Phobos is a ransomware that locks or encrypts files to demand a ransom. It uses AES encryption with different extensions, which leaves no chance to recover the infected files.

First seen
1 October, 2017
Last seen
26 January, 2023
Global rank
Week rank
Month rank

What is Phobos Ransomware?

Phobos Ransomware encrypts data until a ransom is paid. 77% of Phobos attacks are successful according to the latest research. This malicious program was recorded in the wild for the first time in October 2017.

General description of Phobos Ransomware

Phobos ransomware appeared in 2017 in Dharma, also known as the CrySIS, family. A year later Phobos developed and spread rapidly. In 2019, it accounted for 8.9% of the submitted ransomware attacks. The First-quarter of 2020 showed that the Phobos strain was noted as one of the most common ransomware with 9.70% of submissions. It constantly gets updates and new versions.

The ransomware targets organizations all over the world. Phobos compromises RDP servers that are open or have weak security. Then cyber criminals send ransom notes, where the victim is asked to contact one of the emails to get the decryption key.

Phobos attackers exactly like Dharma ones can discuss ransom amounts depending on the company. The Ransom amount can reach 20,000 USD in Bitcoin. It is lower than usual ransomware demands because Phobos chooses small companies as victims. And sometimes cybercriminals don’t give up the decryption key even after the payment.

The malicious program uses encrypt data using AES and adds extensions to infected files such as .phobos, .phoenix, .actin, .help, .mamba and others. These files can be fully or partially encrypted.

Phobos is named after the Greek god of fear, but there is nothing divine about it. Criminals buy this malware in RaaS packages, so even without deep technical knowledge, they have an opportunity to design their own strain and organize an attack on the chosen victim.

Phobos malware analysis

The ANY.RUN malware hunting service features a video that displays the complete execution process of Phobos.

phobos ransomware process graph

Figure 1: Shows the graph of processes created by the ANY.RUN interactive malware analysis service

phobos ransom note

Figure 2: Phobos ransom note

Phobos Ransomware execution process

The execution process of the Phobos ransomware is relatively typical for this type of malware such as Troldesh. The executable file makes its way into an infected system and runs, then the main malicious activity begins. After the start of execution, the Ransomware deletes shadow copies. Interestingly though, as soon as it encrypts all targeted files, Phobos pops up a ransom note on the desktop, which is the ransomware executable file itself.

Phobos Ransomware distribution

Phobos has several ways to end up on your machine:

  • phishing emails with attachments
  • poorly secured RDP ports
  • fake updates
  • exploits
  • deceptive downloads
  • web injectors
  • repacked and infected installers

These distribution methods help attackers to steal victims’ information and encrypt the data by running Trojan or other malware. And a variety of the infected files is huge: documents, PDF and text files, databases, photos and videos, archives, etc. They can be located both in internal and external folders. Phobos gets rid of files’ shadow copies and backups.


Phobos is not a new type of ransomware, moreover, it has some similarities to Dharma. There is no need for criminals who use Phobos to be qualified specialists. Nevertheless, this ransomware always evolves, and its attacks are effective. It has a lot of ways to get into your device to get a ransom. That is why Phobos can be a serious threat to organizations.


IP addresses

No IP adresses found


No hashes found


Adwind screenshot
adwind trojan
Adwind RAT, sometimes also called Unrecom, Sockrat, Frutas, jRat, and JSocket, is a Malware As A Service Remote Access Trojan that attackers can use to collect information from infected machines. It was one of the most popular RATs in the market in 2015.
Read More
Agent Tesla screenshot
Agent Tesla
agenttesla trojan rat stealer
Agent Tesla is spyware that collects information about the actions of its victims by recording keystrokes and user interactions. It is falsely marketed as a legitimate software on the dedicated website where this malware is sold.
Read More
AsyncRAT screenshot
AsyncRAT is a RAT that can monitor and remotely control infected systems. This malware was introduced on Github as a legitimate open-source remote administration software, but hackers use it for its many powerful malicious functions.
Read More
Ave Maria screenshot
Ave Maria
avemaria stealer trojan rat
Ave Maria malware is a Remote Access Trojan that is also called WARZONE RAT. Hackers use it to control the PCs of their victims remotely and steal information from infected PCs. For example, they can remotely activate the camera to take pictures of a victim and send them to a control server.
Read More
Azorult screenshot
azorult trojan rat
AZORult can steal banking information, including passwords and credit card details, as well as cryptocurrency. This constantly updated information stealer malware should not be taken lightly, as it continues to be an active threat.
Read More
Cobalt Strike screenshot
Cobalt Strike
Cobalt Strike is a legitimate penetration software toolkit developed by Forta. But its cracked versions are widely adopted by bad actors, who use it as a C2 system of choice for targeted attacks.
Read More

Our website uses cookies. By visiting the pages of the site, you agree to our Privacy Policy