Madek ransomware removal instructions
What is Madek?
Madek is a high-risk ransomware infection discovered by Michael Gillespie and belonging to Djvu, a family of ransomware-type infections. Immediately after infiltration, Madek compromises stored data by encryption, thereby rendering it unusable. In addition, Madek renames each file by adding the ".madek" appendix (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.madex"). Once encryption is complete, Madek generates a text file ("_readme.txt") and stores a copy in all existing folders.
The new text file contains information regarding the current situation. It essentially states that files are encrypted and that they can only be restored using a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. Each victim gets a unique decryption key, however, all are stored on a remote server controlled by Madek's developers (cyber criminals). To get a key and restore data, each victim must pay a ransom of $980, however, it is stated that developers will drop the cost to $490 (a 50% discount) if victims make contact within 72 hours after encryption. Victims are also permitted to send one encrypted file, which is restored and returned as 'proof' that these people are capable of restoring the data. In fact, ransomware developers should never be trusted. These people are often ignore victims once payments are submitted - victims are scammed, and paying usually gives no positive result. We strongly recommend that you ignore all requests to contact these people or submit any payments. Madek encrypts data using a so-called "offline key" whenever the server is not responding or when the infected machine has no Internet connection. Therefore, try to restore files with a decryption tool developed by Michael Gillespie. 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:
There are hundreds of ransomware-type infections that have very similar characteristics to Madek including V6cye, Berosuce, and HYDRA - the list goes on. Although the developers differ, most of these infections are virtually identical. In most cases, the only major differences are cost of decryption and type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, encryptions are typically performed using algorithms that generate unique decryption keys (e.g., RSA, AES, and similar). Therefore, it is virtually impossible to restore data without involvement of the developers (not recommended). The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed and/or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally or similar). Ransomware-type infections are one of the main reasons why you should maintain regular backups. Remember that locally stored backups are compromised together with regular data and, therefore, store them on an unplugged storage device or remote server. Additionally, have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, since there is always a chance that servers and hardware can be damaged.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
In most cases, infections such as Madek are proliferated using spam email campaigns, third party software download sources, fake software update and 'cracking' tools, and trojans. Criminals use spam campaigns to send hundreds of thousands of deceptive emails containing malicious attachments, and messages encouraging recipients to open attached malicious files/links. Third party software download sources (freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer [P2P] networks, etc.) are used to present malicious executables as legitimate software. This is done to trick users into manually downloading and installing malware. Most fake updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or downloading and installing malware rather than updating software. Cracking tools have essentially identical behavior. Although their purpose is to activate paid software free of charge, most of these tools are fake and, thus, using them often leads to malware infections. Trojans are malicious applications designed to cause "chain infections". They infiltrate computers and inject them with additional malware. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are lack of knowledge of these threats and careless behavior.
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:FloxLib-A [Trj]), BitDefender (Win32.Floxif.A), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Floxif.H), Kaspersky (Virus.Win32.Pioneer.cz), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.madek|
|Ransom Demanding Message||_readme.txt|
|Cyber Criminal Contactfirstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, @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 a fake Windows Update window, modify the 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.|
To eliminate Madek virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
To prevent ransomware infections, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Never open any email attachments that are irrelevant, or if the sender seems suspicious/unrecognizable. We advise you to download programs from official sources only, preferably using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often contain malicious apps, and thus these tools should never be used. Proper software maintenance is also extremely important. Therefore, keep installed applications and operating systems up-to-date, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Software piracy is a cyber crime and the risk of infection is extremely high. Therefore, never use such tools to activate software. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running, since this will detect and eliminate malware before the system is harmed. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with Madek, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Madek 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:
Mark Data Restore
Your personal ID:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Madek (".madek" 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, Madek 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 ransomware from the Djvu family, Madek 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:
Madek ransomware removal:
Instant automatic removal of Madek 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 Madek virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Madek?
- STEP 1. Madek virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Madek 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 Madek 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 Madek 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 Madek 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 Madek 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 Madek 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 Madek ransomware: