What is MegaCortex ransomware? And how does it carry out its attack?
MegaCortex ransomware is a new file-encrypting malware created to lock important data in a targeted machine. It is also known as “aes128ctr ransomware” as it uses a “.aes128ctr” extension in marking its encrypted files. It seems to be targeting companies and small businesses.
Once its malicious payload is dropped in the system, MegaCortex ransomware establishes a connection to a remote Command and Control or C & C server where it downloads additional components. The downloaded components are then placed on system folders in order to launch and repress system processes. It also employs data gathering module to collect sensitive data in the system as well as the stealth protection module to use the gathered data to evade security and antivirus programs installed in the computer that could interfere with its attack. In addition, it also alters some registry keys and sub-keys like Run and RunOnce so that it can run automatically in every system boot.
After it completes modifying system settings, MegaCortex ransomware will begin encrypting important files in the system using the AES encryption algorithm. Following file encryption, it adds the .aes128ctr suffix to every affected file and opens its ransom note in a text file named “!!! _ READ_ME _ !!!.txt” which contains the following message:
“Your companies cyber defense systems have been weighed, measured and have been found wanting.
The breach is a result of grave neglect of security protocols.
All of your computers have been corrupted with MegaCortex malware that has encrypted your files.
We ensure that the only way to retrieve your data swiftly and securely is with our software.
Restoration of your data requires a private key which only we possess.
Don’t waste your time and money purchasing third party software, without the private key they are useless.
It is critical that you don’t restart or shutdown your computer.
This may lead to irreversible damage to your data and you may not be able to turn your computer back on.
To confirm that our software works email to us 2 files from random computers and C:\fracxidg.tsv file(‘s)
and you will get them decrypted.
C:\fracxidg.tsv contain encrypted session keys we need in order to be able to decrypt your files.
The softwares price will include a guarantee that your company will never be inconvenienced by us.
You will also receive a consultation on how to improve your companies cyber security .
If you want to purchase our software to restore your data contact us at:
We can only show you the door. You’re the one who has to walk through it.”
As you can see, MegaCortex ransomware’s ransom note is quite long – it states that your files are encrypted and that you have to contact the given email address for further instructions. However, you should not even think about contacting these crooks under any circumstances because chances are, they might only trick you and you end up losing money for nothing. The best thing you can do is to wait until a free decryptor is available or you can also use any backup copies of your encrypted files if you have them.
How does MegaCortex ransomware spread online?
MegaCortex ransomware proliferates using various methods. One of its main distribution methods is a payload dropper which initiates the malicious script so that this ransomware can spread all over the web. Aside from that, MegaCortex ransomware might also spread using a payload file on social media or file sharing services. Freeware and shareware are rampant in the web and usually the malicious ones are presented as useful programs which are actually hiding the malicious script for MegaCortex ransomware.
Terminate MegaCortex ransomware from your computer using the removal guide provided below as well as the advanced removal steps that follow.
Step 1: First, tap the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys in your keyboard to open the Task Manager.
Step 2: Under the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab and look for any suspicious-looking process that takes up most of your CPU’s resources and is most likely related to MegaCortex ransomware.
Step 3: After that, close the Task Manager.
Step 4: Tap Win + R, type in appwiz.cpl and click OK or tap Enter to open Programs and Features under Control Panel.
Step 5: Under the list of installed programs, look for MegaCortex ransomware or anything similar and then uninstall it.
Step 6: Next, close Control Panel and tap Win + E keys to launch File Explorer.
Step 7: Navigate to the following locations below and look for MegaCortex ransomware’s malicious components such as “!!! _ READ_ME _ !!!.txt”, “[random].exe” and other suspicious files, then delete all of them.
Step 8: Close the File Explorer.
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 9: Tap Win + R to open Run and then type in regedit in the field and tap enter to pull up Windows Registry.
Step 10: Navigate to the following path:
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\
- HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\
Step 11: Delete the registry keys and sub-keys created by MegaCortex ransomware.
Step 12: Close the Registry Editor and empty the Recycle Bin.
Try to recover your encrypted files using the Shadow Volume copies
Restoring your encrypted files using Windows’ Previous Versions feature will only be effective if MegaCortex 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.
Make sure that you have terminated MegaCortex ransomware from your computer successfully as well as its malicious components by using a trusted and reliable program like [product-name]. Refer to the following guidelines on how to use it.
Perform a full system scan using [product-code]. To do so, follow these steps:
- 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.