The Hgml virus, also known as a ransomware, belongs to the STOP family. This malware family is famous for file encryption and extortion. When the Hgml virus gets into a system, it targets various types of files, such as videos, photos, documents, and more. It modifies the file structure and adds the “.hgml” extension to each encrypted file, making them inaccessible and unusable without the decryptor.
Hgml Virus Overview
🤔 Hgml malware belongs to ransomware that originates from the DJVU/STOP family. Its main target is to lock files that are important to you. After that ransomware virus asks to pay the ransom – ($490 – $980) in Bitcoin.
The Hgml virus is a malicious program that encrypts your files and makes you pay for their decryption. This malware ciphers a wide selection of file types. ciphered files are identifiable by a distinct “.hgml” extension. The affected files become inaccessible and unusable.
Subsequently, the ransomware asks for a file decryption payment in Bitcoin from its victims, that ranges from $490 to $980, depending on the time passed after the attack. Usually, a text file with ransom payment guidances is named as “_readme.txt“.
Hgml Ransomware works with Salsa20 encryption algorithms to cipher the targeted files. Since Hgml virus uses such a robust ciphering method, it becomes quite hard, if even possible, to pick the decryption key without the assistance of the attackers.
Once Hgml malware finishes the encryption, it shows a ransom note to the user, asking for a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. The ransom note provides instructions on the ways of making the payment and also often includes threats of system wipeout or ransom amounts surge if the ransom is not paid within a specified timeframe.
I have compiled a comprehensive list of potential solutions, tips, and methods to remove the Hgml ransomware and recover access to your files. There are situations where it may be feasible to restore your files, while sometimes, it may be impossible.
📌 Important Note!
It is crucial to voice that paying off the ransom does not guarantee the successful files recovery. The cybercriminals who stand behind the Hgml virus are known for their untrustworthiness. There have been instances where victims have paid the ransom, only to be denied by the cybercriminals with the decryption key provision.
Hgml uses a unique key for every victim, with one exception:
- If Hgml fails to connect the command and control server (C2) before starting the encryption process, it it uses offline keys as a fallback option. An offline key is the same for all users, allowing for the decryption of files encrypted by the ransomware.
The Hgml virus bears resemblance to other DJVU ransomware variants such as Rzew, Rzfu, Rzml, and Rzkd. This virus encrypts a wide range of common file types and appends its distinct “.hgml” extension to all files. For instance, a file named “1.jpg” would be altered to “1.jpg.hgml” and “2.png” to “2.png.hgml“.
Upon successful encryption, the virus creates a special text file named “_readme.txt” and places it in every folder containing the encrypted files. It as well adds the readme file to the desktop, so the victim will not miss the attack even without opening folders.
The image below provides a visual representation of files with the “hgml” extension:
|Ransomware family1||DJVU/STOP2 ransomware|
|Ransom||From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)|
|Contact||[email protected], [email protected]|
|Detection||Ransom:MSIL/PenTera.F!MSR Virus Removal, Win32/Injector.CNJW Virus Removal, Win32/Patched.IP Virus Removal|
To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:
6-day free trial available.
This message asking payment is for restore files via decryption key:
Hgml ransomware performs a set of procedures to execute various tasks on a victim’s computer. It initiates the first process by launching winupdate.exe, a deceptive program that displays a fake Windows update prompt during the attack. This deception aims to convince the victim that their PC has slowed down due to a Windows update.
Simultaneously, the ransomware initiates another process (typically named with four random characters) responsible for scanning the disk for target files and encrypting them. Afterward, the ransomware eliminates Volume Shadow Copies from the disk using the following CMD command:
vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet
Once deleted, it becomes virtually impossible to restore the previous computer state using System Restore Points. Ransomware operators eliminate any built-in Windows features that could aid victims in recovering their files for free. Additionally, they modify the Windows HOSTS file by appending a list of domains and redirecting them to the localhost IP. Consequently, when attempting to access blocked websites, the victim encounters a DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.
The ransomware attempts to restrict access to websites that provide various how-to guides for computer users. This action indicates that the malicious actors are trying to prevent victims from accessing relevant and helpful information about ransomware attacks online. Furthermore, the virus saves two .txt files on the victim’s computer containing attack-related details – the public key of this victim and personal ID. These two files are named bowsakkdestx.txt and PersonalID.txt.
After all these modifications, the malware doesn’t stop. Variants of STOP/DJVU are inclined to deploy Vidar password-stealing Trojan on compromised systems. This threat possesses an extensive list of capabilities, including:
- Infiltrating the victim’s computer with malware and executing it to gain unauthorized access.
- Obtaining unauthorized access to login credentials of Steam, Telegram, and Skype.
- Manipulating and viewing files on the victim’s computer without their knowledge.
- Stealing cryptocurrency wallets from the victim’s system.
- Granting the hackers remote control over the victim’s computer for various malicious activities.
- Extracting sensitive information such as browser cookies, saved passwords, and browsing history.
The encryption algorithm used by DJVU/STOP virus is AES-256. So, once your data is encrypted with an online decryption key, the chances to get your files back are quite low. Thing is, this key is unique for each victim, and picking it will take exceptionally big amount of time.
Retrieving the online decryption key in another way is also nearly impossible. It is stored on a remote server owned by the criminals who promote the Hgml malware. For receiving decryption key the payment should be $980. To get the payment details, the victims should contact the hackers by email ([email protected]).
The message by the ransomware states the following information:
ATTENTION! Don't worry, you can return all your files! All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key. The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you. This software will decrypt all your encrypted files. What guarantees you have? You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free. But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information. You can get and look video overview decrypt tool: https://we.tl/t-WJa63R98Ku Price of private key and decrypt software is $980. Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490. Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment. Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours. To get this software you need write on our e-mail: [email protected] Reserve e-mail address to contact us: [email protected] Your personal ID: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Do not pay the ransom!
Please, try to use the available backups, or Decrypter tool
The _readme.txt document also demands that the system owners should contact the hackers during 72 hours since the file encryption. If the 72hrs demand is met, hackers grant a 50% off. This decreases the ransom sum down to $490.
Yet, stay away from paying off the ransom! I highly recommend that you do not contact these frauds and do not pay. A highly effective solution to retrieve the lost data is just using the available backups, or using Decrypter tool from Emsisoft.
The distinctiveness of such viruses is the employment a similar set of actions to generate the unique decryption key. Thus, unless the ransomware is still in development or exhibits some hard-to-track encryption, manual data recovery is a thing you can’t perform. The only solution to prevent the data loss is to regularly make backups of your critical files.
Note that even if you do preserve such backups regularly, they must be stored into a specific location without loitering, not being connected to your main workstation. For instance, the backup may be kept on the USB flash drive or some substitute external hard drive storage. Alternatively, you may turn to the help of online (cloud) information storage.
It goes without saying, when you maintain your backup data on your regular device, it may be ciphered together with other data. For this reason, storing the backup on your disk is surely not a wise idea.
How I was infected?
Ransomware has a various methods to built into your system. But it doesn’t really matter what way had place in your case.
Ransomware attack following a successful phishing attempt.
However, cybercriminals commonly inject the Hgml ransomware into your PC through these means:
- Utilizing online free hosting resources to discreetly distribute the virus.
- Disguising the virus installer within other applications, particularly utilities offered as freeware or shareware.
- Spreading it via spam emails containing dubious links leading to virus installation.
- Downloading pirated software from illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) sources, which may include hidden malware.
Some incidents have occurred where the Hgml virus masquerades as a legitimate process, such as messages prompting you to initiate a browser update or urgently required codec for online media playback. This is typically how certain online scams aim to trick you into manually installing the ransomware, making you unwittingly participate in the process.
Importantly, the fake update alert will not explicitly indicate that you are installing a threat. The installation will be concealed under an alert stating that you must install an urgent security update or some questionable program.
Certainly, cracked applications also pose a threat. Using P2P sources is both illegal and may result in the injection of severe malware, including the Hgml ransomware.
To sum it up, what can you do to prevent ransomware from infiltrating your computer? While there is no 100% guarantee against PC damage, here are some tips to help you avoid Hgml ransomware:
- Exercise caution when installing free software.
- Always read what the installer offers apart from the main free program.
- Avoid opening suspicious email attachments.
- Do not run files from unknown senders.
- Ensure your current anti-malware program is always up-to-date.
The malware operates discreetly. It does not openly reveal itself in the list of your available programs. Instead, it remains hidden as a malicious process running in the background, starting when you boot up your computer.
How To Remove Ransomware?
Remove Hgml Virus with Gridinsoft Anti-Malware
We have also been using this software on our systems ever since, and it has always been successful in detecting viruses. It has blocked the most common Ransomware as shown from our tests with the software, and we assure you that it can remove Hgml Virus as well as other malware hiding on your computer.
To use Gridinsoft for remove malicious threats, follow the steps below:
1. Begin by downloading Gridinsoft Anti-Malware, accessible via the blue button below or directly from the official website gridinsoft.com.
2.Once the Gridinsoft setup file (setup-gridinsoft-fix.exe) is downloaded, execute it by clicking on the file.
3.Follow the installation setup wizard's instructions diligently.
4. Access the "Scan Tab" on the application's start screen and launch a comprehensive "Full Scan" to examine your entire computer. This inclusive scan encompasses the memory, startup items, the registry, services, drivers, and all files, ensuring that it detects malware hidden in all possible locations.
Be patient, as the scan duration depends on the number of files and your computer's hardware capabilities. Use this time to relax or attend to other tasks.
5. Upon completion, Anti-Malware will present a detailed report containing all the detected malicious items and threats on your PC.
6. Select all the identified items from the report and confidently click the "Clean Now" button. This action will safely remove the malicious files from your computer, transferring them to the secure quarantine zone of the anti-malware program to prevent any further harmful actions.
8. If prompted, restart your computer to finalize the full system scan procedure. This step is crucial to ensure thorough removal of any remaining threats. After the restart, Gridinsoft Anti-Malware will open and display a message confirming the completion of the scan.
Remember Gridinsoft offers a 6-day free trial. This means you can take advantage of the trial period at no cost to experience the full benefits of the software and prevent any future malware infections on your system. Embrace this opportunity to fortify your computer's security without any financial commitment.
Trojan Killer for “Hgml Virus” removal on locked PC
In situations where it becomes impossible to download antivirus applications directly onto the infected computer due to malware blocking access to websites, an alternative solution is to utilize the Trojan Killer application.
There is a really little number of security tools that are able to be set up on the USB drives, and antiviruses that can do so in most cases require to obtain quite an expensive license. For this instance, I can recommend you to use another solution of GridinSoft - Trojan Killer Portable. It has a 14-days cost-free trial mode that offers the entire features of the paid version. This term will definitely be 100% enough to wipe malware out.
Trojan Killer is a valuable tool in your cybersecurity arsenal, helping you to effectively remove malware from infected computers. Now, we will walk you through the process of using Trojan Killer from a USB flash drive to scan and remove malware on an infected PC. Remember, always obtain permission to scan and remove malware from a computer that you do not own.
Step 1: Download & Install Trojan Killer on a Clean Computer:
1. Go to the official GridinSoft website (gridinsoft.com) and download Trojan Killer to a computer that is not infected.
2. Insert a USB flash drive into this computer.
3. Install Trojan Killer to the "removable drive" following the on-screen instructions.
4. Once the installation is complete, launch Trojan Killer.
Step 2: Update Signature Databases:
5. After launching Trojan Killer, ensure that your computer is connected to the Internet.
6. Click "Update" icon to download the latest signature databases, which will ensure the tool can detect the most recent threats.
Step 3: Scan the Infected PC:
7. Safely eject the USB flash drive from the clean computer.
8. Boot the infected computer to the Safe Mode.
9. Insert the USB flash drive.
10. Run tk.exe
11. Once the program is open, click on "Full Scan" to begin the malware scanning process.
Step 4: Remove Found Threats:
12. After the scan is complete, Trojan Killer will display a list of detected threats.
13. Click on "Cure PC!" to remove the identified malware from the infected PC.
14. Follow any additional on-screen prompts to complete the removal process.
Step 5: Restart Your Computer:
15. Once the threats are removed, click on "Restart PC" to reboot your computer.
16. Remove the USB flash drive from the infected computer.
Congratulations on effectively removing Hgml Virus and the concealed threats from your computer! You can now have peace of mind, knowing that they won't resurface again. Thanks to Gridinsoft's capabilities and commitment to cybersecurity, your system is now protected.
How To Decrypt .hgml Files?
How to restore big files?
Try removing .hgml extension on a few big files and opening them. This malware has issues with large files encryption. Either the virus scanned and did not encrypt the file, or it failed and did not add the filemarker. If your files are very large (2GB+), the latter is most likely. Please, text me in the comments whether this helped you or not.
As a outcome of the modifications made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer backed. It has been replaced with the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu Ransomware developed by Emsisoft.
You can download free decryption tool here: Decryptor for STOP Djvu.
Download and run decryption tool.
Start downloading the decryption tool.
Make sure to launch the decryption utility as an administrator. You need to agree with the license terms that will come up. For this purpose, click on the “Yes” button:
As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:
Select folders for decryption.
Based on the default configurations, the decryptor will by default choose the reachable directories in order to decrypt the currently accessible drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. Additional (optional) locations can be selected with the help of the “Add” button.
Decryptors generally offer several options depending on the specific malware family. The existing possible options are presented in the Options tab and can be turned on or deactivated there. You may locate a comprehensive list of the currently active Options below.
Click on the “Decrypt” button.
As soon as you add all the desired locations for decryption into the list, click on the “Decrypt” button in order to initiate the decryption procedure.
Note that the main screen may turn you to a status view, letting you know of the active process and the decryption statistics of your data:
The decryptor will notify you as soon as the decryption procedure is completed. If you need the report for your personal papers, you can save it by choosing the “Save log” button. Note that it is also possible to copy it directly to your clipboard and to paste it into emails or messages here if you need to do so.
The Emsisoft Decryptor might display different messages after a failed attempt to restore your files:
✓ Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [your ID]
✓ No key for New Variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
✓ Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
It can take a few weeks or months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. Please follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here.
✓ Remote name could not be resolved
How to Restore .hgml Files?
In some case ransomware is not doom for your files…
The Hgml ransomware encryption mechanism sequence is next: it encodes every file byte-by-byte, then saves a duplicate, removing (not overriding!) the initial file. Hence, the data of the file placement on the physical disk is lost, but the original file is not removed from the physical disk. The cell, or the sector where this file was stored, can still contain this file, but it is absent in the file system and can be rewritten by data that has been loaded to this disk after the deletion. Hence, it is possible to restore your files using special software.
Anyway, after realizing it was an online algorithm, it is impossible to retrieve my encrypted files. I also had my backup drive plugged in at the time of the virus, and this was also infected, or so I thought. Every folder within my backup drive had been infected and was encrypted. However, despite losing some important files, I retrieved almost 80% of my 2TB storage.
When I started going through the folders, I noticed the readme.txt ransom note in every folder. I opened some of the folders and found that all files that were not in a subfolder within that folder had been encrypted. However, I found a flaw and glimmer of hope when I went into the subfolders in other folders and found that these files had not been encrypted. Every folder within my c and d drives, including subfolders, had been encrypted, but this was not the case with the backup drive. Having subfolders created within a folder has saved 80% of my data.
As I said, I believe this to be only a small loophole on a backup drive. I’ve since found a further 10 % of my data on another hard drive on a different pc. So my advice is if you use a backup drive, create subfolders. I was lucky, I guess. But I was also unlucky that the virus hit as I was transferring some files from my backup.
Hopefully, this can help some other people in my situation.Jamie Newland
Recovering your files with PhotoRec
PhotoRec is an free program, which is initially created for files recovery from damaged disks, or for file retrieval in case if they are unintentionally deleted. However, as time has gone by, this program got the ability to restore the files of 400 different extensions. Hence, it can be used for data recovery after the Hgml attack.
First, you need to download this app. It is 100% free, but the developer notifies that there is no assurance that your files will be restored. PhotoRec is distributed together with another tool of the same developer – TestDisk. The resulting archive will bear TestDisk name, but don’t worry. PhotoRec files are right inside.
To launch PhotoRec, find and open “qphotorec_win.exe” file. No installation is required – this program has all the files it need within the archive, hence, you can mount it on your USB drive, and help your friends/parents/anyone who has been attacked by Hgml ransomware.
After the start, you will observe the screen showing you the entire list of your drives. However, this details are probably irrelevand, because the required menu is placed a bit higher. Click this menu, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.
After choosing the disk, you need to pick the destination folder for the reclaimed files. This menu is located at the lower part of the PhotoRec window. The best option is to export them on USB drive or any other type of removable disk.
Then, you need to define the file formats. This setting is located at the bottom, too. As it was mentioned, PhotoRec can retrieve the files of about 400 different formats.
Finally, you can start files retrieval by pressing the “Search” button. You will view the screen where the findings of the scan and recovery are shown.
Hgml files recovery Video Guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
No way. These files are encrypted by ransomware. The contents of encrypted files are not available until they are decrypted.
If your data remained in the .hgml files are very valuable, then most likely you made a backup copy.
If not, then you can try to restore them through the system function – Restore Point.
All other methods will require patience.
Of course not. Your encrypted files do not pose a threat to the computer. What happened has already happened.
You need GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove active system infections. The virus that encrypted your files is most likely still active and periodically runs a test for the ability to encrypt even more files. Also, these viruses install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions (for example, theft of passwords, credit cards) often.
In this situation, you need to prepare the memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer.
Have patience. You are infected with the new version of STOP/DJVU ransomware, and decryption keys have not yet been released. Follow the news on our website.
We will keep you posted on when new keys or new decryption programs appear.
The Hgml ransomware encrypts only the first 150KB of files. So MP3 files are rather large, some media players (Winamp for example) may be able to play the files, but – the first 3-5 seconds (the encrypted portion) will be missing.
You can try to find a copy of an original file that was encrypted:
- Files you downloaded from the Internet that were encrypted and you can download again to get the original.
- Pictures that you shared with family and friends that they can just send back to you.
- Photos that you uploaded on social media or cloud services like Carbonite, OneDrive, iDrive, Google Drive, etc
- Attachments in emails you sent or received and saved.
- Files on an older computer, flash drive, external drive, camera memory card, or iPhone where you transferred data to the infected computer.
If the guide doesn’t help you to remove infection, please download the GridinSoft Anti-Malware that I recommended. Do not forget to share your experience in solving the problem. Please leave a comment here! This can help other victims to understand they are not alone. And together we will find ways to deal with this issue.
I need your help to share this article.
It is your turn to help other people. I have written this guide to help people like you. You can use buttons below to share this on your favorite social media Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.Brendan Smith
How To Restore & Decrypt .HGML Files?
Name: HGML Ransomware
Description: The HGML Virus belongs to the STOP/DJVU family of ransomware infections. This malicious software encrypts various file types, including videos, photos, and documents, which become identifiable by a distinct hgml extension. As a result, the affected files become inaccessible and unusable. Subsequently, the HGML ransomware demands a ransom payment in Bitcoin from its victims, ranging from $490 to $980.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
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