Myskle Ransomware

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

Myskle ransomware removal instructions

What is Myskle?

Myskle is one of the many ransomware-type programs that are designed to prevent victims from accessing their files unless they pay a ransom for cyber criminals who designed it. This program belongs to Djvu ransomware family, the person who discovered it is Michael Gillespie. Myskle is designed to change every encrypted file's name by adding the ".myskle" extension to it. For example, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.myskle" and so on. It also puts a ransom note (the "_readme.txt" file) in all folders that contain any of the encrypted files.

As stated in the ransom note, victims cannot access their files without decrypting them with a tool and key that cost $980. However, they can be purchased for less ($490) if Myskle's developers will be contacted in 72 hours after encryption. It is mentioned that the only way to decrypt encrypted files is to use the tool that only these cyber criminals have. Unfortunately, it is true. To prove that they have it, they offer a free decryption of one file that can be sent to them via gorentos@bitmessage.ch or stoneland@firemail.cc email address, or via Telegram account @datarestore. Thee is an offline decryption tool that could be capable of decrypting files encrypted by Myskle, however, only if the server that is used by cyber criminals was not responding or there was no Internet connection during the encryption process. Another way to restore files without having to contact or pay these cyber criminals is to use data backup for that. We do not recommend to contact any ransomware developers. Typically, they do not send their victims the decryption tools/keys, even if all their demands are met (ransom is paid).

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

Myskle decrypt instructions

As a rule, ransomware-type programs have two main things in common: they encrypt data and keep it encrypted unless a ransom is paid/decryption tool is purchased. The main differences between them usually are the price of a decryption tool and cryptography algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used to cause the encryption. Unfortunately, people who have their computers infected with ransomware do not have many choices. They are forced to contact cyber criminals or to restore files from data backup. That is why it is important to have one created and to keep it on a remote server (like Cloud) or unplugged storage device. A few examples of other programs that are similar to Myskle are Muslat, Kjh and Zoh.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Most popular ways to spread malicious programs (including ransomware) are to use spam campaigns, trojans, fake software updaters, unreliable software download sources and software 'cracking' tools. Spam campaigns infect computers through attachments. Cyber criminals send emails that contain attachments such as Microsoft Office or PDF documents, JavaScript files, executables (like .exe and other files), RAR, ZIP or some other archive files and so on. Once these files or their contents are opened, they cause downloads and installations ransomware-type or other malicious programs. Another way to spread computer infections is to use Trojans for that. Trojans are programs that often are designed to proliferate high-risk viruses. Once installed they, start to download and install them. Untrustworthy software download sources such as P2P (Peer-to-Peer) networks like eMule, torrent clients, freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, third party downloaders and other similar tools are used to disguise malicious files as harmless and legitimate. Cyber criminals upload malicious files and hope that some people will download and open them. If opened, these files install ransomware or other malware. Fake software updaters cause damage to systems by exploiting bugs, flaws of outdated software that is installed on a computer or by downloading and installing malicious programs instead of updating or fixing one or another installed program.

Threat Summary:
Name Myskle virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .myskle
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt text file
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact gorentos@bitmessage.ch, stoneland@firemail.cc and @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.
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 Myskle 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?

Web links and attachments that are presented in irrelevant emails received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened (or clicked). The safest option is to ignore emails of this type (not to open their contents). Another important thing is to download all software from official and trustworthy websites and using direct download links. We do not recommend to use third party downloaders, unofficial/unreliable websites and other sources of this kind for that. Furthermore, all installed programs should be updated with tools (or functions) that are designed by official developers. If some installed program is not free, it should be activated/registered properly. It is not legal to use software 'cracking' tools and they often infect computers with malware. One more important thing is to have a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware suite installed and to keep it enabled at all times. Additionally, we recommend to scan the operating system for viruses regularly. If your computer is already infected with Myskle, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Myskle 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-BTtULebL7F
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:
gorentos@bitmessage.ch
 
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
stoneland@firemail.cc
 
Our Telegram account:
@datarestore
 
Your personal ID:

Screenshot of files encrypted by Myskle (".myskle" extension):

Files encrypted by Myskle

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, Myskle 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, Myskle 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

Myskle ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Myskle 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 Myskle 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 Myskle 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 Myskle 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 Myskle 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 Myskle 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 Myskle, 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 Myskle 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 Myskle 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
Myskle virus QR code
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Platform: Windows

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