The Muskoff virus falls under the Chaos ransomware family. A harmful program of such sort encrypts all the data on your PC (images, documents, excel sheets, music, videos, etc) and appends its extra extension to every file, leaving the read_it.txt text files in each folder which contains the encrypted files.
Muskoff virus: what is known so far?
☝️ Muskoff is a Chaos family ransomware-type malicious agent.
Muskoff adds its own .MuskOff extension to every file’s title. For instance, an image entitled “photo.jpg” will be altered to “photo.jpg.MuskOff”. In the same manner, the Excel table named “table.xlsx” will become “table.xlsx.MuskOff”, and so forth.
In each folder that contains the encoded files, a read_it.txt text file will be found. It is a ransom money memo. It contains information about the ways of paying the ransom and some other information. The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to buy the decryption tool from the Muskoff developers. That is how they do it.
|$1500 (in BTC)
|Win32/Filecoder.Avaddon.H, TrojanDropper:Win32/BcryptInject.A!MTB, BScope.TrojanRansom.Reveton
|Your files (photos, videos, documents) get a .MuskOff extension and you can’t open them.
|See If Your System Has Been Affected by Muskoff virus
The read_it.txt file accompanying the Muskoff ransomware provides the following discouraging information:
----> Chaos is multi language ransomware. Translate your note to any language <---- All of your files have been encrypted Your computer was infected with a ransomware virus. Your files have been encrypted and you won\'t be able to decrypt them without our help.What can I do to get my files back?You can buy our special decryption software, this software will allow you to recover all of your data and remove the ransomware from your computer.The price for the software is $1,500. Payment can be made in Bitcoin only. How do I pay, where do I get Bitcoin? Purchasing Bitcoin varies from country to country, you are best advised to do a quick google search yourself to find out how to buy Bitcoin. Many of our customers have reported these sites to be fast and reliable: Coinmama - hxxps://www.coinmama.com Bitpanda - hxxps://www.bitpanda.com Payment informationAmount: 0.1473766 BTC Bitcoin Address: 17CqMQFeuB3NTzJ2X28tfRmWaPyPQgvoHV
In the image below, you can see what a directory with files encrypted by the Muskoff looks like. Each filename has the ".MuskOff" extension appended to it.
How did my computer get infected with Muskoff ransomware?
There are plenty of possible ways of ransomware injection.
Nowadays, there are three most popular methods for evil-doers to have the Muskoff virus planted in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer-to-peer file transfer.
- If you open your inbox and see emails that look just like notifications from utility services companies, postal agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is unknown to you, beware of opening those letters. They are most likely to have a malicious file attached to them. So it is even riskier to open any attachments that come with emails like these.
- Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan file model. A Trojan is a program that infiltrates into your PC pretending to be something different. Imagine, you download an installer of some program you need or an update for some program. But what is unpacked turns out to be a harmful program that encodes your data. Since the update file can have any title and any icon, you have to make sure that you can trust the source of the things you're downloading. The optimal thing is to use the software companies' official websites.
- As for the peer-to-peer networks like torrent trackers or eMule, the threat 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 websites. Also, it is reasonable to scan the folder containing the downloaded items with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is finished.
How to remove ransomware?
It is important to note that besides encrypting your data, the Muskoff virus will probably deploy Vidar Stealer on your machine to seize your credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That program can extract your credentials from your browser's auto-filling cardfile.
Remove Muskoff 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 Muskoff 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 "Muskoff" 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 Muskoff 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.
Often criminals would unblock several of your files to prove that they do have the decryption tool. As Muskoff virus is a relatively new ransomware, safety measures engineers have not yet found a way to reverse its work. However, the decryption tools are frequently updated, so the solution may soon be available.
Understandably, if the evildoers succeed in encrypting victim's essential files, the desperate person will most likely comply with their demands. However, paying to racketeers does not necessarily mean that you're getting your blocked information back. It is still risky. After getting the ransom, the racketeers may send a wrong decryption code to the injured party. There were reports of hackers just disappearing after getting the ransom without even bothering to reply.
The best safety measure against ransomware is to have a system restore point or the copies of your essential files in the cloud drive or at least on an external disk. Surely, that might be insufficient. Your most crucial thing could be that file you were working upon when it all started. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also wise to scan your drives with the antivirus program after the system is rolled back.
There are other ransomware products, besides Muskoff, that work similarly. Examples of those are Blackoutware, Messec, Gyza, and some others. The two basic differences between them and the Muskoff are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: files become inaccessible, their extensions altered, ransom notes are created in every folder containing encrypted files.
Some fortunate people were able to decode the blocked files with the help of the free software provided by anti-ransomware specialists. Sometimes the racketeers mistakenly send the decryption 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. Remember, ransomware is a bandits' technology to lay their hands on the money of their victims.
How to avoid ransomware infection?
Muskoff ransomware has no superpower, neither does any similar malware.
You can armour yourself from ransomware infiltration taking several easy steps:
- Ignore any emails from unknown mailboxes with strange addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (how can you win in a money prize draw without participating in it?). In case the email subject is more or less something you are expecting, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious email carefully. A hoax email will always contain a mistake.
- Avoid using cracked or untrusted software. Trojans are often spreaded as a part of cracked products, possibly as a “patch” preventing the license check. Understandably, potentially dangerous programs are very hard to tell from trustworthy software, because trojans sometimes have the functionality you seek. Try searching for information on this program on the anti-malware forums, but the optimal solution is not to use such programs at all.
- And to be sure about the safety of the objects you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a perfect defense for your personal computer.
🤔 How can I open ".MuskOff" files?Is it possible to open“.MuskOff” files?
Negative. That is why ransomware is so frustrating. Until you decode the ".MuskOff" files you will not be able to access them.
🤔 The encrypted files are very important to me. How can I decrypt them quickly?
It's good if you have fаr-sightedly saved copies of these important files elsewhere. Otherwise, you might try to employ System Restore. The only question is whether you have saved any Restore Points that would be helpful now. The rest of the methods require patience.
🤔 If GridinSoft deletes the Muskoff malware, will it also delete my files that were encrypted?
Of course not. Unlike the ransomware program itself, the encrypted files do not jeopardize your system.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware only deals with real viruses. The malware that has infected your system is probably still functional and it scans your system from time to time to arrest any new files you might create on your computer after the attack. As it has been mentioned above, the Muskoff ransomware comes with the company. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can take your account passwords by trespass and provide hackers with easy access to your system in the future.
🤔 What to do if the Muskoff malware has blocked my PC and I can't get the activation key.
If that happened, you need to prepare a flash memory drive with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the cleaning. The point is that the ransomware starts automatically as the system boots and encrypts any new files created or brought into your PC. To block this process - use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital programs to run automatically. Consider reading our manual on booting 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 via email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
- You may have shared images or videos with your friends or relatives. Just ask them to send those images 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 drives might have all those files too.
- Maybe you still have the needed files on your old PC, a notebook, cellphone, external storage, etc.
USEFUL TIP: You can employ file recovery programs2 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware arrests the copies of your files, deleting the authentic ones. In the video below, you can learn 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.
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How to Remove MUSKOFF Ransomware & Recover PC
Name: MUSKOFF Virus
Description: MUSKOFF Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .MuskOff extension. So, you can't use them at all.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
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