How to remove MZRevenge ransomware from the operating system?

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

MZRevenge ransomware removal instructions

What is MZRevenge?

Discovered by GrujaRS, MZRevenge is a malicious program, classified as ransomware. It is designed to encrypt data and demand a ransom for decryption. During the encryption process, all files are appended with the ".MZ173801" extension. Therefore, a file titled something like "1.jpg" would appear as "1.jpg.MZ173801", and so on for all of the compromised files. Once this process is finished, a text file - "Read_ME_PLS.txt" is created on the victim's desktop.

The "Read_ME_PLS.txt" file is the ransom-demanding message. It informs users that their data has been encrypted. It reassures victims that recovery is possible and as proof one file can be decrypted free of charge. This test file can be a PNG, JPG, BMP or GIF. The note claims that only the MZRevenge's developers can recover the encrypted data. The text ends with an email address (which is to be used to establish contact) and the MZ decryption key (it is warned against altering/deleting this string of characters). It is true that in most cases of ransomware infections, decryption with third party tools/software is impossible. In other words, usually only the developers of the malware can decrypt the affected files. Manual decryption may be a viable solution, if the ransomware in question is still in development and/or has key flaws/bugs. Regardless, it is expressly advised against trusting the promises and/or meeting the demands of cyber criminals. Often, despite paying - victims do not receive the necessary decryption tools. Therefore, their files remain encrypted and beyond repair. To prevent MZRevenge from further encryptions - it has to be eliminated form the operating system. However, removal will not restore already encrypted data. It may be recovered from a backup, if one was made prior to the infection and stored in a separate location.

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

MZRevenge decrypt instructions (Read_ME_PLS.txt)

MMDecryptRighCILLAROGER are a few examples of other ransomware. This class of malware shares the similarities of data encryption and ransom demands. However, they are far from identical. Crucial differences include - the cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) they use for the encryption and the size of the demanded payment. Ransom sums vary between three and four digits (in USD). Cyber criminals tend to prefer digital currencies (mainly, cryptocurrencies), due to transactions of them being difficult/impossible to trace. To protect files against data encrypting and damaging attacks, it is recommended to keep backups in remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices. Ideally, multiple backup copies should be stored in several different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware primarily spreads via trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy download sources, software "cracking" (activation) tools and fake updaters. Trojans are malicious programs, designed to cause chain infections (i.e. they download/install additional malware). Large scale spam campaigns are used to send out deceptive emails, containing infectious attachments (or web-links leading to malicious files). This mail is typically marked as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority" and so on. The virulent files come in various formats (e.g. PDF and Microsoft Office documents, archive and executable files, JavaScript, etc.), when they are run, executed or otherwise opened - it initiates the infection process. Unofficial and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders are deemed to be untrustworthy. Therefore, they are more likely to offer malicious content for downloading (e.g. disguised as regular programs and/or bundled with them). Illegal software activation ("cracking") tools can download/install malware, rather than activate licensed product. Fake updaters infect systems by exploiting flaws of outdated programs and/or simply install malware instead of the promised updates.

Threat Summary:
Name MZRevenge virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .MZ173801
Ransom Demanding Message Read_ME_PLS.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact helpdesk_mz@aol.com
Detection Names AegisLab (Trojan.Win32.Malicious.4!c), BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZexaF.32519.@Z0@a0p!nFoi), CrowdStrike Falcon (Win/malicious_confidence_100% (W)), F-Secure (Trojan.TR/Crypt.FKM.Gen), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Windows Hizmetleri iÁin Ana Bilgisayar Islemi
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.
Removal

To eliminate MZRevenge virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

It is recommended not to open suspicious and/or irrelevant emails. All attachments (and links) found in such mail - must never be opened, as they are the source of a potential infection. Users should only use official and verified download channels. It is important to activate and update software with tools/functions, provided by genuine developers. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters are considered to be high-risk. It is strongly advised to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. Additionally, it is to be used for regular system scans and for the removal of detected threats. If your computer is already infected with MZRevenge, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in MZRevenge ransomware's text file ("Read_ME_PLS.txt"):

---> MZ REVENGE 1.0 <---

Dont worry, some of your files have extension .MZ173801 and they are encrypted.

In confirmatiom, that we have private decryption key,
We can provide test decryption for 1 file (png,jpg,bmp,gif).
Its a business, if we cant provide full decryption, other people wont trust us.

There is no way to decrypt your files without our help.
Dont trust anyone. Even your cat.

Main mail: helpdesk_mz@aol.com

Dont change decryption key below!!!

MZ DECRYPTION KEY:

gp6WhRS7kZN8mCXiaDfwXrPcPJ64HxNPIEQklXg5egwixY2+3CjU0x4uAmYPzeHNG/gLs+UoxA==

Screenshot of files encrypted by MZRevenge (".MZ173801" extension):

Files encrypted by MZRevenge ransomware (.MZ173801 extension)

Screenshot of MZRevenge ransomware's process on Windows Task Manager ("Windows Hizmetleri iÁin Ana Bilgisayar Islemi"):

MZRevenge ransomware process on Task Manager (Windows Hizmetleri iÁin Ana Bilgisayar Islemi)

MZRevenge ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of MZRevenge 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 MZRevenge 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 MZRevenge 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 MZRevenge 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 MZRevenge 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 MZRevenge 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 MZRevenge, 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 MZRevenge 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 MZRevenge 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
MZRevenge 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 MZRevenge virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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