JAPAN Ransomware (.JAPAN File) — OH NO. YOU ARE HACKED!

Written by Brendan Smith
The Japan virus belongs with the ransomware type of infection. Malware of such sort encrypts all the data on your PC (images, documents, excel sheets, music, videos, etc) and adds its specific extension to every file.
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What is known about the Japanvirus?

☝️ A strictly accurate denomination for the Japan is “a ransomware infection”.

Japan will append its specific .japan extension to every file’s title. For instance, an image entitled “photo.jpg” will be changed to “photo.jpg.japan”. Likewise, the Excel sheet named “table.xlsx” will be changed to “table.xlsx.japan”, and so on.

The ransom note most probably contains a description of how to buy the decryption tool from the racketeers. You can obtain this decoding tool after contacting anonymous.pdf@protonmail.com, anonymous.pdf@proton.me by email. That is it.

Japan summary:
NameJapan Virus
Extension.japan
Ransom0.05 BTC
Contactanonymous.pdf@protonmail.com, anonymous.pdf@proton.me
Detection1TrojanSpy:Win32/Ursnif!K, Ransom:Win32/StopCrypt.PMB!MTB, FileRepMalware [Wrm]
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) get a .japan extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Japan virus

The note accompanying the Japan ransomware provides the following dispiriting information:

OH NO. YOU ARE HACKED!


ALL YOUR PERSONAL FILES HAVE BEEN ENCRYPTED.
IF YOU WANT RESTORE YOUR DATA, YOU HAVE TO PAY!


Contact us: :anonymous.pdf@protonmail.com
anonymous.pdf@proton.me


BTC Address: 344BLDIUQMBQH58YZNUTBR3ZYNVGNJJET1
Amount: 0.05BTC

In the screenshot below, you can see what a directory with files encrypted by the Japan looks like. Each filename has the “.japan” extension added to it.

Japan Virus - encrypted .japan files

An example of encrypted .japan files.

How did Japan ransomware end up on my PC?

There is a huge number of possible ways of ransomware infiltration.

Nowadays, there are three most exploited methods for malefactors to have ransomware planted in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer file transfer.

If you access your inbox and see emails that look like familiar notifications from utility services providers, delivery agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose mailer is unknown to you, be wary of opening those letters. They are very likely to have a harmful file attached to them. So it is even riskier to download any attachments that come with letters like these.

Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan virus model2. A Trojan is a program that gets into your machine pretending to be something different. For example, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some software. But what is unpacked turns out to be a harmful agent that corrupts your data. Since the update file can have any title and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the resource of the things you’re downloading. The best thing is to trust the software companies’ official websites.

As for the peer file transfer protocols like torrent trackers or eMule, the danger is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Web. You can never guess what you download until you get it. Our suggestion is that you use trustworthy websites. Also, it is a good idea to scan the folder containing the downloaded objects with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is done.

How to remove the Japan virus?

It is crucial to inform you that besides encrypting your files, the Japan virus will most likely deploy the Azorult Spyware on your PC to get access to credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned spyware3 can derive your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Often racketeers would decode some of your files to prove that they do have the decryption program. As Japan virus is a relatively recent ransomware, anti-malware designers have not yet found a method to undo its work. Nevertheless, the decoding instruments are constantly upgraded, so the solution may soon be available.

Of course, if the hackers succeed in encrypting someone’s critical data, the hopeless person will most likely comply with their demands. Nevertheless, paying to racketeers does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your files back. It is still risky. After getting the ransom, the racketeers may send a wrong decryption code to the victim. There were reports about malefactors simply disappearing after getting the ransom without even bothering to reply.

The best countermeasure to ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud disk or at least on an external disk. Of course, that might be insufficient. The most crucial thing could be that one you were working upon when it all happened. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also advisable to scan your PC for viruses with the anti-malware utility after the OS is rolled back.

There are other ransomware products, besides Japan, that work similarly. Examples of those are Jhdd, Hhjk, Xcvf, and some others. The two major differences between them and the Japan are the ransom amount and the method of encryption. The rest is almost identical: files become blocked, their extensions altered, ransom notes appear in each directory containing encrypted files.

Some fortunate people were able to decrypt the arrested files with the aid of the free tools provided by anti-malware developers. Sometimes the racketeers accidentally send the decoding code to the wronged in the ransom readme. Such an epic fail allows the user to restore the files. But naturally, one should never expect such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a tamperers’ instrument to pull the money out of their victims.

How to avert ransomware infiltration?

Japan ransomware has no superpower, neither does any similar malware.

You can armour your PC from ransomware injection within three easy steps:

  • Never open any letters from unknown mailboxes with strange addresses, or with content that has likely no connection to something you are waiting for (can you win in a money prize draw without participating in it?). In case the email subject is more or less something you are waiting for, check all elements of the suspicious letter carefully. A fake email will surely have mistakes.
  • Never use cracked or unknown software. Trojans are often spreaded as an element of cracked products, most likely under the guise of “patch” preventing the license check. But untrusted programs are difficult to distinguish from reliable software, as trojans may also have the functionality you seek. You can try searching for information on this software product on the anti-malware forums, but the best solution is not to use such programs at all.
  • And finally, to be sure about the safety of the files you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software will be a powerful shield for your PC.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft4

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft5.

Download Removal Tool.

You can download GridinSoft Anti-Malware by clicking the button below:

Run the setup file.

When setup file has finished downloading, double-click on the setup-antimalware-fix.exe file to install GridinSoft Anti-Malware on your system.

Run Setup.exe

An User Account Control asking you about to allow GridinSoft Anti-Malware to make changes to your device. So, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Setup

Press “Install” button.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Install

Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Splash-Screen

Wait for the Anti-Malware scan to complete.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your PC for Japan infections and other malicious programs. This process can take a 20-30 minutes, so I suggest you periodically check on the status of the scan process.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scanning

Click on “Clean Now”.

When the scan has finished, you will see the list of infections that GridinSoft Anti-Malware has detected. To remove them click on the “Clean Now” button in right corner.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

FAQ

🤔 How can I open “.japan” files?Is it possible to open“.japan” files?

Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.japan” files first. Then you will be able to open them.

🤔 I really need to decrypt those “.japan” files ASAP. How can I do that?

Hopefully, you have made a copy of those important files. In case you haven’t, there is still a chance that you do have a Restore Point from some time ago to roll back the whole system to the moment when it had no virus yet, but already had your files. All other solutions require time.

🤔 If GridinSoft deletes the Japan malware, will it also delete my files that were encrypted?

Of course not. Your encrypted files are no threat to your PC.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware only deals with real threats. The ransomware that has infected your computer is most likely still active and launching checks every so often to encrypt any new files you might create on your PC after the initial attack. As it has already been said, the Japan ransomware does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide malefactors with easy access to your computer after some time.

🤔 What should I do if the Japan virus has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation code.

If that happened, you need to have a memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the cleaning. You see, the ransomware runs automatically as the system launches and encodes any new files created or imported into your system. To stop this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential applications to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What could help the situation right now?

Some of the blocked data can be found elsewhere.

  • If you sent or received your important files by email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
  • You might have shared photographs or videos with your friends or relatives. Just ask them to give those pictures back to you.
  • If you have initially got any of your files from the Web, you can try doing it again.
  • Your messengers, social networks pages, and cloud storage might have all those files as well.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old computer, a notebook, mobile, memory stick, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can employ file recovery programs6 to get your lost data back since ransomware blocks the copies of your files, deleting the original ones. In the video below, you can learn how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but remember: you can do it only after you kill the virus with an anti-malware program.

Also, you can contact the following governmental fraud and scam sites to report this attack:

To report the attack, you can contact local executive boards. For instance, if you live in USA, you can have a talk with FBI Local field office, IC3 or Secret Service.

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Brendan Smith
How to Remove JAPAN Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: JAPAN Virus

Description: JAPAN Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .japan extension. So, you can't use them at all.

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. Encyclopedia of threats.
  2. You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
  3. You can read more on spyware variants and nature in the respective section of GridinSoft official website.
  4. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  5. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
  6. Here’s the list of the top 10 file recovery tools of 2021.

About the author

Brendan Smith

Journalist, researcher, web content developer, grant proposal editor. Efficient and proficient on multiple platforms and in diverse media. Computer technology and security are my specialties.

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