JJLF ransomware removal instructions
What is JJLF?
JJLF belongs to the Matrix ransomware family. It encrypts files and replaces their filenames that contain the JamesGouldiHip@yahoo.com email address, a string or random characters and the ".JJLF" extension. For instance, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "[JamesGouldiHip@yahoo.com].1dot11Ov-VDHRLLyL.JJLF", "2.jpg" to "[JamesGouldiHip@yahoo.com].4gup230y-CFJEPOtN.JJLF", and so on. Also, JJLF creates a ransom note (the "#README_JJLF#.rtf" file) in all folders that contain encrypted files.
As written in the ransom note, this ransomware encrypts files with AES-256 and RSA-2048 encryption algorithms, a unique decryption key is stored on a remote server that is controlled by developers of JJLF. As a proof that ransomware developers have that key they offer victims to send up to 5 encrypted files to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org for a free decryption. It is mentioned that those emails should include the ID that is assigned to each victim individually. Moreover, it is stated that victims should contact ransomware developers within 72 hours after attack, otherwise their files will be published on darknet.
Unfortunately, there is no way to decrypt files without a decryption key that can be provided only by developers of the JJLF ransomware. In other words, there are no third party tools that can decrypt files that are encrypted by it. Another issue is that paying a ransom to cyber criminals behind ransomware attacks does not guarantee that they will send a decryption key and/or software. Typically, the only way to recover files without paying money and risking getting scammed is to restore them from a backup. It is worthwhile that victims also can prevent unencrypted files from being encrypted by uninstalling ransomware from the operating system. Although, files that are encrypted remain inaccessible even after its uninstallation.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Other ransomware examples are 14x, Coos and Rubly. To summarize, malware of this type prevents victims from accessing their data by encrypting them and generates a ransom note with instructions on how to contact ransomware developers (and/or pay them a ransom). Typically, two main variables are the amount of cryptocurrency that victims are instructed to pay and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses for data encryption. Free data decryption is possible only when ransomware has bugs, flaws, or other vulnerabilities, however, it is not a common case. Therefore, it is recommended to always have files backed up on a remote server and/or unplugged storage device like Cloud.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
Trojan is a type of malware that can be designed to cause chain infections. Once a certain Trojan is installed on user's computer, it installs some other malware. Examples of untrustworthy software download sources are Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), freeware download or free file hosting websites, third party downloaders. It is common for them to be used to distribute malware via malicious files by disguising them as regular, legitimate. Computers get infected when their users download and open those files. Fake software updating tools, if used, infect systems by installing malicious programs instead of updates for the installed ones, or by exploiting bugs, flaws of installed programs that are out of date.
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.JJLF|
|Ransom Demanding Message||#README_JJLF#.rtf|
|Cyber Criminal Contactemail@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Generic.Ransom.Matrix.C6077F09), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.LockedFile.I), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Agent.gen), Microsoft (Ransom:Win32/Gansom.AB!MSR), 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.|
|Additional Information||Victims are warned that their files will be published on darknet if a ransom will not be paid within 72 hours after attack|
|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?
Attachments/files, website links in received irrelevant emails that sent from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened. It is common that such emails are disguised as important letters from legitimate companies and files in them are used to deliver malware. Software should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. It is not safe to use other sources (examples are mentioned in the above paragraph). The same applies to third party installers. Already installed programs (and operating system) should never be updated or activated with unofficial tools. It has to be done by using tools and/or implemented functions that are provided by their official software developers. Besides, it is not legal to use unofficial tools for activation of licensed programs, or use pirated programs. Additionally, it is advised to have a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software installed on a computer and use it to scan the system for threats regularly. If your computer is already infected with JJLF, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text in the "#README_JJLF#.rtf" file:
Аll yоur vаluаblе dаtа hаs bееn еnсryptеd!
Sоrry, but wе hаvе tо infоrm yоu thаt duе tо sесurity issuеs, yоur sеrvеr wаs hасkеd. Plеаsе bе surе thаt yоur dаtа is nоt brоkеn. All yоur vаluаblе filеs wеrе еnсryptеd with strоng сryptо аlgоrithms AES-256+RSA-2048 аnd rеnаmеd. Yоu саn rеаd аbоut thеsе аlgоrithms in Gооglе. Yоur uniquе dесryptiоn kеy is sесurеly stоrеd оn оur sеrvеr аnd yоur dаtа саn bе dесryptеd fаst аnd sаfеly.
Wе саn prоvе thаt wе саn dесrypt аll yоur dаtа. Plеаsе just sеnd us 3-5 smаll еnсryptеd filеs whiсh аrе rаndоmly stоrеd оn yоur sеrvеr. Wе will dесrypt thеsе filеs аnd sеnd thеm tо yоu аs prооf. Plеаsе nоtе thаt filеs fоr frее tеst dесryptiоn shоuld nоt соntаin vаluаblе infоrmаtiоn.
As yоu knоw infоrmаtiоn is thе mоst vаluаblе rеsоurсе in thе wоrld. Thаt's why аll yоur соnfidеntiаl dаtа wаs uplоаdеd tо оur sеrvеrs. If yоu nееd prооf, just writе us аnd wе will shоw yоu thаt wе hаvе yоur filеs. If yоu will nоt stаrt а diаlоguе with us in 72 hоurs wе will bе fоrсеd tо publish yоur filеs in thе Dаrknеt. Yоur сustоmеrs аnd pаrtnеrs will bе infоrmеd аbоut thе dаtа lеаk by еmаil оr phоnе. This wаy, yоur rеputаtiоn will bе ruinеd. If yоu will nоt rеасt, wе will bе fоrсеd tо sеll thе mоst impоrtаnt infоrmаtiоn suсh аs dаtаbаsеs tо intеrеstеd pаrtiеs tо gеnеrаtе sоmе prоfit.
Plеаsе undеrstаnd thаt wе аrе just dоing оur jоb. Wе dоn't wаnt tо hаrm yоur соmpаny. Think оf this inсidеnt аs аn оppоrtunity tо imprоvе yоur sесurity. Wе аrе оpеnеd fоr diаlоguе аnd rеаdy tо hеlp yоu. Wе аrе prоfеssiоnаls, plеаsе dоn't try tо fооl us.
If yоu wаnt tо rеsоlvе this situаtiоn, plеаsе writе tо ALL оf thеsе 3 еmаil аdrеssеs:
In subjеct linе please writе уоur ID: -
* Wе аsking tо sеnd уоur mеssаgе tо АLL оf оur 3 еmаil аdrеssеs bесаusе fоr vаriоus rеаsоns, уоur еmаil mау nоt bе dеlivеrеd.
* Оur mеssаgе mау bе rесоgnizеd аs spаm, sо bе surе tо сhесk thе spаm fоldеr.
* If wе dо nоt rеspоnd tо уоu within 24 hоurs, writе tо us frоm аnоthеr еmаil аddrеss. Usе Gmаil, уаhоо, Hоtmаil, оr аnу оthеr wеll-knоwn еmаil sеrviсе.
* Plеаsе dоn't wаstе thе timе, it will rеsult оnlу аdditinаl dаmаgе tо уоur соmpаnу!
* Plеаsе dо nоt try tо dеcrypt thе filеs yоursеlf. Wе will nоt bе аble tо hеlp yоu if filеs will bе mоdifiеd.
Screenshot of files encrypted by JJLF (".jjlf" extension):
JJLF 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 JJFL virus?
- STEP 1. Isolating the infected device.
- STEP 2. Identifying the ransomware infection.
- STEP 3. Searching for ransomware decryption tools.
- STEP 4. Restoring files with data recovery tools.
- STEP 5. Creating data backups.
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:
Click the "Change adapter settings" option in the upper-left corner of the window:
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".
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":
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).
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).
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).
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):
Example 2 (.iso [Phobos] ransomware):
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.
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).
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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":
Select the files you want to backup. You can also enter a name and description of the backup that will be created:
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:
Select the settings you want to change and click "Save". You can also reset your changes by clicking "Reset to initial settings":
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:
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:
The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups.