Muslat ransomware removal instructions
What is Muslat?
First discovered by malware security researcher, Michael Gillespie, Muslat is one of many ransomware-type infections that belongs to the Djvu family. Following successful encryption, Muslat encrypts most stored data and renames filenames with the ".muslat" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" becomes "sample.jpg.muslat"). Once encrypted, data immediately becomes unusable. Additionally, Muslat creates a text file ("_readme.txt") and stores a copy in every existing folder.
Most infections from the Djvu ransomware family (including Muslat) deliver an identical ransom-demand message, which states that files are encrypted and that recovery requires a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, this is accurate. Muslat encrypts data using an algorithm that generates a unique decryption key for each victim. All keys are stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals (Muslat's developers.) To receive their key and restore data, each victim must pay a ransom of $980. All payment/decryption instructions are provided via email or telegram. It is also stated that victims will receive a 50% discount (the cost will drop to $490) if they contact cyber criminals within 72 hours after encryption. Additionally, victims are permitted to send one selected file (which cannot contain any valuable information), which will then be restored and returned as a 'guarantee' that decryption is possible and that developers can be trusted. Despite this, ignore all requests to submit payments or contact these people. Ransomware developers often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying usually gives no positive result and users are scammed. Be aware that Muslat encrypts data using an "offline key" whenever the server is not responding or the infected machine has no Internet connection. Therefore, we recommend that you try restoring data with Michael Gillespie's decrypter. The only other solution is to restore everything from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Muslat shares many similarities with dozens of other ransomware infections, such as Ghost (Jamper), Euclid, and DDT. Most encrypt data so that developers are able to make ransom demands by offering paid recovery of files. Unfortunately, these viruses typically encrypt data using cryptography that generates unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the virus is still in development or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally or similar), manual decryption without developers' involvement is impossible. Infections such as Muslat present a strong case for maintaining regular backups, however, store them on a remote server (such as Cloud) or an unplugged storage device (external hard drive, Flash drive, or similar). In this way, you will prevent malware from compromising backups together with regular data. Bear in mind that there is always a chance that servers and storage devices can be damaged. Therefore, we strongly advise you to have multiple backup copies stored in different locations.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
The way developers proliferate Muslat is currently unknown, however, infections of this type are typically proliferated using spam email campaigns, unofficial software download sources, fake software updaters/cracks, and trojans. Spam campaigns are used to send hundreds of thousands of emails that contain malicious attachments (e.g., MS Office documents, PDFs, archives, etc.) that are presented as important documents. Recipients are encouraged to open these attachments, which then leads to malware infections. Freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, and other unofficial software download sources are used to present malicious executables as legitimate software. In this way, users are tricked into manually downloading and installing malware. Fake software updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware rather than updates. The same applies to software 'cracks', which inject malware into the system rather than activating paid software free of charge. Finally, trojans are malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and inject additional malware.
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.muslat|
|Ransom Demanding Message||_readme.txt text file|
|Cyber Criminal Contactemail@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, @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.|
|Detection Names (2BC2.tmp.exe)||Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransomware.GenericKDS.32046701), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GTVH), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|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.|
|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?
Lack of knowledge and careless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay attention during the download/installation/update processes and when browsing the Internet in general. We strongly recommend that you download software from official sources (preferably using direct download links) and avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since they often include rogue apps. Additionally, keep installed applications and operating systems up-to-date, however, this should be achieved only through implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Never attempt to crack installed applications, since software piracy is illegal and the risk of infection is extremely high. All received email attachments should be handled carefully. If the file/link is irrelevant, or the sender seems suspicious, do not open anything. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools can detect and eliminate malware before it harms the system. If your computer is already infected with Muslat, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Muslat ransomware text file ("_readme.txt"):
Don't worry, 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:
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:
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
Our Telegram account:
Your personal ID:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Muslat (".muslat" extension):
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 gets 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 whereby the infected machine has no Internet connection or the server is timing out/not responding. If this is the case, Muslat 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 identical, 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:
As with most of ransomware from Djvu family, Muslat also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during the encryption:
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:
Muslat 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 Muslat?
- STEP 1. Muslat virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Muslat 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 Muslat 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 Muslat 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 Muslat 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 Muslat 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 Muslat 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 Muslat ransomware: