Djvu Ransomware

Also Known As: Djvu virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Djvu ransomware removal instructions

What is Djvu?

Djvu is a high-risk virus that belongs to STOP malware family. It was firstly discovered by Michael Gillespie. It is categorized as ransomware and designed to lock (encrypt) files using a cryptography algorithm. Djvu renames each encrypted file by adding the ".djvu" or ".djvu*" extension (updated variants of this ransomware use ".djvuu", ".udjvu", ".djvuq", ".uudjvu", ".djvus", ".djuvt", ".djvur", and ".DJVUT" extensions for encrypted files). For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.djvu" or "1.jpg.djvu*". All Djvu victims are provided with a ransom-demand message in a "_openme.txt" text file.

According to the ransom message created by Djvu's developers, all files (photos, documents, databases, documents, and so on) were encrypted using a strong encryption algorithm. To retrieve them, victims are encouraged to purchase a decryption tool (in effect, pay a ransom). They provide two email addresses (helpshadow@india.com and helpshadow@firemail.cc), one of which should be used when contacting Djvu's developers. They also assign a personal ID to be used in the email subject so that cyber criminals can identify individual victims. When contacted, they are likely to provide a Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) wallet for transfer of the ransom payment. According to ransomware developers, they will provide a 50% discount for victims who contact them within 72 hours following encryption. Furthermore, they offer free decryption of one file as 'proof' that they are capable of decryption and can be trusted. Cyber criminals behind this malicious program also warn victims against using other decryption tools, since this will supposedly cause permanent data loss. Typically, people who design these infections use cryptographies that generate unique keys and often store them on remote servers controlled by them. Therefore, only Djvu's developers can provide victims with decryption tools/keys. This ransomware is thus 'uncrackable' and there are no tools currently capable of decryption free of charge. Note that, in any case, most cyber criminals cannot be trusted. They do not provide decryption keys/tools even if their ransom demands are met. In these cases, the only free way to restore files is to use an existing data backup.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:

Djvu decrypt instructions

This ransomware-type virus is very similar to .shadow (the ransom-demand message is identical), however, other infections of this type (such as .SYS and Mercury) are also very similar. Most ransomware viruses are designed to encrypt data and make ransom demands. The only differences are the cryptography algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to encrypt the files and cost of a decryption key or tool. Unfortunately, decryption without involvement of certain ransomware developers is impossible, unless the program is still in development or contains bugs/flaws. To avoid data loss caused by these viruses, maintain regular backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

There are several common ways to proliferate ransomware-type programs such as Djvu, however, it is unknown exactly how cyber criminals proliferate this particular infection. Typically, ransomware developers distribute malware through untrustworthy software download sources, fake (unofficial) software updaters, spam email campaigns, and malicious programs such as trojans. Some examples of untrustworthy software download sources are: peer-to-peer networks (such as torrent clients, eMule), freeware download websites, file hosting websites, various unofficial websites, and so on. By using these sources, cyber criminals present their malicious programs as legitimate and trick people into downloading and installing high-risk infections (or other unwanted apps). Unofficial software update tools (fake updaters) are used to download and install malicious programs rather than the expected/promised software updates. These tools are capable of exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Spam email campaigns are used to trick people into downloading and opening the presented malicious attachments or opening web links that lead to unwanted software downloads and/or installations. These attachments are often MS Office documents (such as Word, Excel, etc.), archive files (ZIP, RAR, etc.), PDF documents, executable (.exe) files, and so on. Trojans are malicious programs that, when installed, cause chain infections (proliferate other infections).

Threat Summary:
Name Djvu virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Symptoms Can't open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension, for example my.docx.locked. A ransom demanding message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals are asking to pay a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
Damage All files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To avoid ransomware-type infections (and other threats), carefully study each received email, especially if it contains attachment. If the email seems irrelevant (does not concern you), or is sent from an unknown/suspicious address, do not download or open the attachment, or any web link. Use official software update tools only - implemented functions or updaters provided by official software developers. Any other (unofficial) updaters/tools should not be trusted. Download apps, files (software) using official websites (or other official sources). Do not use third party channels, since they are often used to distribute various rogue downloaders/installers or even malware. Have a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware suite installed and active. These tools deal with various threats and computer infections, and often detect and eliminate them before any damage is done. If your computer is already infected with Djvu, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Djvu ransomware text file ("_openme.txt"):

------------------------ ALL YOUR FILES ARE ENCRYPTED ------------------------

Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files documents, photos, databases and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees do we give to you?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information
Don't try to use third-party decrypt tools because it will destroy your files.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
helpshadow@india.com

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
helpshadow@firemail.cc

Your personal ID:
13A2jxBsekmc0PYWc4TKPCr1SKC0myQsZj6GVAPi2VEPaa4

Screenshot of files encrypted by Djvu (".djvu" extension):

Files encrypted by Djvu

Update January 2, 2019 - There have recently been a number of reports of users stating that their computers have been infected with Djvu ransomware after downloading KMSpico Windows cracking tool from officialkmspico(.)com website. Most of software cracking tools are malicious and fake - they're used to spread malware rather than giving any real value. What's more, many users do not realize that using software cracks is considered a theft, since you bypass the activation and avoid paying for the actual software developer. It doesn't matter if it's an operating system or any other program - you should never use pirated software.

Update January 17, 2019 - Michael Gillespie has updated his STOPDecrypter which is now capable of restoring data with the following extensions: ".djvu", ".djvuq", ".djvur", ".djvut", ".djvuu", ".pdff", ".tfude", ".tfudeq", ".tro", ".udjvu", ".tfudet". You can download the decrypter by clicking this link.

Screenshot of the STOPDecrypter:

STOPDecrypter by Michael Gillespie

However, as Michael himself says, there are some notes that must be taken,

This decrypter currently only works for personal ID 6se9RaIxXF9m70zWmx7nL3bVRp691w4SNY8UCir0 (the offline key used if the malware failed to get a key from its server), or if you have the key.


If you were provided a key by kNN or myself, you may enter it via the Settings -> Set Djvu Key option; note that entering anything incorrect to this will destroy data, so don't try to be "clever". For "Personal ID", it will accept either the 40 character string at the end of files (not the one in braces, the string just before that), or the 43 character string in the ransom note. The bruteforcer will also explicitly reject this variant, as there is no way of bruteforcing the key at the present time; so don't even waste your time trying to fool it (the feature is for the .puma* variants, and isn't really a "bruteforce" anyways).


The decrypter will only attempt to decrypt a file with a known ID (either the hardcoded one or one you provide with a key); any others will be reported and logged, with instructions to archive it in hopes of future decryption.

If the decrypter detects IDs it could not decrypt, it will display them, along with your MAC addresses for easy archiving (assuming it is ran from the infected PC). It is also logged for you.

Update June 8, 2020 - The Djvu ransomware family continues to remain as one of the most popular ransomware infection. Every week a new variant of Djvu is released, meaning that there are thousands of victims who seek for help. We have recently discovered a fake Djvu ransomware decrypter, which disguises yet another ransomware called ZORAB. Once the malicious file is executed, a fake decryption window is displayed. However, this is a mere disguise - the ZORAB encryption process starts the moment malicious executable is opened. Victims will notice an additional extension (".ZRB") as well as another ransom note ("--DECRYPT--ZORAB.txt"). Using a fake decryption tool to inject a second ransomware is rather uncommon, since encrypted files are already unusable and victims are very unlikely to pay twice (for both Djvu and ZORAB ransomwares' developers). Nonetheless, hiding malware under a fake Djvu decryption is efficient due to this ransomware's popularity.

Screenshot of the fake Djvu ransomware decryptor designed to inject ZORAB ransomware into the system (VirusTotal detection list):

Fake Djvu decryptor injecting ZORAB ransomware

Update June 25, 2020 - DiskTuna has recently recently released a tool capable of restoring a certain portion of audio/video files that are encrypted by ransomware infections from Djvu family. The tool takes file portions that are not encrypted and attempts to restore the file. However, certain data losses still remain, since the process is not the same as decryption. You can download the tool and find more details, as well as a user manual in DiskTuna's website.

Screenshot of DiskTuna's tool designed to restore audio/video files encrypted by Djvu ransomware variants:

DiskTuna Media_Repair tool designed to restore audio/video files encrypted by ransomware from Djvu family

Djvu ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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Quick menu:

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: Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 1)

Click the "Change adapter settings" option in the upper-left corner of the window: Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 2)

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". Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 3)

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": Ejecting external storage devices

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).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 1)

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).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 2)

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).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 3)

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):

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 4)

Example 2 (.iso [Phobos] ransomware):

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 5)

If your data happens to be encrypted by a ransomware that is not supported by ID Ransomware, you can always try searching the internet by using certain keywords (for example, ransom message title, file extension, provided contact emails, cryptowallet 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, cyber criminals 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.

Searching for ransomware decryption tools in nomoreransom.org website

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 EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro. 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).

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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Trial version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is capable of scanning drives and listing recoverable files - to restore them, you must purchase a license.

Step 1: Perform a scan.

Hover your mouse over the partition you wish to scan and select "Scan". You can also select a specific folder, or click shortcut icons to scan the Desktop or Recycle Bin: Scanning the storage drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard PRO (step 1)

Wait for EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro 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 hundreds 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: Scanning the storage drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard PRO (step 2)

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. Note also that the trial version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is only capable of scanning drives and listing recoverable files - to restore them, you must purchase a license: Recovering data with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

Step 3: Save the scan session (optional).

We recommend that you save the scanning session once you have completed recovery, in case you decide to recover additional files later. Simply click the "Save Scan Session" icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and choose the location for the file to be saved. This will save a lot of time, since you will not need to re-scan the storage drive the next time you wish to restore something. Bear in mind, however, that data removed after the scanning session has finished will not be listed: Saving scan session in EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

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 necessary information on Microsoft's documentation web page.

Data backups: The most reliable backup method 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 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. Therefore, you should consider using an application to create data backups locally.

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EaseUS Todo Backup

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We recommend using the EaseUS Todo Backup application. The "Home" edition of EaseUS Todo Backup is usually more than adequate for regular users, however, the "Business" edition is more suitable for companies and large computer networks. The EaseUS Todo Backup application provides extensive data protection features. You can easily create backups, and encrypt and compress them for enhanced protection and storage saving purposes. It also allows you to set backup schedules, create bootable devices, and restore the system if a crash occurs. You can easily choose where to store the created backup: locally; uploaded to an external drive; FTP; cloud storage, or elsewhere. In summary, EaseUS Todo Backup is an all-in-one tool, which provides all features required to properly backup your data.

Creating a data backup:

The backup process is virtually identical regardless of the item (file, partition, entire system) you wish to backup. Taking the File Backup feature as an example:

Step 1: Choose which item to backup.

Click on the "Menu" icon in the upper-left corner of the screen to reveal the menu and select "File Backup": Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 1)

Select the files you want to backup. You can also enter a name and description of the backup that will be created: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 2)

Step 2: Change the default settings.

The EaseUS Todo Backup application provides a variety of additional options that can be added/modified while creating the backup. For example, you can encrypt data (add a password), select the compression rate (how much the backup should be compressed), performance (how many system resources should be allocated), add an email notification (you receive an email once the process is complete) and so on.

To open the options window, click the "Backup options" button in the lower-left corner of the screen: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 3)

Select the settings you want to change and click "Save". You can also reset your changes by clicking "Reset to initial settings": Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 4)

Step 3: Select the backup destination.

As mentioned above, EaseUS Todo Backup allows you to choose where backups are saved - locally or externally.

Click the "Browse..." button and select the location you want the backup to be saved: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 5)

Step 4: Safety measures and process completion.

Depending on the location you have chosen, there are a number of measures you should or should not take. If you are uploading to an internet-connected location (for example, Cloud storage, FTP, etc.), be sure to maintain your internet connection, otherwise you will have to start again. The same applies to external storage devices - do not unplug them until the process is complete.

The progress bar displays estimated time remaining until completion. Large backups (hundreds of gigabytes) can take hours to create (depending on storage device speed, internet connection, etc.). Therefore, the application also allows you to optionally choose what the system should do (shut down, sleep or hibernate) once the process has finished: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 6)

The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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