Cyber criminals have probably already got in the festive mood because they have recently created a new threat called Santa_helper@protonmail.com Ransomware. Even though it has such a cute name, it works exactly like similar ransomware infections having an email address in their names. It has been found that it locks files with the AES-256 encryption algorithm once it enters the computer. Such computer infections do not do that just to make users annoyed. Instead, they lock these files because they seek to obtain money from people. Just like previously released ransomware infections do, it tells users that they have to send 1 Bitcoin to the 1J6X2LzDrLyR9EoEDVJzogwW5esq5DyHRB Bitcoin address to get their files decrypted. Do not rush to send money to cyber crooks because there might be a way to unlock files without the key they have. Also, you cannot know whether you will really receive that decryption key after transferring the money required by cyber criminals. In some cases, they do not even bother doing what they promise, i.e. sending the key/decryptor after getting what they want from users.
If Santa_helper@protonmail.com Ransomware successfully enters the computer, it will become immediately clear that a malicious application is inside the computer because it will no longer be possible to access a bunch of different files. Also, a pop-up window explaining why these files cannot be opened (“Your files is encrypted”) shows up on the screen. All these files will have a new filename extension .LOCKED next to the original extension, so you will find out quickly what has happened to your files. As has already been mentioned, cyber criminals expect users to pay 1 Bitcoin (~ 745 USD) for the key to decrypt files. It is, of course, up to you what to do, but our specialists do not recommend transferring money to cyber crooks no matter how badly you wish to get your files back. It does not mean that you have lost your files forever if you make a decision to keep the money to yourself. According to researchers, users can recover the important data from a backup (only if it has been made before the entrance of ransomware and is stored on external storage). In addition, it is very likely that one day the free decryptor will be developed by specialists, so if your important files are not among those that have been encrypted, you should better wait for it to be released.
When Santa_helper@protonmail.com Ransomware sneaks onto the system, it also makes several modifications so that it could work properly. First, it drops a file message.vbs to the %WINDIR% directory. Also, it creates its executable file and places it on the computer (there are several different directories it might be placed in). Last but not least, it creates the Value in HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. It is very likely that it needs to make those changes in the system registry so that it could launch again after the system restart and open the pop-up window with the ransom note.
It is important to remove Santa_helper@protonmail.com Ransomware as soon as possible in order not to let it encrypt new files, but you should also get some knowledge about the dissemination of these malicious applications so that you could prevent them from entering your PC and thus encrypting the personal data again in the future. Researchers say that all ransomware infections are distributed very similarly. There is no doubt that they enter computers without permission, but users often contribute to the entrance of ransomware without even realizing that. According to specialists, users often find their files encrypted after opening an attachment from a spam email, so it looks like ransomware is usually distributed through spam emails. Stay away from them in order not to cause harm to your PC. Also, you should download and install a security application.
Even though Santa_helper@protonmail.com Ransomware does not lock the screen and system utilities, users often find the removal of this threat a challenging task because its files have random names (this makes them hard to detect). To help our readers, we have created the step-by-step manual removal guide. We hope it helps, but if it is the opposite, you should go to use the SpyHunter malware remover. Download the diagnostic version (it detects existing threats) of this scanner from 411-spyware.com to try it out.