Maze ransomware removal instructions
What is Maze?
Discovered by Jérôme Segura, Maze is a ransomware-type program. People who have computers infected with Maze cannot access their files/data - the program encrypts files and keeps them in that state until a ransom is paid. Furthermore, it renames all encrypted files by adding a random extension to the filenames. For example, "1.jpg" might become "1.jpg.ILnnD", and so on. Maze also changes the desktop wallpaper and creates the "DECRYPT-FILES.html" file, a ransom message with instructions about how to decrypt files.
The wallpaper states that Maze encrypts files with RSA-2048 and ChaCha algorithms, and the only way to restore locked/encrypted files is to purchase a decryption tool. Files can apparently be restored by following the instructions in the "DECRYPT-FILES.HTML" file. The message states that these people must first be contacted to purchase this tool and a unique key. This can be done by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. These two email addresses can also be used for a 'test decryption' - victims can send one file to them and they will decrypt and return it free of charge. To proceed with decryption, victims must send an entire sequence of characters, which can be found at the bottom of the "DECRYPT-FILES.HTML" ransom message (under "Base64"). Maze's developers will then provide all further instructions. Despite this, do not trust these and other other cyber criminals. Typically, they cooperate only until they are paid (a decryption tool/key is purchased), and then they ignore victims and send no decryption tools/keys. Only Maze's developers have the ability to decrypt files. Encryptions caused by ransomware-type programs are usually impossible to decrypt without the correct tools held only by the ransomware developers. The best, free option in such cases is to restore all files using a backup created beforehand.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Maze is similar to many other ransomware-type programs including, for example, 2k19sys, Virus Hermes, and Mogera. They encrypt data and force victims to pay a ransom/buy a decryption tool. The main differences between these programs are cryptography algorithms used to encrypt files and cost of decryption. Despite any similarities or differences, most ransomware-type programs encrypt files with strong algorithms. Therefore, encoded files cannot be decrypted without tools held only by ransomware developers. To avoid data and financial loss, maintain data backups and keep them stored on an unplugged storage device or remote server (for example, Cloud).
How did ransomware infect my computer?
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Encrypted Files Extension||Random string.|
|Ransom Demanding Message||Desktop wallpaper, DECRYPT-FILES.html|
|Cyber Criminal Contactemail@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:Adware-gen [Adw]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Adware.Kazy.734873), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win32/Kryptik.GTLN), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Gen.qqa), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|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.|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
Do not download or install software using third party software downloaders/installers, from dubious pages, and so on. The safest way to download is using official and trustworthy websites, and direct download links. Update installed software using implemented functions or tools provided by official software developers. Do not open files that are attached to emails received from unknown/suspicious email addresses, especially if these emails are irrelevant. Software should be activated properly, and not with 'cracking' tools that supposedly bypass activation free of charge. It is illegal to use these tools. Additionally, have reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed and keep it enabled at all times. If your computer is already infected with Maze, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Screenshot of Maze HTML file:
Text presented in the HTML file:
Attention! Your documents, photos, databases, and other important files have been encrypted!
What is going on?
Your files have been encrypted using strong reliable algorithms RSA-2048 and ChaCha20 with an unique private key for your system
You can read more about this cryptosystem here: hxxps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_(cryptosystem)
The only way to recover (decrypt) your files is to buy decryptor with the unique private key
Attention! Only we can recover your files! If someone tell you that he can do this, kindly ask him to proof!
By us you can decrypt one of your files for free as a proof of work that we have the method to decrypt the rest of your data.
In order to either buy the private key or make test decryption contact us via email:
Main e-mail: email@example.com
Reserve e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to hurry up as email address may not be available for very long as soon as law enforcements of different countries always trying to seize emails used in ransom companies
If you are willing to pay but you are not sure knock us and we will save your e-mail address. In case the listed addresses are seized we will write you from the new one
Below you will see a big base64 blob, you will need to email us and copy this blob to us.
you can click on it, and it will be copied into the clipboard.
If you have troubles copying it, just send us the file you are currently reading, as an attachment.
Appearance of Maze ransomware (GIF):
Screenshot of files encrypted by Maze (random "ILnnD" extension):
Update May 15, 2020 - The developers of Maze ransomware have recently started looking for affiliates and offering Maze as ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). This business model is basically based on the work distribution - the affiliate is responsible for malware distribution, while the developer provides affiliates with necessary tools to perform malicious actions. The revenue is distributed either in percentage (the developers get a certain share) or either affiliate pays a subscription fee.
Screenshot of Maze ransomware's admin panel:
Maze 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:
- What is Maze?
- STEP 1. Maze virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Maze ransomware removal using System Restore.
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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the Maze 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.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
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 Maze ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining Maze 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 Maze 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.
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 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 Maze 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.
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:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- 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 Maze ransomware: