UNKNOWN Virus ๐Ÿ” (.UNKNOWN Files) โ€” How to Remove?

Written by Brendan Smith
The Unknown virus belongs under the Phobos ransomware family. Malware of such sort encrypts all the data on your computer (images, documents, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and appends its extra extension to every file, leaving the info.txt files in each folder with the encrypted files.
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What is Unknown virus?

โ˜๏ธ A scientifically correct designation for the Unknown would be “a Phobos family ransomware malicious agent”.

The scheme of renaming is the following: id[xxxxxx].[contact_email].unknown. During the encryption, a file entitled, for example, “report.docx” will be renamed to “report.docx.id[9ECFA84E-3351].[[email protected]].unknown”.

In every folder that contains the encrypted files, a info.txt file will appear. It is a ransom money memo. Therein you can find information about the ways of paying the ransom and some other information. The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to buy the decryption tool from the Unknown developers. You can get this decryptor after contacting [email protected] via email. That is how they do it.

Unknown abstract:
Name Unknown Virus
Ransomware family1 Phobos ransomware
Extension .unknown
Ransomware note info.txt
Contact [email protected]
Detection Crytex.Virus.FileInfector.DDS, Win32/Filecoder.OLC, Malware-Cryptor.InstallCore.5
Symptoms Your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .unknown extension and you can’t open them.
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Unknown virus

The info.txt file accompanying the Unknown malware states the following:

!!!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 messge to telegram: @Stop_24

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

Unknown Virus - encrypted .unknown files

An example of encrypted .unknown files.

How did Unknown ransomware end up on my PC?

There are many possible ways of ransomware injection.

Nowadays, there are three most popular methods for evil-doers to have the Unknown virus settled in your system. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer-to-peer file transfer.

If you access your inbox and see emails that look just like notifications from utility services providers, postal agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose addresser is unknown to you, beware of opening those letters. They are very likely to have a ransomware item enclosed in them. Therefore, it is even more dangerous to open any attachments that come with letters like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan virus scheme2. A Trojan is an object that infiltrates into your PC pretending to be something legal. Imagine, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some program. But what is unpacked reveals itself a harmful program that encodes your data. Since the update file can have any name and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the source of the files you’re downloading. The optimal way is to trust the software companies’ official websites.

As for the peer file transfer protocols like BitTorrent or eMule, the danger 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. 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 Unknown virus?

It is crucial to inform you that besides encrypting your files, the Unknown virus will probably deploy the Azorult Spyware on your PC to get access to credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That spyware3 can extract your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Often criminals would unblock some of your files to prove that they indeed have the decryption tool. As Unknown virus is a relatively new ransomware, safety measures engineers have not yet found a method to reverse its work. Nevertheless, the decoding tools are constantly upgraded, so the effective countermeasure may soon be available.

Understandably, if the criminals do the job of encrypting someone’s critical files, the desperate person will probably fulfill their demands. Nevertheless, paying to criminals gives no guarantee that you’re getting your blocked information back. It is still dangerous. After getting the ransom, the racketeers may send a wrong decryption code to the injured party. There were reports about malefactors simply disappearing after getting the ransom without even bothering to reply.

The optimal safety measure against ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud storage or at least on an external drive. Obviously, that might be not enough. The most important thing could be that one you were working upon when it all happened. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also advisable to scan your drives with the antivirus program after the system restoration.

Unknown is not the only ransomware of its kind, since there are other specimens of ransomware out there that act in the same manner. Examples of those are Mzop, Bpws, Bpsm, and some others. The two basic differences between them and the Unknown are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: files become blocked, their extensions changed, ransom notes are created in every directory containing encoded files.

Some lucky victims were able to decode the arrested files with the help of the free software provided by anti-ransomware specialists. Sometimes the criminals mistakenly send the decoding code to the victims in the ransom note. Such an epic fail allows the victim to restore the files. But naturally, one should never expect such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a criminals’ technology to lay their hands on the money of their victims.

How to avert ransomware infiltration?

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

You can armour your computer from ransomware attack taking three easy steps:

  • Never open any emails from unknown senders with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (how can you win in a lottery without even taking part in it?). If the email subject is likely something you are waiting for, check all elements of the suspicious email with caution. A hoax email will surely have a mistake.
  • Avoid using cracked or unknown programs. Trojan viruses are often distributed as an element of cracked products, possibly as a โ€œpatchโ€ to prevent the license check. Understandably, potentially dangerous programs are difficult to distinguish from reliable software, because trojans may also have the functionality you seek. You can try to find information about this software product on the anti-malware message boards, but the best way is not to use such software.
  • And to be sure about the safety of the objects you downloaded, use GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a powerful shield 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 โ€œYesโ€ 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 Unknown 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 โ€œClean Nowโ€ button in right corner.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

Frequently Asked Questions

๐Ÿค” Can I somehow access “.unknown” files?

There’s no way to do it, unless the files “.unknown” files are decrypted.

๐Ÿค” The encrypted files are very important to me. How can I decrypt them quickly?

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. There are other ways to beat ransomware, but they take time.

๐Ÿค” You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to get rid of the Unknown virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?

Absolutely not! Unlike the ransomware program itself, the encrypted files do not jeopardize your system.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware only deals with actual viruses. The virus that has infiltrated your device is must be still active and running scans periodically to encrypt any new files you might create on your PC after the initial attack. As it has already been said, the Unknown malware comes with the company. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide malefactors with easy access to your computer in the future.

๐Ÿค” What to do if the Unknown virus has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation key.

If that happened, you need to have a flash memory drive with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to execute the procedure. The point is that the ransomware starts automatically as the system launches and encodes any new files created or imported into your machine. To stop this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital applications to run upon system boot. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.

๐Ÿค” And what should I do now?

Some of the encrypted files can be found elsewhere.

  • If you sent or received your important files via email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
  • You might have shared photographs or videos with your friends or family members. Just ask them to post those images back to you.
  • If you have initially got any of your files from the Web, you can try downloading them again.
  • Your messengers, social media pages, and cloud drives might have all those files as well.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old computer, a portable device, mobile, external storage, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can use data recovery utilities6 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware encodes the copies of your files, deleting the original ones. In the video below, you can see how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but remember: you can do it only after you remove the virus with an anti-malware program.

Also, you can contact the following official 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 UNKNOWN Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: UNKNOWN Virus

Description: UNKNOWN Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .unknown 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 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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