CMG Ransomware

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

CMG ransomware removal instructions

What is CMG?

CMG is a malicious program that is categorized as ransomware. Developers (cyber criminals) use it to blackmail people by encrypting data and making ransom demands. Once data is encrypted, it cannot be accessed or used. Note that CMG is a computer infection that belongs to the GlobeImposter ransomware family and was discovered by Michael Gillespie. It adds the ".{CALLMEGOAT@PROTONMAIL.COM}CMG" extension to every encrypted file. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.{CALLMEGOAT@PROTONMAIL.COM}CMG". It also generates a ransom message within the "decrypt_files.html" HTML file, which can be found in all folders containing encrypted files.

The ransom message ("decrypt_files.HTML") is a file containing instructions on how to decrypt encrypted files. It states that this can be done using a decryption program (tool). To obtain this tool, CMG's victims must send developers an email via the callmegoat@protonmail.com address containing a personal/unique ID. They offer free decryption of one file (no larger than 5 MB) as 'proof' that they are capable of decryption and have a decryption tool. Once the email is sent, they will return the decrypted file, cost of the decryption tool, and instructions on how to pay. When payment is made (ransom demands are met), the developers promise to send a tool that will decrypt the remaining encrypted files. It is also stated that only CMG's developers can decrypt files encrypted by this ransomware. Additionally, victims are urged not to try to decrypt files by (using some other tools) or run anti-virus scan since it might cause data loss or corruption. Unfortunately, to encrypt data, most cyber criminals use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that make decryption without the involvement of cyber criminals impossible. Only they can provide a decryption tool. This is the case with CMG ransomware - there are no tools capable of decrypting files free of charge. In these situations, the only free solution is to restore everything from a data backup created prior to system infection and data encryption.

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

CMG decrypt instructions

There are many ransomware-type programs on the internet including, for example, Azero, Jimm, and Golden Axe. Developers use them to encrypt data and make ransom demands. Any differences are usually cryptography algorithm used to encrypt files and the cost of their decryption tool. Unfortunately, most ransomware-type programs use encryptions that are very difficult or even impossible to 'crack'. This becomes possible only if ransomware is not fully developed or contains bugs/flaws. Therefore, maintain regular backups and store them on unplugged storage devices or remote servers (such as Cloud).

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is unknown exactly how cyber criminals proliferate CMG ransomware, however, most ransomware developers use spam campaigns, Trojans, untrustworthy software download sources, software 'cracking' tools, and fake software updaters. They attempt to infect computers through spam campaigns by sending emails that include malicious attachments or web links that lead to them. The main goal is to trick people into opening these attachments, which are usually executables (.exe files), archives (RAR, ZIP), PDF or Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript files, and so on. When opened, these malicious attachments infect computers with ransomware or other viruses. Trojans are programs that cause chain infections - they are malicious programs that download and install other malicious programs. Dubious software download channels such as free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, other third party software download sources are often  used to trick people into downloading and installing malicious programs. This is achieved when they download and open infected files that cyber criminals present as legitimate. Another way to infect a computer with ransomware or other high-risk virus is through software 'cracking' tools. These programs supposedly activate software or operating systems free of charge, however, they often download/install computer infections rather. Fake (third party) software updaters infect systems by downloading malware rather than the updates or fixes, or by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws.

Threat Summary:
Name CMG virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Symptoms Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals request payment of 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.
Removal

To eliminate CMG virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To keep a computer safe from ransomware and other infections, browse the web, download, install, and update software, carefully. Avoid opening attachments that are presented in emails received from unknown or suspicious addresses. If the email seems irrelevant, do not open the attachment (or website link). All software should be downloaded using official, trustworthy sources and direct links. Third party downloaders, installers and other channels mentioned above should not be trusted or used. Do not use unofficial/third party tools to update installed software. The safest way to update software is using tools provided by official software developers. Note that software activation using 'cracking' tools is illegal. Furthermore, these tools often install malicious programs rather than bypassing paid any software activation. Finally, have anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed and enabled. If your computer is already infected with CMG, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in CMG ransomware "decrypt_files.html" HTML file:

YOUR ID (NEED FOR DECRYPT)
-

 

ENGLISH
YOUR FILES ARE ENCRYPTED!
IF YOU SEE IT - DO NOT TRY TO DECRYPT ?THE FILES YOURSELF!!!?
ALL YOUR IMPORTANT DATA HAS BEEN ENCRYPTED.

 

To decrypt all your files, you need a decryption program.
To get a program to decrypt your data you need to do a few steps:
1. To make sure that we can actually decrypt your files. You can send us a file for the test. This can be a picture or a text file. Size less than 5 MB. Send to our mail: CALLMEGOAT@PROTONMAIL.COM .
2. Send your PERSONAL ID in the letter (you will find it at the very beginning of this document)

 

3. We will decode your test file so you are sure. We will also send you the amount you need to pay to get the program to decrypt.

 

4. We will send you instructions on how to pay for the decryption program. After payment, we will send you a program and instructions on how to decrypt all the files.
ATTENTION!

 

Only we can decrypt your files.
Do not try to decrypt your files yourself. You can damage them when trying to restore
Do not run antivirus!
Email us: CALLMEGOAT@PROTONMAIL.COM immediately so we can help you. Decoders other users are not compatible with your data, because each user's unique encryption key

Screenshot of CMG ransomware HTML file:

screenshot of cmg ransomware html file

Second screenshot of CMG ransomware HTML file:

second screenshot of cmg ransomware html file

Screenshot of files encrypted by CMG (".{CALLMEGOAT@PROTONMAIL.COM}CMG" extension):

Files encrypted by CMG

CMG ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of CMG virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of CMG virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

Step 1

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the CMG virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.

Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":

1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the CMG ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining CMG ransomware files.

To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of CMG are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.

To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.

To regain control of the files encrypted by CMG, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

To protect your computer from file encryption ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as CMG ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.

Controll Folder Access

Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here is more information on how to get this update and add an additional protection layer from ransomware infections.

HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.

Other tools known to remove CMG ransomware:

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 virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

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

QR Code
CMG virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of CMG virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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