Muslat Ransomware

Also Known As: Muslat virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Muslat ransomware removal instructions

What is Muslat?

Muslat is one of many ransomware-type infections that belong to Djvu family. It was firstly discovered by a malware security researcher, Michael Gillespie. Following successful encryption, Muslat encrypts most of stored data. While doing so, Muslat appends filenames with ".muslat" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.muslat"). Once encrypted, data instantly becomes unusable. Additionally, Muslat creates a text file ("_readme.txt") and drops a copy in every existing folder.

Vast majority of infections (including Muslat) from Djvu ransomware family deliver the exact same ransom-demanding message, which states that files are encrypted and that recovery requires a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, this is true. Muslat encrypts data using an algorithm that generates unique decryption key for each victim. The problem is that all keys are stored in a remote server controlled by cyber criminals (Muslat's developers.) In order to receive one's key and restore data each victim has to pay a ransom of $980. All payment payment/decryption instructions are provided via email or telegram. It is also noted that victims will receive a 50% discount (the price will drop to $490) if they'll contact cyber criminals within 72 hours after the encryption. Additionally, victims are allowed to send crooks 1 selected file (which cannot contain any valuable information). The file will then be restored and sent back as a guarantee that the decryption is actually possible and that developers can be trusted. Nevertheless, all encouragements to submit payments and even contact these persons should be ignored. It is known that ransomware developers often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. For this reason, paying usually gives no positive result and users merely get scammed. Now be aware that Muslat encrypts data using an "offline key" whenever the server is not responding or the infected machine has no Internet connection. Hence, we recommend to 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 decrypt instructions

Muslat shares many similarities with dozens of other ransomware infections, such as Ghost (Jamper), Euclid, DDT, and many others. Be aware that almost every single one is designed to encrypt data so that developers could make ransom demands by offering a paid recovery. Unfortunately, such viruses typically encrypt data by using cryptography that generates unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the virus is still in development and/or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or something like that, manual decryption (without developers interference) is impossible. Infections like Muslat present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. However, be sure to store them in a remote server (such as Cloud) or either unplugged storage device (external hard drive, flash drive, or similar). This way you'll prevent malware from compromising backups alongside with regular data. Moreover, keep in mind that there's always a chance that used server/storage device will be damaged. For this reason, we highly recommend 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 email spam 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, what obviously results in a malware infection. 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. This way users get tricked into downloading and installing malware manually by themselves. Fake software updaters are designed to infect computers by exploiting outdated software's bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware rather than actual updates. Same goes for software cracks, which inject malware with system instead of activating paid software for free. Last but not least are trojans. These are malicious applications which stealthily infiltrate computers and inject them with additional malware.

Threat Summary:
Name Muslat virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .muslat
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt text file
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact stoneland@firemail.cc, gorentos@bitmessage.ch, @datarestore (telegram)
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.
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.
Removal

To eliminate Muslat 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 begin with, users must realize that lack of knowledge and reckless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to its safety is caution and, therefore, paying attention during download/installation/update processes, as well as when browsing the Internet in general is a must. We highly recommend to download software from official sources (preferably using direct download links) and avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since they often include rogue apps. Additionally, be sure to keep installed applications and operating system up-to-date. Yet this should be achieved only through implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Never attempt to crack any installed applications, because software piracy is illegal and the risk of infections is extremely high. All received email attachments should be handled carefully. If the file/link is irrelevant or the sender looks suspicious, then do not open anything. On top of all that, be sure to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - tools of this type will help you detect and eliminate malware before it manages to harm the system. If your computer is already infected with Muslat, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Muslat ransomware's text file ("_readme.txt"):

ATTENTION!

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:
hxxps://we.tl/t-7AKxZTQTdy
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:
stoneland@firemail.cc

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
gorentos@bitmessage.ch

Our Telegram account:
@datarestore

Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Muslat (".muslat" extension):

Files encrypted by Muslat

Malware researcher Michael Gillespie has developed a decryption tool that might restore your data if it was encrypted using an "offline key". As we've already mentioned, each victim gets a unique decryption key and all of them are stored in 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 that is the case, Muslat will use an "offline encryption key", which is hard-coded. Now it is worth mentioning that cyber criminals change offline keys every now and again. This is being done to prevent multiple encryptions with the same key. Meanwhile, 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 portion of "offline keys" has been gathered. You can download the decrypter by clicking this link (note that the download link remains the same, despite the fact that decrypter is being continually updated). Your files will be restored only if the list of gathered keys will include 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 of ransomware from Djvu family, Muslat also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during the encryption:

Djvu ransomware family fake update

IMPORTANT NOTE! - Aside from encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from Djvu malware family also installs 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 carried out with the intention of making users unable to access malware security websites and seek 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

Muslat ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Muslat 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 Muslat 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 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.

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 Muslat 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 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.

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 Muslat, 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 Muslat ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default this feature automatically protects files stored in 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's more information on how to get this update and add 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 Muslat 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
Muslat 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 Muslat virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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