Dotmap Ransomware

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

Dotmap ransomware removal instructions

What is Dotmap?

Dotmap is malicious software categorized as ransomware. It encrypts data and forces victims to pay a ransom (purchase a decryption tool/key). Dotmap belongs to Djvu ransomware family and was discovered by Michael Gillespie. This ransomware changes the names of encrypted files by adding the ".dotmap" extension. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.dotmap". Instructions on how to decrypt data can be found in the form of a ransom message within a "_readme.txt" file, which is stored in folders that contain encrypted files.

Victims are informed that they can restore their files, however, they are encouraged to purchase a decryption tool and key. It is stated that all files are encrypted with the strongest encryption and, therefore, it is impossible to decrypt them without using the correct tool/key. In this particular case, the cost of decryption is $980, however, Dotmap's developers offer a 50% discount for victims who contact them within the first 72 hours following encryption. They make it clear that if people wish to decrypt files and regain access to them, they will have to make a payment. To 'prove' that they have the correct tool, these cyber criminals offer free decryption of one file. Victims can send this file to the bufalo@firemail.cc or gorentos@bitmessage.ch email address. Another way to contact Dotmap's developers is via Telegram by looking for the @datarestore account. Once contacted, they will send instructions on how to make payment. Typically, they prefer to be paid in a cryptocurrency, however, we do not recommend that you trust or pay any ransomware developers. Most people do not receive decryption tools/keys as promised. Unfortunately, only cyber criminals/ransomware developers can provide victims with these tools. They use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that cause strong encryptions, and thus most are impossible to decrypt without the help of ransomware developers. The only way to restore files free of charge is usually via a data backup that was created before infection with malicious software. If during encryption there was no Internet connection or the developer's server was not responding, it might be possible decrypt files with an offline decryption tool. More information about this method can be found by clicking this link.

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

Dotmap decrypt instructions

Dotmap is similar to many other programs of this type such as DDOS, PLUT, and SYSTEM FAILURE. They generally encrypt data and force victims to pay a ransom. Main differences are usually cost of decryption and encryption algorithm that was used to lock the victim's data, however, the main problem is that decryption without using the correct tools/keys is impossible. This might only be possible if the ransomware-type program is not finished and contains bugs/flaws. Therefore, maintain data backups and store them on remote severs (such as Cloud) or an unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is unknown how Dotmap's developers proliferate this ransomware, however, criminals often use spam campaigns by sending emails that contain malicious attachments. They use Microsoft Office documents, PDF docs, executable files such as .exe, archives (ZIP, RAD and other files), JavaScript files and so on. Cyber criminals succeed when people open the files. Once opened, they download and install ransomware or other malicious software. Criminals also infect computers with trojans, which proliferate viruses. If installed they cause chain infections. Furthermore, fake software updaters can cause unwanted downloads and installations. If used, they often infect computers rather than updating installed software, or they exploit bugs/flaws of outdated programs/operating systems. Untrustworthy software download sources such as freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrents, eMule etc), various third party downloaders can be used to disguise malicious files as legitimate. In summary, files downloaded using these sources, and then opened, might lead to computer infections. Malware is also spread through software 'cracking' tools. These programs supposedly perform free activation of paid software, however, cyber criminals also use these tools to proliferate computer infections. People who use cracks put their computers at risk.

Threat Summary:
Name Dotmap virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .dotmap
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt text file
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact bufalo@firemail.cc, gorentos@bitmessage.ch, @datarestore (telegram)
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 demand payment of a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Additional Information This malware is designed to show fake Windows Update window, modify Windows "hosts" file (to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites) and inject AZORult trojan into the system.
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 Dotmap virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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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?

Do not open web links or files attached to irrelevant emails that are received from unknown or suspicious addresses. The safest option is to ignore these emails and leave their contents unopened. Furthermore, download software from official, trustworthy sources (websites) and using direct download links. Do not trust the software download channels mentioned above. Use official tools to update installed software: tools or implemented functions that are provided by official developers only. Programs should not be activated using 'cracking' tools. Using these tools is a cyber crime and often causes download/installation of malware. Have reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed and active (enabled). If your computer is already infected with Dotmap, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Dotmap ransomware text file ("_readme.txt"):

ATTENTION!
     
Don't worry my friend, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents 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 you have?
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.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
hxxps://we.tl/t-2jkyb95pOj
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
bufalo@firemail.cc
     
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
gorentos@bitmessage.ch
     
Our Telegram account:
@datarestore
     
Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Dotmap (".dotmap" extension):

Files encrypted by Dotmap

Malware researcher Michael Gillespie has developed a decryption tool that might restore your data if it was encrypted using an "offline key". As mentioned, each victim receives a unique decryption key, all of which are stored on remote servers controlled by cyber criminals. These are categorized as "online keys", however, there are cases when the infected machine has no Internet connection or the server is timing out/not responding. If this is the case, Dotmap will use an "offline encryption key", which is hard-coded. Cyber criminals change offline keys periodically to prevent multiple encryptions with the same key. Michael Gillespie continually gathers offline keys and updates the decrypter, however, the chances of successful decryption are still very low, since only a very small proportion of "offline keys" have so far been gathered. You can download the decrypter by clicking this link (note that the download link remains the same, even though the decrypter is being continually updated). Your files will be restored only if the list of gathered keys includes the one that was used to encrypt your data.

Screenshot of STOP/Djvu decrypter by Michael Gillespie:

STOP/Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie

As with most ransomware from the Djvu family, Dotmap also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during the encryption:

Djvu ransomware family fake update

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also install a trojan-type virus called AZORult, which is designed to steal various account credentials. Moreover, this malware family is designed to add a number of entries to the Windows hosts file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website (PCrisk.com) is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).

Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

Dotmap ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Dotmap 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 Dotmap 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 Dotmap 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 Dotmap 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 Dotmap 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 Dotmap 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 Dotmap, 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 Dotmap 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 Dotmap 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
Dotmap virus QR code
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