PHMQDW Ransomware (.PHMQDW files) — Removal Guide

Written by Brendan Smith
The Phmqdw virus falls within the Makop ransomware family. A harmful program of such sort encrypts all the data on your computer (images, documents, excel sheets, music, videos, etc) and adds its extra extension to every file, creating the RESTORE_FILES_INFO.txt text files in every folder which contains the encrypted files.
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What is known about the Phmqdwvirus?

☝️ A strictly accurate description for the Phmqdw is “a Makop family ransomware infection”.

The scheme of renaming is the following: [id******].[email].phmqdw. In the course of encryption, a file named, for example, “report.docx” will be renamed to “report.docx.[137BA04L].[[email protected]].phmqdw”.

In every directory containing the encoded files, a RESTORE_FILES_INFO.txt text document will be found. It is a ransom money memo. Therein you can find information on the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other remarks. The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to buy the decryption tool from the racketeers. You can obtain this decryptor after contacting [email protected] via email. That is it.

Phmqdw summary:
NamePhmqdw Virus
Ransomware family1Makop ransomware
Extension.[id******].[email].phmqdw
Ransomware noteRESTORE_FILES_INFO.txt
Contact[email protected]
DetectionMSIL/Spy.Agent.DSV, TrojanSpy:Win32/Delgent, Trojan.Ransom.Magniber
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) get a .[id******].[email].phmqdw extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Phmqdw virus

In the image below, you can see what a directory with files encrypted by the Phmqdw looks like. Each filename has the “.[id******].[email].phmqdw” extension added to it.

Phmqdw Virus - encrypted .[id******].[email].phmqdw files

That is how encrypted “.[id******].[email].phmqdw” files look.

How did my machine catch Phmqdw ransomware?

There are many possible ways of ransomware injection.

There are currently three most exploited ways for malefactors to have the Phmqdw virus acting in your system. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer-to-peer file transfer.

If you open your inbox and see letters that look like familiar notifications from utility services providers, delivery agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose “from” field is strange to you, beware of opening those letters. They are most likely to have a viral item attached to them. So it is even riskier to download any attachments that come with emails like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan horse scheme2. A Trojan is a program that infiltrates into your PC disguised as something legal. For example, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some software. However, what is unpacked turns out to be a harmful agent that corrupts 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 files you’re downloading. The best thing is to use the software developers’ official websites.

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

How do I get rid of the Phmqdw virus?

It is important to inform you that besides encrypting your files, the Phmqdw virus will most likely install the Azorult Spyware on your PC to get access to credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned program can extract your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Sometimes racketeers would decrypt some of your files to prove that they do have the decryption tool. As Phmqdw virus is a relatively new ransomware, safety measures developers have not yet found a way to undo its work. Nevertheless, the decoding tools are constantly updated, so the solution may soon arrive.

Of course, if the evildoers succeed in encoding victim’s critical files, the hopeless person will most likely fulfill their demands. Nevertheless, paying to racketeers does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your files back. It is still risky. After obtaining the money, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption key to the victim. There were reports about hackers simply vanishing after getting the money without even writing back.

The best solution against ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud drive or at least on an external storage. Obviously, that might be insufficient. Your most crucial thing could be that file you were working on when it all started. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also reasonable to scan your drives with the antivirus program after the system is rolled back.

There are other ransomware products, besides Phmqdw, that work similarly. Examples of those are Udla, Tuid, Kxde, and some others. The two main differences between them and the Phmqdw are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: files become encoded, their extensions changed, ransom notes are created in each directory containing encrypted files.

Some lucky people were able to decrypt the blocked files with the help of the free software provided by anti-malware experts. Sometimes the criminals mistakenly send the decoding key to the wronged in the ransom readme. Such an extraordinary fail allows the injured part to restore the files. But of course, one should never rely on such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a criminals’ tool to lay their hands on the money of their victims.

How to avert ransomware attack?

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

You can armour your system from its attack within several easy steps:

  • Ignore any letters from unknown senders with strange addresses, or with content that has likely no connection to something you are waiting for (how can you win in a money prize draw without participating in it?). If the email subject is more or less something you are waiting for, check all elements of the suspicious letter with caution. A hoax letter will surely contain mistakes.
  • Do not use cracked or unknown programs. Trojan viruses are often distributed as a part of cracked products, most likely as a “patch” preventing the license check. Understandably, untrusted programs are very hard to distinguish from reliable software, because trojans may also have the functionality you seek. Try to find information about this software product on the anti-malware forums, but the best solution is not to use such programs at all.
  • And finally, to be sure about the safety of the files you downloaded, scan them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software will be a powerful shield 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 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 computer for Phmqdw 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

FAQ

🤔 Is it possible to open “.[id******].[email].phmqdw” files?

Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.[id******].[email].phmqdw” files first. Then you will be able to open them.

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

If the “.[id******].[email].phmqdw” files contain some really important information, then you probably have them backed up. 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. All other solutions require time.

🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to get rid of the Phmqdw virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?

Of course not. Unlike the ransomware program itself, the encrypted files do not jeopardize your system.

With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your PC off the actual threats. The virus that has attacked your system is most likely still functional and it scans your system periodically to encrypt any new files you might create on your PC after the attack. As it has already been said, the Phmqdw malware does not come alone. 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 actions should I take if the Phmqdw ransomware has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation key.

If that happened, you need to prepare a flash memory card with a pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the cleaning. The point is that the ransomware runs automatically as the system launches and encrypts any new files created or brought into your system. To stop this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential applications to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What can I do right now?

Many of the blocked files might still be at your disposal

  • If you sent or received your important files via email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
  • You may have shared photographs or videos with your friends or relatives. Simply ask them to send those pictures back to you.
  • If you have initially downloaded any of your files from the Web, you can try downloading them again.
  • Your messengers, social media pages, and cloud disks might have all those files too.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old PC, a notebook, cellphone, memory stick, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can use data recovery utilities5 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware encrypts the copies of your files, removing the authentic 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 PHMQDW Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: PHMQDW Virus

Description: PHMQDW Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .[id******].[email].phmqdw 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. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  4. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/comparison
  5. Here’s the list of Best 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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