Remove Mapo ransomware from the operating system

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

Mapo ransomware removal instructions

What is Mapo?

Mapo is a new variant of another ransomware infection called Outsider. Like most programs of this type, it encrypts data, changes extensions of encrypted files, and creates a ransom message. It appends the ".mapo" extension to the filename of each encrypted file. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.mapo", and so on. It also creates "MAPO-README.txt" containing the ransom message. Cyber criminals use Mapo to extort money from victims by leaving them with no other choice than to pay a ransom.

The message within the "MAPO-README.txt" text file states that Mapo encrypts files with the RSA encryption algorithm and the only way to decrypt them is to use a decryption tool, which can only be purchased from the developers of this ransomware. Instructions about how to make payment are supposedly provided after contacting cyber criminals by sending an email to support.mbox@pm.me with the "MAPO-README.txt" file attached. Victims are offered free decryption of one file, which they can also attach to the email. It is also mentioned that trying to decrypt files with other tools, or deleting or modifying them, will cause permanent data loss. It is made clear that the only way to decrypt files is using a specific tool that can only be purchased from the developers of Mapo. Unfortunately, there are no other tools capable of decrypting files compromised by Mapo (at least not at present), however, we do not recommend that you trust these cyber criminals or pay any ransoms. They are unlikely to send a decryption tool, even after payment. Typically, files can only be recovered (without having to pay a ransom) by restoring them from an existing backup, otherwise files remain encrypted. Uninstalling ransomware from the operating system simply prevents it from causing further encryption.

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

Mapo decrypt instructions

Most ransomware-type programs encrypt data and use it to extort money from victims. The two main differences are cost of decryption software and/or key and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to lock files. Generally, it is impossible to decrypt files without tools held only by the cyber criminals who designed the ransomware, unless ransomware is not fully developed, contains bugs, flaws, and so on. Therefore, maintain backups and keep them on a remote server (such as Cloud) or unplugged storage device. Examples of other ransomware are Bitx, ROGER, and MarioLocker.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Most cyber criminals proliferate ransomware (and other malicious programs) through spam campaigns, Trojans, unofficial software activation tools, fake updaters and untrustworthy file/software download channels. They use spam campaigns to trick people into installing malware through files that they attach to emails that they send to other people. Typically, malware is installed when recipients open the received file. Examples of files that are being used to infect systems are Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript files, executable files (.exe files), archive files such as ZIP, RAR, and so on. Trojans are malicious programs that, if installed, install other malware. In summary, most Trojans open a backdoor for other malware/cause chain infections. Unofficial activation tools are programs that people use when they seek to avoid having to pay for activation of licensed software. these tools often do not activate software and install ransomware (or other malware) instead. Fake (third party) updating tools, if used, infect systems by downloading and installing malicious software rather than updating installed one or by exploiting bugs, flaws of some outdated software that is installed on victim's operating system. People who download files and programs through dubious channels risk to download malicious files. Cyber criminals disguise those files as legitimate, harmless. Once downloaded and opened, those files install malware. Examples of dubious download channels are various unofficial pages, freeware download or free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, third party downloaders, and other similar sources.

Threat Summary:
Name Mapo virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .mapo
Ransom Demanding Message MAPO-README.txt 
Cyber Criminal Contact support.mbox@pm.me 
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.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Do not open attachments (or links) in emails that are received from unknown, untrustworthy, or suspicious addresses. Cyber criminals often disguise their emails (and files within them) as official, important, and so on. Update installed programs using only implemented functions or tools provided by official developers - do not use third party tools. Software should not be downloaded via untrustworthy, unofficial websites or the other sources mentioned above. The safest way is to use official web pages and direct download links. Installed software should be activated properly, since various unofficial, 'cracking' tools often lead to computer infections with malware. Furthermore, it is not legal to use such tools to activate paid software. Regularly scan the operating system with reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software. If your computer is already infected with Mapo, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Mapo ransomware text file ("MAPO-README.txt"):

! STRICTLY FORBIDDEN TO USE NON-ORIGIN DECRYPTION TOOLS OR MODIFYING ENCRYPTED FILES - DATA WILL BE LOST !

---------------
Due vulnerability in local system all of the files has been protected with MAPO RSA.Private.Key to safe them from unathorized 3rd party access.

To RESTORE all of your files, please follow this simple steps:

1. MAPO service charges a payment for file decryption;
2. Contact us with attached (MAPO-Readme.txt) file to the message;
3. Receive your unique decryption tool;
4. Run the decryption tool and successfully restore all files.

We guarantee:

100% Successful restoring of all files
100% Satisfaction guarantee
100% Fast and secure service

As a proof of our trusted decryption service, you can send us 1 file and get it decrypted for free.

---------------
  ! STRICTLY FORBIDDEN TO USE NON-ORIGIN DECRYPTION TOOLS OR MODIFYING ENCRYPTED FILES - DATA WILL BE LOST !
  ! DO NOT DELETE THIS FILE !
  ! DO NOT MODIFY, FILE CONTAINS SENSITIVE DATA !
---------------

E-mail: support.mbox@pm.me

Payments accepted: Bitcoin (BTC)

ID-KEY:
-

---------------

 support.mbox@pm.me / MAPO © 2019

=== Key verify ===
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Mapo ransomware (".mapo" extension):

Data encrypted by Mapo ransomware

Update Decembere 23, 2019 - The CERT Polska cyber security company has recently released a decryption tool capable of restoring data compromised by Mapo ransomware free of charge. Therefore, victims can easily decrypt files without paying. Detailed instructions and the decryption download link can be found on the CERT Polska web page.

Screenshot of Mapo decryption tool by CERT Polska:

Mapo ransomware decrypter by CERT Polska

Mapo 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 Mapo 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 Mapo 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 Mapo 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 Mapo 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 Mapo, 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 Mapo 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 Mapo 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.

QR Code
Mapo 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 Mapo virus on your mobile device.
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