How to remove Monstserrat ransomware from the system?

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

Montserrat ransomware removal instructions

What is Montserrat?

Monstserrat ransomware was discovered by GrujaRS. It appends the ".encrypted_backup" extension to a filename of every encrypted file. For example, it changes "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.encrypted_backup", and so on. Also, Monstserrat creates the "data.html" file which is a ransom note. Like most ransomware-type programs Monstserrat prevents victims from accessing their files unless they pay a ransom.

As stated in the ransom note, victims can restore their files by contacting Monstserrat's developers via montserrat501@protonmail.com or montserrat501@airmail.cc email address. Also, they must include the appointed ID and can attach one encrypted file that supposed to be decrypted for free. It is mentioned that modification of encrypted files will cause permanent, irrecoverable data loss. Unfortunately, it is impossible to decrypt files encrypted by Monstserrat without the right tools that only cyber criminals who developed this ransomware have. The size of a ransom is unknown, nevertheless, we advise against paying it any case. Quite often cyber criminals do not send their victims decryption tools and/or keys as they promise, people who pay them often get scammed. In most cases the only way to recover files without having to pay a ransom (purchase decryption tools) is to restore them from a created data backup. Even if ransomware is uninstalled, files remain encrypted. Uninstalling ransomware from the system only prevents it from causing further encryptions.

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

Montserrat decrypt instructions (data.html)

Most ransomware-type programs are quite similar, cyber criminals design them to encrypt data and display (and/or create) ransom notes. The main differences between them usually are size of the ransom (price of the decryption key/tool) and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used to lock files. Unfortunately, very often decryptions without interference of cyber criminals are impossible, unless ransomware is not finished, contains some bugs, flaws, etc. That is why it is important to always have data backed up and store it on remote server like Cloud or unplugged storage device. Examples of other ransomware-type programs MMDecrypt, Gesd and Tor+.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, ransomware-type and other malicious programs are distributed by using spam campaigns, Trojans, untrustworthy software download sources, fake software updaters and unofficial activation tools. In the first case cyber criminals spread malware by sending emails that contain malicious attachments. Usually they attach files such as MS Office documents, executable (.exe) files, archive files such as RAR, PDF documents, JavaScript files, and so on. Their main purpose is trick recipients into opening the malicious file (or web link that downloads it). Another way to proliferate various malware is through Trojans. Trojans are malicious programs that, if installed, install other programs of this kind. Simply said, Trojans are designed to cause chain infections. Various untrustworthy download sources such as Peer-to-Peer networks, freeware download or file hosting websites, third party downloaders, and other similar channels/tools are often used as tools to proliferate viruses too. It is achieved by disguising infected files as legitimate, harmless. People who download files though such sources and then open them risk to infect their computers with malware by themselves. Fake software updaters usually either exploit bugs, flaws of some outdated software or install malicious programs instead of the updates. Unofficial activation tools operate quite similarly: they supposed to activate licensed programs for free. However, they often install some malware instead.

Threat Summary:
Name Monstserrat virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .encrypted_backup
Ransom Demanding Message data.html
Cyber Criminal Contact montserrat501@protonmail.com, montserrat501@airmail.cc
Detection Names Avast (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.42093054), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Filecoder.NZE), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Zudochka.dtd), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Windows Backup Storage
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 Monstserrat 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?

If some irrelevant email was received from some unknown, suspicious email address, then it is recommended to ignore it and certainly not to open the attachment or link that is included in it. The safest way to download software is by using official and trustworthy websites, and direct download links. Other sources that we mentioned in the previous paragraph should not be used. Also, it is important to keep installed software up to date, however, it should done using implemented functions or tools provided by the official software developers. Other tools should not be used for that. The same applies to paid activation of licensed: third party activation ("cracking") tools are not legal and can lead to installation of some malware. One more important thing is to regularly scan the operating system with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software and keep it up to date. If your computer is already infected with Montserrat, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Montserrat ransomware's .html file ("data.html"):

Your data has been encrypted!
To restore it, contact us using the following e-mail:

 montserrat501@protonmail.com

If you didn't get a response in 24 hours, write to:

 montserrat501@airmail.cc

You must include the following ID information in your message:

-
To prove that we are able to restore your files, you can attach a single encrypted file not larger than 10MB.
It will be decrypted and sent back to you.

Any modification of encrypted files will lead to irrecoverable data loss!

Screenshot of Montserrat's malicious process in Task Manager ("Windows Backup Storage"):

Montserrat malicious process in Task Manager named Windows Backup Storage

Screenshot of files encrypted by Montserrat (".encrypted_backup" extension):

Files encrypted by Montserrat ransomware (.encrypted_backup extension)

Montserrat ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Monstserrat 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 Monstserrat 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 Montserrat 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 Montserrat 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 Montserrat 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 Montserrat 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 Montserrat, 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 Montserrat 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 Montserrat 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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Monstserrat 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 Monstserrat virus on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Monstserrat virus today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW with Spyhunter

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Spyhunter:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.