SQPC ransomware seeks to take all your files hostage
- SQPC ransomware seeks to take all your files hostage
- Ransomware infects computers via illegal downloads – stay away from them
- Guide on preventing ransomware infections
- Best way to remove SQPC ransomware virus
- SQPC ransomware FAQ
SQPC ransomware is a file-encrypting virus which is the 224th version of STOP.DJVU. The virus aims to make victim’s personal files inaccessible and force him/her to pay a ransom to the cybercriminals. To make infected files recognizable, the ransomware marks each of them with additional .sqpc file extension. The malware creates and drops _readme.txt ransom note in every affected folder, and the note contains a threatening message from cybercriminals – pay a ransom ($490-$980 in Bitcoin) or lose your files for good. To contact the criminals, the victim is advised to write to firstname.lastname@example.org or reserve e-mail address email@example.com.
The ransom note (“_readme.txt“) explains that all personal files such as images, photos, documents and videos have been encrypted. In order to decrypt .sqpc files, the victim is instructed to pay a ransom in Bitcoin. According to the criminals, the victim may pay a lower price with 50% discount if he/she contacts the attackers via provided emails within 3 days (72 hours). In such case, the ransom price is $490. However, if the victim delays contacting the attackers, the ransom price will be worth $980.
The note also instructs to check for criminals’ reply in Spam or Junk folders in case no answer is received within 6 hours after writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. These two emails have been used in many previous DJVU versions, such as MPAL, QEWE, LEZP, MPAJ and others.
If you have been affected by SQPC file virus, we strongly advise you not to pay the ransom. Often times, ransomware victims pay the ransom in a rush, but criminals fail to provide working keys due to flaws in ransomware. Moreover, remember that cybercriminals are quick to vanish once they receive what they wanted – your money. In addition, another reason not to pay the ransom is that by paying, you would fund their malicious business and motivate them to create malware continuously.
|Name||SQPC ransomware virus|
|Type||Ransomware; file-encrypting malware|
|Version||224th version of STOP/DJVU|
|Ransom price||$490 or $980|
|Extension||.SQPC file extension|
|Detection names||Win/malicious_confidence_100% (W), A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.HCSI, Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.mh and others (full list on VirusTotal)|
|Symptoms||Ransomware starts the attack by disabling Windows Task Manager and displaying a fake Windows update screen. It then encrypts and marks all files with .sqpc file extensions. Additionally, files named _readme.txt will be dropped in every affected folder. The ransom note tells that there is no way to restore files except of paying a ransom.|
|Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com|
|Associated processes||F820.tmp.exe, D7CA.tmp.exe or similar; Winupdate.exe (fake Windows update prompt)|
|Distribution||Distribution is based on software cracks, KMSPico, keygens and similar illegal downloads|
|Removal||Use anti-malware to remove malicious remains from your computer. To identify and repair virus damage on Windows OS files, we recommend using RESTORO|
|Post-removal steps||Restore files using data backups, or, if you have been affected by the offline encryption, wait for STOP Decrypter update. Change all of your passwords.|
Ransomware installs a password-stealer and modifies Windows HOSTS file
During the attack, SQPC virus displays a fake Windows update prompt and disables Windows Task Manager so that the victim could not end the malicious process rapidly.
Screenshot of the fake Windows update displayed by the ransomware:
Next thing it does is install AZORULT Trojan on the system. This additional malware piece is designed to steal login credentials (usernames, passwords) from victim’s computer and transmit them to cybercriminals. Therefore, the primary thing you need to do is eliminate malware from your computer before taking actions to recover your files.
In addition, you might discover a fact that you can no longer open certain Google search results or specific websites after SQPC ransomware attack. This happens due to the virus’ ability to modify Windows HOSTS file and restrain the victim from connecting to certain websites.
We strongly advise you to remove SQPC ransomware virus using a software that includes anti-malware tool. RESTORO has Avira AntiVirus engine installed on it, besides, it can repair damaged Windows OS files (such as modified HOSTS file), so you might want to try it. Please read the instructions provided below this post to understand how to remove malware safely.
Ransomware infects computers via illegal downloads – stay away from them
Ransomware type threats are typically distributed via email attachments, deceptive links, compromised websites pushing downloads or, in case of STOP/DJVU, malicious illegal downloads. To be precise, the ransomware operators tend to hide this virus in software cracks and keygens. Therefore, if you have suddenly decided to download a torrent for a paid software to have it activated for free, keep in mind that there’s a high chance it contains STOP/DJVU variant like SQPC virus. Therefore, we suggest you to think twice before taking such risky decisions.
Some of the downloads known to infect people with this virus are KMSPico, game cracks, Photoshop cracks, 3D modelling software cracks, and other restricted files. Please, consider purchasing legitimate software licenses instead of looking for their illegal copies online. Cyber criminals take advantage of saving users because such illegal downloads sadly are very popular.
Guide on preventing ransomware infections
In order to avoid ransomware attacks, we strongly advise you to refrain from opening suspicious email attachments (deceptive emails often have words “urgent”, “important” “your eyes only” and similar phrases in the subject field and claim to be delivering an imporant document to the victim. Moreover, avoid using dubious download managers and visiting shady-looking websites. In addition, downloading software cracks and keygens is a strong no-no. To avoid hidden malware attacks, you should only obtain software license keys from the developer or a trusted vendor only.
Best way to remove SQPC ransomware virus
The easiest way to remove SQPC ransomware virus is to delete it from Safe Mode with Networking. The point of booting your PC in this mode is to provide a safe and clean environment to eliminate malicious files and other components without being interrupted by ransomware processes. Please use the instructions provided below to learn how to boot your PC in this mode and remove the virus safely.
Once SQPC ransomware removal is complete, we strongly suggest you to repair damaged system using RESTORO. It can fix damage done to Windows OS system files.
OUR GEEKS RECOMMEND
Our team recommends a two-step rescue plan to remove ransomware and other remaining malware from your computer, plus repair caused virus damage to the system:
SQPC ransomware Removal Guidelines
Method 1. Enter Safe Mode with Networking
Step 1. Start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking
Before you try to remove the virus, you must start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking. Below, we provide the easiest ways to boot PC in the said mode, but you can find additional ones in this in-depth tutorial on our website – How to Start Windows in Safe Mode. Also, see a video tutorial on how to do it:
Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users
- First of all, turn off your PC. Then press the Power button to start it again and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. This launches the Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Use arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate down to Safe Mode with Networking option and press Enter.
Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10 users
- Open Windows Start menu, then press down the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then select Restart option.
- This will take you to Windows Troubleshoot screen. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Tip: If you can't find Startup Settings, click See more recovery options.
- In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Networking. In this case, it is the F5 key.
Step 2. Remove files associated with the virus
Now, you can search for and remove SQPC ransomware files. It is very hard to identify files and registry keys that belong to the ransomware virus, Besides, malware creators tend to rename and change them repeatedly. Therefore, the easiest way to uninstall such type of a computer virus is to use a reliable malware removal program. In addition, we suggest trying a combination of INTEGO Antivirus (removes malware and protects your PC in real-time) and RESTORO (repairs virus damage to Windows OS files).
Method 2. Use System Restore
In order to use System Restore, you must have a system restore point, created either manually or automatically.
Step 1. Boot Windows in Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users
- Shut down your PC. Start it again by pressing the Power button and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. You will see Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Using arrow keys on the keyboard, navigate down to Safe Mode with Command Prompt option and press Enter.
Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10 users
- Launch Windows Start menu, then click the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then choose Restart option with the mouse cursor.
- In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Command Prompt. In this case, press F6 key.
Step 2. Start System Restore process
- Wait until system loads and command prompt shows up.
- Type cd restore and press Enter, then type rstrui.exe and press Enter. Or you can just type %systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe in command prompt and hit Enter.
- This launches System Restore window. Click Next and then choose a System Restore point created in the past. Choose one that was created before ransomware infection.
- Click Yes to begin the system restoration process.
After restoring the system, we recommend scanning the system with antivirus or anti-malware software. In most cases, there won't be any malware remains, but it never hurts to double-check. In addition, we highly recommend checking ransomware prevention guidelines provided by our experts in order to protect your PC against similar viruses in the future.
Alternative software recommendations
Removing spyware and malware is one step towards cybersecurity. To protect yourself against ever-evolving threats, we strongly recommend purchasing a Premium version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which provides security based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Includes ransomware protection. See pricing options and protect yourself now.
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SQPC ransomware FAQ
You can recover personal files using your data backups. For Windows OS file recovery, we recommend using RESTORO software. This program can also revert virus damage done to operating system.
You should go to C:/SystemID/PersonalID.txt file (created by the virus) and check whether the string inside of it ends in t1. If it does, you’re affected by offline encryption. Otherwise, online encryption was used.
You can’t view compromised files no matter what program you use. You must remove SQPC ransomware along with AZORULT Trojan first, then try to restore your files.
Norbert Webb is the head of Geek’s Advice team. He is the chief editor of the website who controls the quality of content published. The man also loves reading cybersecurity news, testing new software and sharing his insights on them. Norbert says that following his passion for information technology was one of the best decisions he has ever made. “I don’t feel like working while I’m doing something I love.” However, the geek has other interests, such as snowboarding and traveling.