Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is MISCHA?
Created by the developers of Petya, Mischa is another ransomware virus that infiltrates victims' computers and then encrypts files. This virus is distributed using malicious email attachments that are commonly delivered as fake job application forms.
The files are encrypted using the asymmetric algorithm and, thus, two keys (public to encrypt and private to decrypt) are generated during encryption.
Mischa extends the names of encrypted files with one of the following extensions: .cRh8, .3P7m, .aRpt, .eQTz, or .3RNu. This ransomware also creates .txt and .html files (both named YOUR_FILES_ARE_ENCRYPTED) and places them in each folder containing the encrypted files.
The .txt and .html files contain an identical message stating that victims' files have been encrypted and that they can only be restored by paying a ransom. The aforementioned private key is stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals - victims must supposedly buy this key.
When infected email attachments are opened and administrator permission given, Petya ransomware is installed. If, however, the user decides to declines permission, Mischa ransomware is installed. Unlike Petya (which locks computers), Mischa behaves like other regular ransomware.
Mischa demands 1.9404 Bitcoin (~$882.88). Compared to other viruses, this ransom is quite large, since the size often fluctuates between 0.5 and 1.5 Bitcoin. Unfortunately, there currently are no tools capable of decrypting files compromised by this ransomware. Therefore, victims can only restore their files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to contact the developers of MISCHA ransomware to decrypt their compromised data:
Mischa is very similar to Samsam, Locky, Cerber, and dozens of other viruses. Be aware that all ransomware is designed to encrypt victims' files and demand ransoms. The only difference between these viruses is the size of ransom and type of algorithm used to encrypt, however, research shows that many cyber criminals take no action even if victims pay the ransom.
Thus, paying does not guarantee that your files will ever be decrypted. For these reasons, you should never attempt to contact cyber criminals or pay any ransoms. Ransomware-type viruses are often distributed using peer-to-peer networks (for example, Torrent), malicious email attachments, fake software updates, and trojans.
Therefore, be cautious when downloading files from third party sources and opening attachments sent from unrecognized and/or suspicious email addresses. In addition, keep your installed software up-to-date and use legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware software.
Screenshot of YOUR_FILES_ARE_ENCRYPTED.txt file:
Text presented within this file:
You became victim of the MISCHA RANSOMWARE!
The files on your computer have been encrypted with an military grade encryption algorithm. There is no way to
restore your data without a special key. You can purchase this key on the darknet page shown in step 2.
To purchase your key and restore your data, please follow these three easy steps:
1. Download the Tor Browser at "hxxps://www.torproject.org/". If you need help, please google for "access onion page".
2. Visit one of the following pages with the Tor Browser:
3. Enter your personal decryption code there:
Janus Cybercrime affiliate web (Cyber criminals responsible for developing Petya and MISCHA ransomware are now offering ransomware as a service):
Text presented within this page:
Profit from PETYA & MISCHA!
High infection rates
PETYA comes bundled with his little brother MISCHA. Since PETYA can't do his evil work without administrative privileges, MISCHA launches when those can't be obtained.
PETYA does a low level encryption of the disk, which is a completely new technique in ransomware. MISCHA acts as an traditional file-based ransomware. Provably fair
As professional cybercriminals, we know that you can't trust anyone. So we developed a payment system based on multisig addresses, where no one (including us) can rip you off.
FREE CRYPTING SERVICE
We provide you FUD crypted binarys, and that 24/7. No need to buy shitty crypters or waste your money on expensive crypting services. Additionally, for our distributors with the highest volume, we provide a private stub. That means a even more stable infection rate.
Administrative Tasks live viewing the latest infections, setting the ransom price or recrypting your binary can be done with an clean and simple web-interface. We also have an qualified support, which will help you with any problems. Since this project is still in beta, we are open for any bug-report or feature-request.
Your share on the payments you have generated is calculated with the following table. The more volume you generate in one week, the more share on the profit you get. Example: if you generate a volume of 125 BTC, you get a payout of 106.25 BTC. That are at the moment about 45,000 USD! To get a volume over 100 BTC is not a big deal with the right technique!
MISCHA's website payment steps:
Text presented within these pages:
Step 1: Enter your personal identifier
First you have to enter your personal identifier. This code contains important informations for the decryption process. It's important that you enter it exactly like shown on the encrypted computer. The code contains a checksum, which prevents typos and ensures a successfull decryption.
You can copy paste it from the files that are in the directories with encrypted files.
Step 3: Do a bitcoin transaction
Now you have to send your purchased Bitcoins to the payment address. If you just purchased Bitcoins on a exchange or marketplace site, look for a section called "withdraw" and enter the details shown below. If you already own Bitcoins, send the right amount to the payment address shown below, directly from the wallet you use.
If you have any problems with the transaction, feel free to contact our support.
After you made the payment transaction, you have to wait until we manually confirm it. This process usually takes a few hours. In some rare cases some payments need more time to get confirmed. Please refresh this page to see if your payment got confirmed.
MISCHA's website FAQ:
Text presented within this page:
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the infection screen shown before windows starts?
Our system has a strong physical low level encryption, which encrypts all of your data storages, include usb devices. Windows repair programs or other diagnostic tools can't restore any data.
What will happen if I just reinstall my computer?
All your data will be irreversible destroyed and you have to buy a new windows license. Nobody can restore any data without your personal decryption key.
Which encryption algorithms are used? The RSA (cryptosystem) 4096 bit and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 bit are used. Both systems are very secure and can't be bypassed or cracked.
What can i do?
Follow the decryption wizard on this page. It will help you with the payment and the decryption of your computer. In some cases your personal data will published to the darknet if you don't pay!
MISCHA's web support:
Text presented within this page:
If you have any problems with the payment or the decryption process, you can send us a message. Please write your message in english, our russian speaking staff is not always available.
MISCHA ransomware removal:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
Video suggesting what steps should be taken in case of a ransomware infection:
- What is Mischa virus?
- STEP 1. Reporting ransomware to authorities.
- STEP 2. Isolating the infected device.
- STEP 3. Identifying the ransomware infection.
- STEP 4. Searching for ransomware decryption tools.
- STEP 5. Restoring files with data recovery tools.
- STEP 6. Creating data backups.
If you are a victim of a ransomware attack we recommend reporting this incident to authorities. By providing information to law enforcement agencies you will help track cybercrime and potentially assist in the prosecution of the attackers. Here's a list of authorities where you should report a ransomware attack. For the complete list of local cybersecurity centers and information on why you should report ransomware attacks, read this article.
List of local authorities where ransomware attacks should be reported (choose one depending on your residence address):
- USA - Internet Crime Complaint Centre IC3
- United Kingdom - Action Fraud
- Spain - Policía Nacional
- France - Ministère de l'Intérieur
- Germany - Polizei
- Italy - Polizia di Stato
- The Netherlands - Politie
- Poland - Policja
- Portugal - Polícia Judiciária
Isolating the infected device:
Some ransomware-type infections are designed to encrypt files within external storage devices, infect them, and even spread throughout the entire local network. For this reason, it is very important to isolate the infected device (computer) as soon as possible.
Step 1: Disconnect from the internet.
The easiest way to disconnect a computer from the internet is to unplug the Ethernet cable from the motherboard, however, some devices are connected via a wireless network and for some users (especially those who are not particularly tech-savvy), disconnecting cables may seem troublesome. Therefore, you can also disconnect the system manually via Control Panel:
Navigate to the "Control Panel", click the search bar in the upper-right corner of the screen, enter "Network and Sharing Center" and select search result:
Click the "Change adapter settings" option in the upper-left corner of the window:
Right-click on each connection point and select "Disable". Once disabled, the system will no longer be connected to the internet. To re-enable the connection points, simply right-click again and select "Enable".
Step 2: Unplug all storage devices.
As mentioned above, ransomware might encrypt data and infiltrate all storage devices that are connected to the computer. For this reason, all external storage devices (flash drives, portable hard drives, etc.) should be disconnected immediately, however, we strongly advise you to eject each device before disconnecting to prevent data corruption:
Navigate to "My Computer", right-click on each connected device, and select "Eject":
Step 3: Log-out of cloud storage accounts.
Some ransomware-type might be able to hijack software that handles data stored within "the Cloud". Therefore, the data could be corrupted/encrypted. For this reason, you should log-out of all cloud storage accounts within browsers and other related software. You should also consider temporarily uninstalling the cloud-management software until the infection is completely removed.
Identify the ransomware infection:
To properly handle an infection, one must first identify it. Some ransomware infections use ransom-demand messages as an introduction (see the WALDO ransomware text file below).
This, however, is rare. In most cases, ransomware infections deliver more direct messages simply stating that data is encrypted and that victims must pay some sort of ransom. Note that ransomware-type infections typically generate messages with different file names (for example, "_readme.txt", "READ-ME.txt", "DECRYPTION_INSTRUCTIONS.txt", "DECRYPT_FILES.html", etc.). Therefore, using the name of a ransom message may seem like a good way to identify the infection. The problem is that most of these names are generic and some infections use the same names, even though the delivered messages are different and the infections themselves are unrelated. Therefore, using the message filename alone can be ineffective and even lead to permanent data loss (for example, by attempting to decrypt data using tools designed for different ransomware infections, users are likely to end up permanently damaging files and decryption will no longer be possible even with the correct tool).
Another way to identify a ransomware infection is to check the file extension, which is appended to each encrypted file. Ransomware infections are often named by the extensions they append (see files encrypted by Qewe ransomware below).
This method is only effective, however, when the appended extension is unique - many ransomware infections append a generic extension (for example, ".encrypted", ".enc", ".crypted", ".locked", etc.). In these cases, identifying ransomware by its appended extension becomes impossible.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to identify a ransomware infection is to use the ID Ransomware website. This service supports most existing ransomware infections. Victims simply upload a ransom message and/or one encrypted file (we advise you to upload both if possible).
The ransomware will be identified within seconds and you will be provided with various details, such as the name of the malware family to which the infection belongs, whether it is decryptable, and so on.
Example 1 (Qewe [Stop/Djvu] ransomware):
Example 2 (.iso [Phobos] ransomware):
If your data happens to be encrypted by ransomware that is not supported by ID Ransomware, you can always try searching the internet by using certain keywords (for example, a ransom message title, file extension, provided contact emails, crypto wallet addresses, etc.).
Search for ransomware decryption tools:
Encryption algorithms used by most ransomware-type infections are extremely sophisticated and, if the encryption is performed properly, only the developer is capable of restoring data. This is because decryption requires a specific key, which is generated during the encryption. Restoring data without the key is impossible. In most cases, cybercriminals store keys on a remote server, rather than using the infected machine as a host. Dharma (CrySis), Phobos, and other families of high-end ransomware infections are virtually flawless, and thus restoring data encrypted without the developers' involvement is simply impossible. Despite this, there are dozens of ransomware-type infections that are poorly developed and contain a number of flaws (for example, the use of identical encryption/decryption keys for each victim, keys stored locally, etc.). Therefore, always check for available decryption tools for any ransomware that infiltrates your computer.
Finding the correct decryption tool on the internet can be very frustrating. For this reason, we recommend that you use the No More Ransom Project and this is where identifying the ransomware infection is useful. The No More Ransom Project website contains a "Decryption Tools" section with a search bar. Enter the name of the identified ransomware, and all available decryptors (if there are any) will be listed.
Restore files with data recovery tools:
Depending on the situation (quality of ransomware infection, type of encryption algorithm used, etc.), restoring data with certain third-party tools might be possible. Therefore, we advise you to use the Recuva tool developed by CCleaner. This tool supports over a thousand data types (graphics, video, audio, documents, etc.) and it is very intuitive (little knowledge is necessary to recover data). In addition, the recovery feature is completely free.
Step 1: Perform a scan.
Run the Recuva application and follow the wizard. You will be prompted with several windows allowing you to choose what file types to look for, which locations should be scanned, etc. All you need to do is select the options you're looking for and start the scan. We advise you to enable the "Deep Scan" before starting, otherwise, the application's scanning capabilities will be restricted.
Wait for Recuva to complete the scan. The scanning duration depends on the volume of files (both in quantity and size) that you are scanning (for example, several hundred gigabytes could take over an hour to scan). Therefore, be patient during the scanning process. We also advise against modifying or deleting existing files, since this might interfere with the scan. If you add additional data (for example, downloading files/content) while scanning, this will prolong the process:
Step 2: Recover data.
Once the process is complete, select the folders/files you wish to restore and simply click "Recover". Note that some free space on your storage drive is necessary to restore data:
Create data backups:
Proper file management and creating backups is essential for data security. Therefore, always be very careful and think ahead.
Partition management: We recommend that you store your data in multiple partitions and avoid storing important files within the partition that contains the entire operating system. If you fall into a situation whereby you cannot boot the system and are forced to format the disk on which the operating system is installed (in most cases, this is where malware infections hide), you will lose all data stored within that drive. This is the advantage of having multiple partitions: if you have the entire storage device assigned to a single partition, you will be forced to delete everything, however, creating multiple partitions and allocating the data properly allows you to prevent such problems. You can easily format a single partition without affecting the others - therefore, one will be cleaned and the others will remain untouched, and your data will be saved. Managing partitions is quite simple and you can find all the necessary information on Microsoft's documentation web page.
Data backups: One of the most reliable backup methods is to use an external storage device and keep it unplugged. Copy your data to an external hard drive, flash (thumb) drive, SSD, HDD, or any other storage device, unplug it and store it in a dry place away from the sun and extreme temperatures. This method is, however, quite inefficient, since data backups and updates need to be made regularly. You can also use a cloud service or remote server. Here, an internet connection is required and there is always the chance of a security breach, although it's a really rare occasion.
We recommend using Microsoft OneDrive for backing up your files. OneDrive lets you store your personal files and data in the cloud, sync files across computers and mobile devices, allowing you to access and edit your files from all of your Windows devices. OneDrive lets you save, share and preview files, access download history, move, delete, and rename files, as well as create new folders, and much more.
You can back up your most important folders and files on your PC (your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders). Some of OneDrive’s more notable features include file versioning, which keeps older versions of files for up to 30 days. OneDrive features a recycling bin in which all of your deleted files are stored for a limited time. Deleted files are not counted as part of the user’s allocation.
The service is built using HTML5 technologies and allows you to upload files up to 300 MB via drag and drop into the web browser or up to 10 GB via the OneDrive desktop application. With OneDrive, you can download entire folders as a single ZIP file with up to 10,000 files, although it can’t exceed 15 GB per single download.
OneDrive comes with 5 GB of free storage out of the box, with an additional 100 GB, 1 TB, and 6 TB storage options available for a subscription-based fee. You can get one of these storage plans by either purchasing additional storage separately or with Office 365 subscription.
Creating a data backup:
The backup process is the same for all file types and folders. Here’s how you can back up your files using Microsoft OneDrive
Step 1: Choose the files/folders you want to backup.
Click the OneDrive cloud icon to open the OneDrive menu. While in this menu, you can customize your file backup settings.
Click Help & Settings and then select Settings from the drop-down menu.
Go to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
In this menu, you can choose to backup the Desktop and all of the files on it, and Documents and Pictures folders, again, with all of the files in them. Click Start backup.
Now, when you add a file or folder in the Desktop and Documents and Pictures folders, they will be automatically backed up on OneDrive.
To add folders and files, not in the locations shown above, you have to add them manually.
Open File Explorer and navigate to the location of the folder/file you want to backup. Select the item, right-click it, and click Copy.
Then, navigate to OneDrive, right-click anywhere in the window and click Paste. Alternatively, you can just drag and drop a file into OneDrive. OneDrive will automatically create a backup of the folder/file.
All of the files added to the OneDrive folder are backed up in the cloud automatically. The green circle with the checkmark in it indicates that the file is available both locally and on OneDrive and that the file version is the same on both. The blue cloud icon indicates that the file has not been synced and is available only on OneDrive. The sync icon indicates that the file is currently syncing.
To access files only located on OneDrive online, go to the Help & Settings drop-down menu and select View online.
Step 2: Restore corrupted files.
OneDrive makes sure that the files stay in sync, so the version of the file on the computer is the same version on the cloud. However, if ransomware has encrypted your files, you can take advantage of OneDrive’s Version history feature that will allow you to restore the file versions prior to encryption.
Microsoft 365 has a ransomware detection feature that notifies you when your OneDrive files have been attacked and guide you through the process of restoring your files. It must be noted, however, that if you don’t have a paid Microsoft 365 subscription, you only get one detection and file recovery for free.
If your OneDrive files get deleted, corrupted, or infected by malware, you can restore your entire OneDrive to a previous state. Here’s how you can restore your entire OneDrive:
1. If you're signed in with a personal account, click the Settings cog at the top of the page. Then, click Options and select Restore your OneDrive.
If you're signed in with a work or school account, click the Settings cog at the top of the page. Then, click Restore your OneDrive.
2. On the Restore your OneDrive page, select a date from the drop-down list. Note that if you're restoring your files after automatic ransomware detection, a restore date will be selected for you.
3. After configuring all of the file restoration options, click Restore to undo all the activities you selected.
The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups.
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