How to eliminate m461c14n ransomware

Also Known As: m461c14n virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

m461c14n ransomware removal instructions

What is m461c14n?

m461c14n ransomware was discovered by MalwareHunterTeam. Like most malicious programs of this type, m461c14n is designed to encrypt victims' data and provide instructions about how to pay ransoms. It creates the "wp.jpg" file, placing it on the Desktop, and sets it as the wallpaper. This ransomware appends the ".crypd" extension to the filenames of all encrypted files. For example, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.crypd", and so on. Furthermore, m461c14n displays a pop-up window for entering a decryption key and decrypting files.

The ransom message (on the changed wallpaper) states that victims can purchase a decryption key from cyber criminals (m461c14n developers) for $100 equivalent in Bitcoins by transferring it to a BTC wallet address provided. Users are encouraged to pay the ransom within 48 hours, since after this period, the cost of a decryption key is increased to $300. After payment victims, must send their Bitcoin addresses and activation IDs, installation IDs, and other details (that are provided after entering the "slmgr.vbs /dlv" command in Command Prompt) to magician@ctenplar.com. According to cyber criminals, they will be unable to provide a decryption key without these details. Typically, only the cyber criminals behind specific ransomware have decryption tools/keys that can decrypt files that were encrypted by their ransomware. Unfortunately, this is the case with m461c14n ransomware - there are no free tools/keys capable of file decryption for this ransomware program. In most cases, victims of ransomware have just one free choice: to restore data from a backup. Cyber criminals often do not send decryption tools/keys even if victims pay the ransoms. Therefore, they should never be trusted. Files remain encrypted even after uninstalling the ransomware - removing it from the system simply prevents further encryption.

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

m461c14n decrypt instructions (wp.jpg)

m461c14n is similar to many other ransomware-type programs. For example, WannaScream, Roll Safe, and Snake. Typically, these programs prevent victims from accessing their files by encryption and create ransom messages with instructions about how to pay for decryption. In most cases, main variables are cost of decryption tool/key and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to encrypt files. Unfortunately, most programs of this type ensure that files cannot be decrypted without tools that can only be provided by the developers. In rare cases, it might be possible to decrypt files without their tools if the software is still in development (contains unfixed bugs, flaws, and so on). To recover files in the case of a ransomware attack free of charge, it is necessary to have data backed up on a remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

There are various different ways to proliferate malicious programs. In most cases, cyber criminals use spam campaigns, unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools, Trojans, dubious software download channels and fake software update tools. Cyber criminals proliferate malware via spam campaigns by sending emails that contain malicious attachments. They disguise their emails as official or important to trick recipients into opening attached files (or website links that download malicious files). Once opened, these files install rogue software. Some examples of files used to proliferate malware through emails include executables (.exe), archive files such as RAR, ZIP, PDF documents, JavaScript files and Microsoft Office documents. Software 'cracking' tools are programs that supposedly activate licensed software free of charge (bypass paid activation), however, they can also install ransomware or other malicious software. Trojans are rogue programs that are often designed to proliferate (install) other programs of this kind. When a computer is infected with a Trojan, it is infected with even more malware. Free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), third party downloaders, and so on, are examples download sources that are used to distribute malware. When people open files downloaded through sources of this type they risk installing malware. Cyber criminals use these tools to upload malicious files that they disguise as legitimate or harmless. Fake software update tools infect operating systems by installing malicious software rather than updates for legitimate programs, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the computer.

Threat Summary:
Name m461c14n virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .crypd
Ransom Demanding Message wp.jpg (m461c14n sets this file as the Desktop wallpaper).
Ransom Amount $100/$300 in Bitcoins
Bitcoin Wallet Address bc1qsvm59rlhsqq4z4udt5qr879cthves7thpheg650cp2ht3lzlreds55rxap and 1JBQnvZcR6BAZ1wmx7P76nAGuPeR3Xn2sb
Cyber Criminal Contact magician@ctenplar.com
Detection Names Avast (MSIL:GenMalicious-BWB [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Ransom.REntS.Gen.1), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.NXO), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.GenericCryptor.lgu), 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)

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Do not open attachments or website links presented in irrelevant emails, especially if they are received from suspicious, unknown addresses. In such cases, the best option is to ignore them. Software should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct download links. Other tools should not be used (examples of such tools are provided above). Operating systems and installed programs must be updated using implemented functions and/or tools that are provided by the official developer - not third party, unofficial tools. It is illegal to activate programs with unofficial activation ('cracking') tools and this can lead to computer infection with high-risk malware. Finally, we strongly recommend that you have a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite installed on your computer - use it to scan for threats regularly. If your computer is already infected with m461c14n, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in changed wallpaper ("wp.jpg"):

Greetings Citizen,
Your computers has been encrypted. HAHA sorry


Please Deposit 100USD worth of Bitcoins to
1JBQnvZcR6BAZ1wmx7P76nAGuPeR3Xn2sb


After payment, please send an email to magician@ctenplar.com
for your decryption code including your Bitcoin address from
which you sent the ransom and the extended PID of the infected
computer (which can be found by entering slmgr.vbs /dlv in
command prompt) or we will not be able to fetch the decryption
code for you


Note that the price will become 300USD after 48 hours


Best Regards,
m461c14n

Screenshot of a pop-up displayed by m461c14n ransomware:

m461c14n decryption pop-up

Text in this pop-up:

Greetings Citizen, your files are encrypted
Send 100 USD worth of bitcoin for key

Address bc1qsvm59rlhsqq4z4udt5qr879cthves7thpheg650cp2ht3lzlreds55rxap

Key

Open System   Cancel

Screenshot of files encrypted by m461c14n (".crypd" extension):

Files encrypted by m461c14n ransomware (. crypd extension)

m461c14n 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:

Isolating the infected device:

Some ransomware-type infections are designed to encrypt files within external storage devices, infect them, and even spread throughout the entire local network. For this reason, it is very important to isolate the infected device (computer) as soon as possible.

Step 1: Disconnect from the internet.

The easiest way to disconnect a computer from the internet is to unplug the Ethernet cable from the motherboard, however, some devices are connected via a wireless network and for some users (especially those who are not particularly tech-savvy), disconnecting cables may seem troublesome. Therefore, you can also disconnect the system manually via Control Panel:

Navigate to the "Control Panel", click the search bar in the upper-right corner of the screen, enter "Network and Sharing Center" and select search result: Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 1)

Click the "Change adapter settings" option in the upper-left corner of the window: Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 2)

Right-click on each connection point and select "Disable". Once disabled, the system will no longer be connected to the internet. To re-enable the connection points, simply right-click again and select "Enable". Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 3)

Step 2: Unplug all storage devices.

As mentioned above, ransomware might encrypt data and infiltrate all storage devices that are connected to the computer. For this reason, all external storage devices (flash drives, portable hard drives, etc.) should be disconnected immediately, however, we strongly advise you to eject each device before disconnecting to prevent data corruption:

Navigate to "My Computer", right-click on each connected device and select "Eject": Ejecting external storage devices

Step 3: Log-out of cloud storage accounts.

Some ransomware-type might be able to hijack software that handles data stored within "the Cloud". Therefore, the data could be corrupted/encrypted. For this reason, you should log-out of all cloud storage accounts within browsers and other related software. You should also consider temporarily uninstalling the cloud-management software until the infection is completely removed.

Identify the ransomware infection:

To properly handle an infection, one must first identify it. Some ransomware infections use ransom-demand messages as an introduction (see the WALDO ransomware text file below).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 1)

This, however, is rare. In most cases, ransomware infections deliver more direct messages simply stating that data is encrypted and that victims must pay some sort of ransom. Note that ransomware-type infections typically generate messages with different file names (for example, "_readme.txt", "READ-ME.txt", "DECRYPTION_INSTRUCTIONS.txt", "DECRYPT_FILES.html", etc.). Therefore, using the name of a ransom message may seem like a good way to identify the infection. The problem is that most of these names are generic and some infections use the same names, even though the delivered messages are different and the infections themselves are unrelated. Therefore, using the message filename alone can be ineffective and even lead to permanent data loss (for example, by attempting to decrypt data using tools designed for different ransomware infections, users are likely to end up permanently damaging files and decryption will no longer be possible even with the correct tool).

Another way to identify a ransomware infection is to check the file extension, which is appended to each encrypted file. Ransomware infections are often named by the extensions they append (see files encrypted by Qewe ransomware below).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 2)

This method is only effective, however, when the appended extension is unique - many ransomware infections append a generic extension (for example, ".encrypted", ".enc", ".crypted", ".locked", etc.). In these cases, identifying ransomware by its appended extension becomes impossible.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to identify a ransomware infection is to use the ID Ransomware website. This service supports most existing ransomware infections. Victims simply upload a ransom message and/or one encrypted file (we advise you to upload both if possible).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 3)

The ransomware will be identified within seconds and you will be provided with various details, such as the name of the malware family to which the infection belongs, whether it is decryptable, and so on.

Example 1 (Qewe [Stop/Djvu] ransomware):

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 4)

Example 2 (.iso [Phobos] ransomware):

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 5)

If your data happens to be encrypted by a ransomware that is not supported by ID Ransomware, you can always try searching the internet by using certain keywords (for example, ransom message title, file extension, provided contact emails, cryptowallet addresses, etc.).

Search for ransomware decryption tools:

Encryption algorithms used by most ransomware-type infections are extremely sophisticated and, if the encryption is performed properly, only the developer is capable of restoring data. This is because decryption requires a specific key, which is generated during the encryption. Restoring data without the key is impossible. In most cases, cyber criminals store keys on a remote server, rather than using the infected machine as a host. Dharma (CrySis), Phobos, and other families of high-end ransomware infections are virtually flawless, and thus restoring data encrypted without the developers' involvement is simply impossible. Despite this, there are dozens of ransomware-type infections that are poorly developed and contain a number of flaws (for example, the use of identical encryption/decryption keys for each victim, keys stored locally, etc.). Therefore, always check for available decryption tools for any ransomware that infiltrates your computer.

Finding the correct decryption tool on the internet can be very frustrating. For this reason, we recommend that you use the No More Ransom Project and this is where identifying the ransomware infection is useful. The No More Ransom Project website contains a "Decryption Tools" section with a search bar. Enter the name of the identified ransomware, and all available decryptors (if there are any) will be listed.

Searching for ransomware decryption tools in nomoreransom.org website

Restore files with data recovery tools:

Depending on the situation (quality of ransomware infection, type of encryption algorithm used, etc.), restoring data with certain third-party tools might be possible. Therefore, we advise you to use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro. This tool supports over a thousand data types (graphics, video, audio, documents, etc.) and it is very intuitive (little knowledge is necessary to recover data).

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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Trial version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is capable of scanning drives and listing recoverable files - to restore them, you must purchase a license.

Step 1: Perform a scan.

Hover your mouse over the partition you wish to scan and select "Scan". You can also select a specific folder, or click shortcut icons to scan the Desktop or Recycle Bin: Scanning the storage drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard PRO (step 1)

Wait for EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro to complete the scan. The scanning duration depends on the volume of files (both in quantity and size) that you are scanning (for example, several hundreds gigabytes could take over an hour to scan). Therefore, be patient during the scanning process. We also advise against modifying or deleting existing files, since this might interfere with the scan. If you add additional data (for example, downloading files/content) while scanning, this will prolong the process: Scanning the storage drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard PRO (step 2)

Step 2: Recover data.

Once the process is complete, select the folders/files you wish to restore and simply click "Recover". Note that some free space on your storage drive is necessary to restore data. Note also that the trial version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is only capable of scanning drives and listing recoverable files - to restore them, you must purchase a license: Recovering data with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

Step 3: Save the scan session (optional).

We recommend that you save the scanning session once you have completed recovery, in case you decide to recover additional files later. Simply click the "Save Scan Session" icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and choose the location for the file to be saved. This will save a lot of time, since you will not need to re-scan the storage drive the next time you wish to restore something. Bear in mind, however, that data removed after the scanning session has finished will not be listed: Saving scan session in EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

Create data backups:

Proper file management and creating backups is essential for data security. Therefore, always be very careful and think ahead.

Partition management: We recommend that you store your data in multiple partitions and avoid storing important files within the partition that contains the entire operating system. If you fall into a situation whereby you cannot boot the system and are forced to format the disk on which the operating system is installed (in most cases, this is where malware infections hide), you will lose all data stored within that drive. This is the advantage of having multiple partitions: if you have the entire storage device assigned to a single partition, you will be forced to delete everything, however, creating multiple partitions and allocating the data properly allows you to prevent such problems. You can easily format a single partition without affecting the others - therefore, one will be cleaned and the others will remain untouched, and your data will be saved. Managing partitions is quite simple and you can find all necessary information on Microsoft's documentation web page.

Data backups: The most reliable backup method is to use an external storage device and keep it unplugged. Copy your data to an external hard drive, flash (thumb) drive, SSD, HDD, or any other storage device, unplug it and store it in a dry place away from sun and extreme temperatures. This method is, however, quite inefficient, since data backups and updates need to be made regularly. You can also use a cloud service or remote server. Here, an internet connection is required and there is always the chance of a security breach. Therefore, you should consider using an application to create data backups locally.

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EaseUS Todo Backup

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We recommend using the EaseUS Todo Backup application. The "Home" edition of EaseUS Todo Backup is usually more than adequate for regular users, however, the "Business" edition is more suitable for companies and large computer networks. The EaseUS Todo Backup application provides extensive data protection features. You can easily create backups, and encrypt and compress them for enhanced protection and storage saving purposes. It also allows you to set backup schedules, create bootable devices, and restore the system if a crash occurs. You can easily choose where to store the created backup: locally; uploaded to an external drive; FTP; cloud storage, or elsewhere. In summary, EaseUS Todo Backup is an all-in-one tool, which provides all features required to properly backup your data.

Creating a data backup:

The backup process is virtually identical regardless of the item (file, partition, entire system) you wish to backup. Taking the File Backup feature as an example:

Step 1: Choose which item to backup.

Click on the "Menu" icon in the upper-left corner of the screen to reveal the menu and select "File Backup": Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 1)

Select the files you want to backup. You can also enter a name and description of the backup that will be created: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 2)

Step 2: Change the default settings.

The EaseUS Todo Backup application provides a variety of additional options that can be added/modified while creating the backup. For example, you can encrypt data (add a password), select the compression rate (how much the backup should be compressed), performance (how many system resources should be allocated), add an email notification (you receive an email once the process is complete) and so on.

To open the options window, click the "Backup options" button in the lower-left corner of the screen: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 3)

Select the settings you want to change and click "Save". You can also reset your changes by clicking "Reset to initial settings": Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 4)

Step 3: Select the backup destination.

As mentioned above, EaseUS Todo Backup allows you to choose where backups are saved - locally or externally.

Click the "Browse..." button and select the location you want the backup to be saved: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 5)

Step 4: Safety measures and process completion.

Depending on the location you have chosen, there are a number of measures you should or should not take. If you are uploading to an internet-connected location (for example, Cloud storage, FTP, etc.), be sure to maintain your internet connection, otherwise you will have to start again. The same applies to external storage devices - do not unplug them until the process is complete.

The progress bar displays estimated time remaining until completion. Large backups (hundreds of gigabytes) can take hours to create (depending on storage device speed, internet connection, etc.). Therefore, the application also allows you to optionally choose what the system should do (shut down, sleep or hibernate) once the process has finished: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 6)

The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups.

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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