Major ransomware removal instructions
What is Major?
Discovered by GrujaRS, Major is a malicious program classified as ransomware. It is designed to encrypt data and keep it locked until a ransom is paid (i.e., decryption tools/software is purchased). During encryption, all files are appended with the victim's unique ID number, Major developer's email address, and the ".AIR" extension. For example "1.jpg" might appear similar to "email@example.com.AIR", and so on for all affected files. After this process is complete, an HTML file ("TRY_TO_READ.html") is created and stored on the desktop. The wallpaper of the desktop is also changed.
The text presented on the wallpaper states that all of the victim's data has been encrypted. It urges them not to attempt manual decryption (i.e., without the interference of the cyber criminals behind the Major infection), since this will result in permanent data loss. There are three email addresses listed for contacting the criminals. The message within the "TRY_TO_READ.HTML" file contains identical text to the wallpaper, however, it adds that only they (the developers of Major) can decrypt the compromised files. Victims are told not to attempt decryption with the aid of third parties, since they will be scammed. The message ends with a unique ID number (generated individually for each victim and present in the filenames of affected data). This code must be included in the email users send to the criminals. Unfortunately, in most cases of ransomware infections, decryption with third party software is impossible. Regardless, you are strongly advised against contacting cyber criminals and/or meeting their demands. Despite paying, victims often receive none of the promised tools. Therefore, their files remain encrypted and useless. While removing Major will not restore encrypted data, it will prevent further encryption. The only reliable solution is to restore files from a backup, if one was made before the infection and stored in a different location.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Lokf, Forv, NEMTY REVENGE 2.0, and Corpseworm are just some examples of other ransomware. All malware of this type encrypts data and demands payment for decryption. Each infection differs by cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) the program uses and ransom size. These payments tend to range between three-digit and four-digit sums (in USD). Cyber criminals prefer digital currencies (most commonly, cryptocurrencies), as these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. Decrypting files without the involvement of the ransomware developers might only be possible if the malicious software is still in development and/or has certain flaws (bugs). To ensure data safety, keep backups in unplugged storage devices and/or remote servers. Ideally, multiple backup copies should be stored in separate locations.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.AIR (encrypted files are also appended with unique ID number and the cyber criminals' email address/s).|
|Ransom Demanding Message||TRY_TO_READ.html|
|Cyber Criminal Contactfirstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Detection Names||Avast (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Generic.Ransom.WCryG.4E19A59E), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.NSN), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.DelShad.bnr), 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.|
|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.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections
Suspicious/Irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially those received from unknown senders (addresses). Any attachments (or links) found in suspect mail must never be opened, since doing so can result in an infection. Only official and verified download sources should be used. You are advised to activate and update software with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers, since "cracking" tools and third party updaters are a threat to system health. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. Use this for regular system scans and the elimination of detected threats/issues. If your computer is already infected with Major, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Screenshot of Major desktop wallpaper:
Text presented in Major ransomware HTML file ("TRY_TO_READ.html") and desktop wallpaper:
I am truly sorry to inform you that all your important files are crypted.
If you want to recover your encrypted files you need to follow a few steps. Do not try to decrypt your files with programs by the decoder
Do not try to decrypt your files with programs by the decoder you will only damage your data and lose them forever
Only we can decrypt your data, write to the original mails specified in this file, otherwise you will become a victim of scammers
Contact me on this email address email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com "
Here is you personal id, send it to us
Screenshot of files encrypted by Major (".AIR" extension):
Major 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:
- What is Major?
- STEP 1. Major virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Major 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 Major 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 Major 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 Major 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 Major 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 Major 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.
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 Major ransomware: