

🤔 How can I open “.FARGO” files?Can I somehow access “.FARGO” files?

Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.FARGO” files first. Then you will be able to open them.

🤔 What should I do to make my files accessible as fast as possible?

Hopefully, you have made a copy of those important files. If not, there is still a function of System Restore but it needs a Restore Point to be previously saved. All other solutions require time.

🤔 If GridinSoft deletes the Fargo malware, will it also delete my files that were encrypted?

Of course not. The encrypted files are not harmful, so they won’t be deleted.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware only deals with actual viruses. The malware that has attacked your PC is most likely still active and launching checks from time to time to arrest any new files you might create on your PC after the infection. As it has been mentioned above, the Fargo virus comes with the company. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can take your account passwords by trespass and provide criminals with easy access to your system in the future.

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

In such a case, you need to have a memory stick with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to do the cleaning. You see, the ransomware runs automatically as the system launches and encodes any new files created or brought into your computer. To block this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential programs to run upon system boot. Consider reading our manual on booting Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What can I do right now?

Some of the blocked files can be found elsewhere.

  • If you sent or received your critical files via email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
  • You may have shared images or videos with your friends or relatives. Simply ask them to post those images back to you.
  • If you have initially downloaded any of your files from the Internet, you can try doing it again.
  • Your messengers, social media pages, and cloud drives might have all those files too.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old computer, a laptop, mobile, external storage, etc.

HINT: You can employ data recovery utilities5 to get your lost data back since ransomware arrests the copies of your files, removing the original ones. In the video below, you can learn how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but be advised: you won’t be able to do it before 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 FARGO Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: FARGO Virus

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

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. Encyclopedia of threats.
  2. You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
  3. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  4. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
  5. Here are the best 10 file recovery tools of 2021.

About the author

Brendan Smith

Journalist, researcher, web content developer, grant proposal editor. Efficient and proficient on multiple platforms and in diverse media. Computer technology and security are my specialties.

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