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

Written by Brendan Smith
The Usr virus falls under the Phobos ransomware family. Harmful software of this type encrypts all the data on your PC (photos, documents, excel tables, audio files, videos, etc) and appends its own extension to every file, leaving the info.txt text files in every folder with the encrypted files.
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Usr virus: what is known so far?

☝️ A scientifically accurate description for the Usr is “a Phobos family ransomware malicious agent”.

The scheme of renaming is this: id[xxxxx].[contact_email].usr. In the course of encryption, a file named, for example, “report.docx” will be altered to “report.docx.id[9ECFA84E-3449].[[email protected]].usr”.

In every folder that contains the encoded files, a info.txt text document will appear. It is a ransom money memo. Therein you can find information about 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 ransomware developers. You can get this tool after contacting [email protected] by email. That is how they do it.

Usr overview:
Name Usr Virus
Ransomware family1 Phobos ransomware
Extension .usr
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 .usr extension and you can’t open them.
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Usr virus

The info.txt file coming in package with the Usr ransomware 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 Usr looks like. Each filename has the “.usr” extension appended to it.

Usr Virus - encrypted .usr files

That is how encrypted “.usr” files look.

How did Usr ransomware end up on my PC?

There is a huge number of possible ways of ransomware infiltration.

There are currently three most popular methods for hackers to have ransomware working in your system. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer networks.

If you open your mailbox and see letters that look like familiar notifications from utility services companies, delivery agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is unknown to you, beware of opening those emails. They are very likely to have a malware file attached to them. Thus it is even riskier to download any attachments that come with emails like these.

Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan horse scheme2. A Trojan is a program that infiltrates into your machine pretending to be something different. Imagine, you download an installer for some program you want or an update for some software. But what is unboxed reveals itself a harmful agent that encodes your data. As the update wizard 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 best way is to trust the software developers’ official websites.

As for the peer networks like torrent trackers or eMule, the danger 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 resources. Also, it is reasonable to scan the directory containing the downloaded objects with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is done.

How to remove the Usr virus?

It is important to inform you that besides encrypting your data, the Usr virus will most likely deploy the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That program can extract your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Often racketeers would decode few of your files to prove that they do have the decryption tool. As Usr virus is a relatively new ransomware, anti-malware engineers have not yet found a method to undo its work. However, the decoding instruments are constantly updated, so the solution may soon be available.

Understandably, if the tamperers succeed in encoding victim’s critical files, the desperate person will most likely fulfill their demands. Nevertheless, paying a ransom gives no guarantee that you’re getting your blocked information back. It is still risky. After receiving the ransom, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption key to the victim. There were reports of racketeers simply vanishing after getting the money without even writing back.

The best countermeasure to ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your essential files in the cloud disk or at least on an external storage. Obviously, that might be insufficient. Your most important thing could be that one you were working upon when it all started. But at least it is something. It is also advisable to scan your PC for viruses with the antivirus program after the system is rolled back.

Usr 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, Qotr, Coaq, Cosw, and some others. The two basic differences between them and the Usr are the ransom amount and the method of encryption. The rest is almost identical: files become inaccessible, their extensions changed, ransom notes emerge in each directory containing encoded files.

Some lucky users were able to decrypt the blocked files with the aid of the free tools provided by anti-malware specialists. Sometimes the hackers accidentally send the decoding code to the victims in the ransom note. Such an extraordinary fail allows the injured part to restore the files. But obviously, one should never rely on such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a criminals’ tool to pull the money out of their victims.

How do I avert ransomware attack?

Usr ransomware has no endless power, neither does any similar malware.

You can protect your computer from ransomware injection taking several easy steps:

  • Never open any emails from unknown senders with strange addresses, or with content that has likely no connection to something you are waiting for (can you win in a money prize draw without even taking part in it?). If the email subject is likely something you are waiting for, scrutinize all elements of the questionable email carefully. A hoax letter will always contain mistakes.
  • Do not use cracked or unknown programs. Trojan viruses are often distributed as an element of cracked products, possibly under the guise of “patch” preventing the license check. But untrusted programs are very hard to tell from trustworthy ones, because trojans may also have the functionality you need. You can try to find information about 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 files you downloaded, use GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a perfect shield for your personal computer.
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 Usr 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

Frequently Asked Questions

🤔 Can I somehow access “.usr” files?

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

🤔 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.

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

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

GridinSoft Anti-Malware only deals with active threats. The virus that has infected your system is must be still functional and launching checks from time to time to arrest any new files you might create on your computer after the initial attack. As it has already been said, the Usr ransomware does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide malefactors with easy access to your PC after some time.

🤔 What actions should I take if the Usr 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 pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the procedure. You see, the ransomware runs automatically as the system launches and encrypts any new files created or imported into your machine. To stop this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital programs to run upon system boot. Consider reading our manual on booting Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What could help the situation right now?

Some of the encrypted data can be located elsewhere.

  • If you sent or received your important files through email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
  • 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 downloaded any of your files from the Internet, you can try doing it again.
  • Your messengers, social networks pages, and cloud storage might have all those files as well.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old computer, a portable device, phone, memory stick, etc.

HINT: You can employ data recovery programs5 to get your lost data back since ransomware arrests 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 kill the ransomware itself with an antivirus 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 USR Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: USR Virus

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