How to protect data from encryption by Meka ransomware

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

Meka ransomware removal instructions

What is Meka?

Meka ransomware is designed to encrypt files and keep them inaccessible unless victims purchase a decryption tool and key from the cyber criminals who created this malware. Meka is a part of Djvu ransomware family. Like most programs of this type, it renames encrypted files and creates a ransom message. Meka renames files by adding the ".meka" extension to filenames. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.meka". Instructions about how to pay for decryption are provided in the "_readme.txt" text file.

Victims are informed that all files such as photos, databases, documents and other important files, are encrypted with the strongest encryption algorithm. The only way to recover them is to use a decryption tool and unique key that can be purchased from cyber criminals for $490, however, they only offer these to victims who send an email to salesrestoresoftware@firemail.cc or salesrestoresoftware@gmail.com within 72 hours of encryption. After this period, the cost of decryption is increased to $980. The email must contain a personal ID, which is appointed to each victim. The message can contain one encrypted file, which cyber criminals offer to decrypt free of charge. Typically, free decryption is offered to 'prove' that developers or specific ransomware designers have tools that can decrypt files, however, this does not mean that cyber criminals can be trusted. There are many cases whereby victims who trust these people and pay ransoms are scammed. Cyber criminals often send no decryption tools/keys even if victims meet all demands. There are no free tools that can recover files encrypted by Meka - only the developers have them. This is the case with most ransomware-type programs - only the developers can provide decryption tools. The only way to recover files is to restore them from a backup. Removal of ransomware simply prevents it from causing further encryption, whilst compromised data remains encrypted.

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

Meka decrypt instructions

All software classified as ransomware has similar behavior: it encrypts data and creates and/or displays ransom messages. The main differences are usually cost of decryption key/tool and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to encrypt data. In most cases, only the people who designed specific ransomware can decrypt files (provide decryption tools), unless the ransomware is in development, contains bugs, flaws, and so on. Data and financial loss caused by ransomware can be avoided by having data backed up and keeping it on a remote server or unplugged storage device. More examples of ransomware-type software are Asus, Decrypme, and Start.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, cyber criminals proliferate ransomware and other malware through spam campaigns, Trojans, untrustworthy software download sources, software 'cracking' tools and fake software updaters. One of the most commonly used ways to proliferate malicious software is to attach a malicious file to an email and send it to a number of people. The main goal of spam campaigns is to trick recipients into opening the attached file. Typically, cyber criminals attach executable files (.exe), PDF documents, archives (RAR, ZIP), Microsoft Office documents or JavaScript files. One opened, the file installs malware. Trojans are malicious programs that are often designed to cause chain infections (infect computers with various malware), however, this can happen only if the computer is already infected with a Trojan. Peer-to-peer networks (torrent clients, eMule), free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, unofficial pages, and other dubious software download sources of this kind can be used to distribute malicious files. Cyber criminals upload a malicious file and hope that someone will download and then open/execute it. In this way, many people are tricked into installing malware. Unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools are programs that supposedly activate licensed software free of charge, however, cyber criminals often design them to infect computers with malware. People who use these tools risk installing malicious software. Fake software update tools cause damage by installing malware rather than the updates or fixes, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software installed on the operating system.

Threat Summary:
Name Meka virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .meka
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $490/$980
Cyber Criminal Contact salesrestoresoftware@firemail.cc, salesrestoresoftware@gmail.com
Detection Names AVG (FileRepMetagen [Malware]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32674719), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/GenKryptik.DWVH), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.fh), 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 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 and modify the Windows "hosts" file to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites (more information below).
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads, unofficial activation and updating tools.
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.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

If an email is irrelevant, sent from an unknown (and/or suspicious) address, and contains an attachment, you should ignore it. We advise against opening files or web links that are presented in emails of this kind. Download files and software only from official websites and using direct download links. Do not trust other sources (third party downloaders, unofficial pages, etc.). Update installed programs properly using implemented functions and/or tools that are created by official software developers. No software should be activates using third party activation tools, since these are illegal and cyber criminals often use then to proliferate malware. Have a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite installed, ensure that it is up-do-date, and scan the computer with it regularly. If your computer is already infected with Meka, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Meka ransomware 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-h159DSA7cz
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:
salesrestoresoftware@firemail.cc

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
salesrestoresoftware@gmail.com

Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Meka (".meka" extension):

Files encrypted by Meka

Screenshot of fake Windows update pop-up displayed during the encryption:

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Meka during the encryption

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also 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:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

There are currently two versions of Djvu ransomware infections: old and new. The old versions were designed to encrypt data by using a hard-coded "offline key" whenever the infected machine had no internet connection or the server was timing out/not responding. Therefore, some victims were able to decrypt data using a tool developed by cyber security researcher, Michael Gillespie, however, since the encryption mechanism has been slightly changed (hence the new version, released in August, 2019), the decrypter no longer works and it is not supported anymore. If your data has been encrypted by an older version, you might be able to restore it with the another tool developed by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie. It supports a total of 148 Djvu variants and you can find more information, as well as download link and decryption instructions on Emsisoft's official web page.

Screenshot of Djvu decryption tool by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie:

Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie and Emsisoft

Additionally, Emsisoft is now providing a service that allows to decrypt data (again, only if it was encrypted by Djvu variants released before August, 2019) for those victims who have a pair of the same file before and after the encryption. Victims simply upload a pair of original and encrypted files to Emsisoft's Djvu decryption web page and download the aforementioned decryption tool (the download link will be provided after uploading files). Note that the file processing may take some, time so be patient. Note that the system must have an internet connection during the entire decryption process, otherwise it will fail.

Screenshot of Emsisoft Djvu decryption service web page:

Djvu ransomware decryption service by Emsisoft

Meka 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:
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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 Meka 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 Meka 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 Meka 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 Meka 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 Meka, 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 Meka 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, and 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 Meka 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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Meka virus QR code
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