What is Masok ransomware? And how does it implement its attack?
Masok ransomware is one of the latest variants of the Djvu/STOP ransomware group that’s been spotted in the month of August 2019. This new Djvu/STOP variant, like its predecessors, is designed to leave important data inaccessible by encrypting them using a sophisticated encryption algorithm. It was also discovered that Masok ransomware has the ability to install a Trojan type of infection which is known as “AZORult”. This kind of Trojan is designed to steal various account credentials. Thus, not only are your files at risk of getting corrupted, but your important credentials are also in danger of getting stolen.
Once it infiltrates a computer, it uses a built-in infection sequence which starts with a data gathering process used to extract data classified into two namely, user personal data and attack optimization data. The acquired data is then used for another malicious process in order to bypass security programs installed in the computer. In this process, Masok ransomware looks for signatures of antivirus programs, virtual machine hosts and sandbox environment and once it finds programs with these signatures, their real-time engines are either shut down or removed. After that, it also alters the Windows Registry to allow it to run on every system boot. It then scans the computer for files that are mostly user-generated. Once the encryption is completed, it opens a text file named “_readme.txt” which contains the following content:
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How is the payload file of Masok ransomware distributed online?
The malicious payload of Masok ransomware may be distributed using malicious spam email campaigns where crooks attach an infected file and if you open it, it will run malicious scripts in your computer. As a result, Masok ransomware is installed in your computer. This is why you must be extra careful in opening emails and downloading their attached files no matter who sent them. It would also be better if you keep both your AV programs and system updated in order to strengthen your computer’s resistance against dangerous threats like Masok ransomware.
Kill Masok ransomware from your computer with the help of the removal instructions laid out below.
Step 1: First, boot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking and afterwards, you have to terminate the malicious processes of Masok ransomware using the Task Manager and to open it, tap Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys.
Step 2: Go to the Processes tab and look for the malicious processes of Masok ransomware and once you’ve found them, right click on each one of them and select End Process or End Task.
Step 3: Close the Task Manager and open Control Panel by pressing the Windows key + R, then type in “appwiz.cpl” and then click OK or press Enter.
Step 4: Look for dubious programs that might by related to Masok ransomware and then Uninstall it/them.
Step 5: Close Control Panel and then tap Win + E to launch File Explorer.
Step 6: After opening File Explorer, navigate to the following directories below:
Step 7: From these directories, look for the malicious components of Masok ransomware such as _readme.txt and [random].exe and then delete all of them
Before you proceed to the next steps below, make sure that you are tech savvy enough to the point where you know exactly how to use and navigate your computer’s Registry. Keep in mind that any changes you make will highly impact your computer. To save you the trouble and time, you can just use [product-name], this system tool is proven to be safe and excellent enough that hackers won’t be able to hack into it. But if you can manage Windows Registry well, then by all means go on to the next steps.
Step 8: Close the File Explorer and tap Win + R to open Run and then type in regedit in the field and tap enter to pull up Windows Registry.
Step 9: Navigate to the listed paths below and look for the registry keys and sub-keys created by Masok ransomware.
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\
- HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\
Step 10: Delete the registry keys and sub-keys created by Masok ransomware.
Step 11: Close the Registry Editor.
Step 12: Empty your Recycle Bin.
Try to recover your encrypted files using their Shadow Volume copies
Restoring your encrypted files using Windows’ Previous Versions feature will only be effective if Masok ransomware hasn’t deleted the shadow copies of your files. But still, this is one of the best and free methods there is, so it’s definitely worth a shot.
To restore the encrypted file, right-click on it and select Properties, a new window will pop-up, then proceed to Previous Versions. It will load the file’s previous version before it was modified. After it loads, select any of the previous versions displayed on the list like the one in the illustration below. And then click the Restore button.
In addition, you can also download a free decrypter made by security expert, Michael Gillespie to restore the files encrypted by Masok ransomware.
Once you’re done executing the steps given above, you need to continue the removal process of Masok ransomware using a reliable program like [product-name]. How? Follow the advanced removal steps below.
- Turn on your computer. If it’s already on, you have to reboot it.
- After that, the BIOS screen will be displayed, but if Windows pops up instead, reboot your computer and try again. Once you’re on the BIOS screen, repeat pressing F8, by doing so the Advanced Option shows up.
- To navigate the Advanced Option use the arrow keys and select Safe Mode with Networking then hit
- Windows will now load the Safe Mode with Networking.
- Press and hold both R key and Windows key.
- If done correctly, the Windows Run Box will show up.
- Type in the URL address, [product-url] in the Run dialog box and then tap Enter or click OK.
- After that, it will download the program. Wait for the download to finish and then open the launcher to install the program.
- Once the installation process is completed, run [product-code] to perform a full system scan.
- After the scan is completed click the “Fix, Clean & Optimize Now” button.