How to avoid installation of Money ransomware and other similar malware

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

Money ransomware removal instructions

What is Money?

Money ransomware is a part of the Dharma family and was discovered by Jakub Kroustek. Malware of this type is usually designed to block access to data by encryption. To regain access to their files, victims must use decryption tools and/or keys that can be purchased from the cyber criminals who designed the ransomware-type program. Money changes filenames of encrypted files by adding an ID number, email address, and the ".money" extension. For example, "1.jpg" might be renamed to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[cmdroot@airmail.cc].money". Instructions about how to pay the ransom and contact cyber criminals are presented in a pop-up window and text file called "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt". Updated variants of this ransomware use ".[admin@fentex.net].money", ".[admincrypt@protonmail.com].money", and ".[admin@stex777.com].money" extensions for encrypted files.

FILES ENCRYPTED.txt contains an email address (cmdroot@airmail.cc), which victims must use to contact Money developers. The Money pop-up window states that the message must contain the appointed ID. Victims are also permitted to attach one encrypted file, which cyber criminals will decrypt free of charge. Typically, ransomware developers offer free decryption of file/s to 'prove' that they have tools capable of decoding files. The cost of the tool for file decryption is unknown, however, this apparently depends on how quickly victims make contact. Additionally, they are warned not to try to rename files, decrypt them with other tools, use anti-virus software, etc. According to Money developers, these actions might cause permanent data loss. In summary, the only way to decrypt files is to pay a ransom and wait until cyber criminals send a decryption tool. As with most ransomware-type programs, files are encrypted using strong encryption algorithms, and only ransomware developers can provide tools/keys capable of unlocking files. Regardless, do not trust people who create these programs - they do not keep their promises. Once they are paid, they generally ignore victims. People who trust and/or pay these people are often scammed. To recover files free of charge, restore them from a backup if one was created before encryption.

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

Money decrypt instructions

Money ransomware is similar to other programs of this type including, for example, Ebola, Domn, and RSA. Typically, ransomware-type programs prevent victims from accessing files so that cyber criminals can blackmail them and force them to pay a ransom (purchase decryption tool). Common differences are size of ransom and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to lock data. In most cases, encryptions are impossible to 'crack' and the only way to decrypt files is to use tools held only by developers of specific ransomware. Regaining access to files is possible only when the ransomware is not finished, has bugs, flaws, etc., or a backup is available to restore lost files. Therefore, maintain backups and keep them on a remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Cyber criminals proliferate malware through emails, Trojans, untrustworthy download channels/sources, unofficial activation, or software updating tools. They send emails that contain attachments or web links and hope that recipients open them. Typically, when people open the attachments, they allow installation of malicious software such as ransomware. Examples of files used to proliferate malware through email attachments are Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archives such as ZIP, RAR, executable files such as .exe, and JavaScript files. Trojans are malicious programs that often cause chain infections. If installed, Trojans download and install additional malware. Third party downloaders, free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrents, eMule), freeware download pages and other similar channels can also be used to distribute malware. Cyber criminals present uploaded files as legitimate and hope that someone will download and open them. People who open these files often install malware. Unofficial software activation tools supposedly allow users to bypass paid activation of licensed programs, however, they are often are designed by cyber criminals who seek to infect computers with malicious programs. Fake software updaters, install malicious software rather than updates, or they exploit bugs/flaws of outdated software installed on the operating system.

Threat Summary:
Name Money virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .money
Ransom Demanding Message Pop-up window and FILES ENCRYPTED.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact cmdroot@airmail.cc
Detection Names Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransom.Crysis.E), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Crysis.P), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Crusis.to), 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 demang 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.
Removal

To eliminate Money virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Do not open attachments or web links that are attached to irrelevant emails and when these emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Update installed software through implemented functions or tools designed by official developers. Download files and programs from official websites and avoid using other sources. Unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools are illegal and often cause installation of malware. Tools of this type should not be used. Have reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed and scan the operating system with it regularly. If your computer is already infected with Money, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Money ransomware pop-up window:

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail cmdroot@airmail.cc
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:cmdroot@airmail.cc
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
How to obtain Bitcoins
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click 'Buy bitcoins', and select the seller by payment method and price.
https://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins/
Attention!
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Screenshot of Money text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

Money text file

Text in this file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email cmdroot@airmail.cc

Screenshot of files encrypted by Money (".money" extension):

Files encrypted by Money

Money ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Money 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 Money 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 Money 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 Money 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 Money 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 Money 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 Money, 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 Money 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.

Controll Folder Access

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:

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 Money 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
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
Money 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 Money virus on your mobile device.
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