MEOW Virus 🔐 (.MEOW Files) — How to Remove?

Written by Brendan Smith
The Meow virus falls under the CONTI ransomware family. A harmful program of such sort encrypts all the data on your computer (photos, text files, excel tables, audio files, videos, etc.) and adds its specific extension to every file, creating the readme.txt text files in each directory containing encrypted files.
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What is known about the Meowvirus?

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

Meow will append its extra .MEOW extension to the title of every encrypted file. For instance, an image entitled “photo.jpg” will be renamed to “photo.jpg.MEOW”. In the same manner, the Excel table named “table.xlsx” will be changed to “table.xlsx.MEOW”, and so on.

In each folder containing the encoded files, a readme.txt text document will be created. It is a ransom money note. It contains information on the ways of paying the ransom and some other remarks. The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to buy the decryption tool from the Meow developers. You can get this tool after contacting [email protected], meo[email protected], [email protected], [email protected] through email. That is how they do it.

Meow abstract:
Name Meow Virus
Ransomware family1 CONTI ransomware
Extension .MEOW
Ransomware note readme.txt
Contact [email protected], meo[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Detection NSIS:AdwareX-gen [Adw], Ransom:Win32/StopCrypt.SS!MTB, MSIL/Slithermon.A
Symptoms Your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .MEOW extension and you can’t open them.
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Meow virus

The readme.txt document coming in package with the Meow malware states the following:

MEOW! MEOW! MEOW!
Your files has been encrypted!
Need decrypt? Write to e-mail:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
or Telegram:
@meowcorp2022
@meowcorp123
Uniq ID: eabc2ef6-246a-482c-8c20-c306d0ada***

In the screenshot below, you can see what a folder with files encrypted by the Meow looks like. Each filename has the “.MEOW” extension appended to it.

Meow Virus - encrypted .MEOW files

That is how encrypted “.MEOW” files look.

How did Meow ransomware end up on my PC?

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

There are currently three most popular methods for hackers to have ransomware acting in your system. These are email spam, Trojan introduction and peer-to-peer networks.

If you access your inbox and see emails that look like familiar notifications from utility services companies, delivery agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is unknown to you, beware of opening those emails. They are most likely to have a malicious file enclosed in them. So it is even more dangerous to download any attachments that come with letters like these.

Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan horse model2. A Trojan is a program that gets into your machine disguised as something legal. For instance, you download an installer for some program you want or an update for some service. But what is unboxed reveals itself a harmful agent that compromises your data. As the update package can have any name and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the resource of the files you’re downloading. The optimal thing is to use 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. So you’d better be using trustworthy resources. Also, it is reasonable to scan the directory containing the downloaded files with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is complete.

How to remove the Meow virus?

It is important to note that besides encrypting your data, the Meow virus will most likely install the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That spyware3 can derive your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.

Sometimes tamperers would decrypt several of your files, so you know that they indeed have the decryption tool. As the Meow virus is relatively recent ransomware, security software designers have not yet found a method to reverse its work. Nevertheless, the decryption instruments are constantly updated, so an effective countermeasure may soon arrive.

Sure thing, if the malefactors do the job of encoding someone’s critical files, the desperate person will most likely fulfill their demands. Nevertheless, paying a ransom does not necessarily mean you’re getting your data back. It is still dangerous. After getting the money, the racketeers may send the wrong decryption code to the victim. There were reports of racketeers vanishing after getting the money without even writing back.

The best countermeasure to ransomware is to have an OS restore point or copies of your essential files in the cloud disk or at least on an external disk. That might not be enough. The most crucial thing could be that file you worked on when it all went down. But at least it is something. Scanning your drives with the anti-malware utility is also reasonable after the system is rolled back.

There are other ransomware products, besides Meow, that work similarly. Examples of those are Oflg, Ofww, Aawt, and some others. The two main differences between them and the Meow are the ransom amount and the encryption method. The rest is the same: documents become blocked, their extensions altered, ransom notes appear in each folder containing encrypted files.

Some fortunate users could decode the arrested files with the help of the free software provided by anti-malware developers. Sometimes the racketeers accidentally send the decoding code to the victims in the ransom readme. Such an extraordinary failure allows the victim to restore the files. But of course, one should never expect such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a tamperer’s technology to pull the money out of their victims.

How to avoid ransomware attack?

Meow ransomware has no endless power, so as any similar malware.

You can armour your PC from ransomware attack in three easy steps:

  • Never open any letters from unknown mailers with unknown addresses or content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (how can you win in a money prize draw without even taking part in it?). If the email subject is likely something you are waiting for, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious letter with caution. A hoax letter will surely have mistakes.
  • Avoid using cracked or untrusted programs. Trojan viruses are often shared as a part of cracked products, most likely under the guise of a “patch” to prevent the license check. But dubious programs are very hard to tell from trustworthy software because trojans may also have the functionality you need. Try to find information on this program on the anti-malware message boards, but the optimal way is not to use such programs.
  • To ensure the safety of the files you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a powerful shield for your system.
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 scan your PC automatically for Meow infections and other malicious programs. This process can take 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 the right corner.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

FAQ

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

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

🤔 What should I do to make my files accessible as fast as possible?

Hopefully, you have made a copy of those important files. 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 Meow virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?

Of course not. The encrypted files are not harmful, so they won’t be deleted.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware will remove active malware from your system. The virus that has infected your computer is must still be functional and running scans from time to time to arrest any new files you might create on your PC after the infection. As mentioned above, the Meow virus does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide criminals with easy access to your system in the future.

🤔 What to do if the Meow ransomware has blocked my computer and I can’t get the activation key.

If that happened, you need to have a flash memory card with a pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to execute the procedure. You see, the ransomware runs automatically as the system boots and encrypts any new files created or brought into your PC. To stop this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential applications to run upon system start. Consider reading our manual on booting Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What could help the situation right now?

Some of the blocked files can be located elsewhere.

  • If you exchanged your important files through email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
  • You may have shared photographs or videos with your friends or relatives. Simply ask them to send those pictures back to you.
  • If you have initially downloaded any of your files from the Web, you can try doing it again.
  • Your messengers, social networks pages, and cloud disks might have all those files too.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old computer, a laptop, cellphone, flash memory, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can employ data recovery utilities6 to get your lost data back since ransomware encodes 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 ransomware itself with an antivirus 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 MEOW Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: MEOW Virus

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

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
  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 Best Data Recovery Software Of 2023.

About the author

Brendan Smith

I'm Brendan Smith, a passionate journalist, researcher, and web content developer. With a keen interest in computer technology and security, I specialize in delivering high-quality content that educates and empowers readers in navigating the digital landscape.

With a focus on computer technology and security, I am committed to sharing my knowledge and insights to help individuals and organizations protect themselves in the digital age. My expertise in cybersecurity principles, data privacy, and best practices allows me to provide practical tips and advice that readers can implement to enhance their online security.

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