MASONS Ransomware 🔐 (.MASONS File) — Removal Guide

Written by Brendan Smith
The Masons virus belongs with the ransomware type of malicious agent. Ransomware of this type encrypts all the data on your PC (photos, documents, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and adds its specific extension to every file, creating the six62ix.txt files in every directory with the encrypted files.
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What is Masons virus?

☝️ A strictly accurate designation for the Masons would be “a ransomware-type infection”.

Masons adds its specific .masons extension to the name of every encoded file. For instance, an image named “photo.jpg” will be renamed to “photo.jpg.masons”. In the same manner, the Excel sheet named “table.xlsx” will become “table.xlsx.masons”, and so forth.

In each folder containing the encoded files, a six62ix.txt text document will be created. It is a ransom money note. It contains information about the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other remarks. The ransom note most probably contains a description of how to purchase the decryption tool from the racketeers. That is basically the scheme of the crime.

Masons abstract:
NameMasons Virus
Extension.masons
Ransomware notesix62ix.txt
DetectionCrytex.Virus.FileInfector.DDS, Win32/Filecoder.OLC, Malware-Cryptor.InstallCore.5
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) get a .masons extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Masons virus

In the image below, you can see what a directory with files encrypted by the Masons looks like. Each filename has the “.masons” extension appended to it.

Masons Virus - encrypted .masons files

That is how encrypted “.masons” files look.

How did Masons ransomware end up on my PC?

There are many possible ways of ransomware injection.

Nowadays, there are three most exploited methods for malefactors to have the Masons virus working in your system. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer-to-peer networks.

If you open your inbox and see emails that look just like notifications from utility services companies, delivery agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is strange to you, be wary of opening those letters. They are most likely to have a viral item enclosed in them. Therefore, it is even riskier to download any attachments that come with letters like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan virus model1. A Trojan is an object that infiltrates into your computer disguised as something legal. For example, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some software. But what is unpacked reveals itself a harmful agent that encrypts your data. As the installation file can have any name and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the source of the things you’re downloading. The optimal thing is to trust the software developers’ official websites.

As for the peer-to-peer networks like torrent trackers or eMule, the danger is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Web. You can never know what you download until you get it. Our suggestion is that you use trustworthy resources. Also, it is a good idea to scan the folder containing the downloaded files with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is done.

How to remove the Masons virus?

It is important to note that besides encrypting your data, the Masons virus will probably install the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned program can extract your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Often criminals would decrypt few of your files so you know that they indeed have the decryption program. Since Masons virus is a relatively new ransomware, security software designers have not yet found a method to reverse its work. Nevertheless, the decoding tools are constantly upgraded, so the solution may soon be available.

Understandably, if the criminals do the job of encrypting someone’s essential files, the desperate person will most likely fulfill their demands. However, paying to racketeers does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your blocked information back. It is still dangerous. After getting the money, the racketeers may send a wrong decryption key to the victim. There were reports of ransomware developers simply disappearing after getting the money without even bothering to reply.

The optimal solution against ransomware is to have a system restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud drive or at least on an external storage. Surely, that might be not enough. The most important thing could be that file you were working on when it all went down. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also wise to scan your PC for viruses with the antivirus program after the OS is rolled back.

There are other ransomware products, besides Masons, that work similarly. Examples of those are Bpws, Mzop, Bpsm, and some others. The two main differences between them and the Masons are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: files become inaccessible, their extensions altered, ransom notes emerge in each folder containing encoded files.

Some fortunate users were able to decode the blocked files with the aid of the free software provided by anti-malware developers. Sometimes the racketeers mistakenly send the decryption code to the wronged in the ransom readme. Such an epic fail allows the victim to restore the files. But naturally, one should never expect such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a criminals’ tool to lay their hands on the money of their victims.

How to avert ransomware attack?

Masons ransomware doesn’t have a endless power, neither does any similar malware.

You can armour your PC from ransomware infiltration in several easy steps:

  • Ignore any emails from unknown mailboxes with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (how can you win in a lottery without even taking part in it?). In case the email subject is likely something you are waiting for, scrutinize all elements of the dubious email with caution. A hoax email will surely contain a mistake.
  • Do not use cracked or untrusted software. Trojans are often spreaded as an element of cracked software, possibly as a “patch” to prevent the license check. Understandably, potentially dangerous programs are difficult to tell from reliable ones, because trojans sometimes have the functionality you need. Try to find information on this software product on the anti-malware message boards, but the best solution is not to use such software.
  • And to be sure about the safety of the objects you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software will be a powerful defense for your PC.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft2

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft3.

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 computer.

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 system for Masons 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 completed, 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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

There’s no way to do it, unless the files “.masons” files are decrypted.

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

It’s good if you have fаr-sightedly saved copies of these important files elsewhere. If not, there is still a function of System Restore but it needs a Restore Point to be previously saved. There are other ways to beat ransomware, but they take time.

🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to get rid of the Masons virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?

Absolutely not! The encrypted files are not harmful, so they won’t be deleted.

With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your computer off the actual threats. The ransomware that has infiltrated your system is must be still functional and it scans your system periodically to encrypt any new files you might create on your PC after the attack. As it has been mentioned above, the Masons ransomware does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can take your account passwords by trespass and provide criminals with easy access to your PC in the future.

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

In such a case, you need to prepare a flash memory drive with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to execute the procedure. You see, the ransomware starts automatically as the system boots and encodes any new files created or imported into your PC. To stop this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential applications to run upon system start. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 And what should I do now?

Many of the blocked files might still be within your reach

  • If you sent or received your important files via email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
  • You might have shared images or videos with your friends or relatives. Simply ask them to post those images back to you.
  • If you have initially got any of your files from the Web, you can try downloading them again.
  • Your messengers, social media pages, and cloud disks might have all those files as well.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old PC, a laptop, cellphone, memory stick, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can use file recovery programs4 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware encrypts the copies of your files, deleting the original ones. In the video below, you can see how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but be advised: you can do it only after you eradicate the virus with an anti-malware program.

Also, you can contact the following official 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 MASONS Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: MASONS Virus

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

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
  2. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  3. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
  4. 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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