MZHI Virus (.MZHI File) Decrypt + Removal Guide

Written by Brendan Smith

The Mzhi virus, also known as a ransomware infection, belongs to the STOP/DJVU family. This malware is notorious for its malicious file encryption capabilities. Once the Mzhi virus infects a system, it targets various types of files, like videos, photos, documents, and more. It modifies the file structure and appends the “.mzhi” extension to each encrypted file, making them inaccessible and unusable without the decryptor.

Mzhi Virus Overview

Mzhi

🤔 Mzhi virus can be classified as ransomware that originates from the DJVU/STOP ransomware family. Its main target is to cipher your files. Then, this ransomware asks to pay the ransom – ($490 – $980) in Bitcoin.

The Mzhi virus is a type of malware that ciphers your files and coerces you into paying for their restoration. This malware ciphers different file types. Encrypted files become identifiable by a distinct “.mzhi” extension. As a result, the affected files become inaccessible and unusable.

After that, 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. In all cases, a text file with ransom payment guidances is named as “_readme.txt“.

Mzhi Ransomware operates by Salsa20 encryption algorithms to scramble the contents of the targeted files. Since Mzhi virus employs such a strong encryption method, it becomes really difficult, if not impossible, to find the decryption key without the assistance of the attackers.

Once the files are encrypted, the Mzhi virus displays a ransom note to the victim, asking for a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. The ransom note provides instructions on how to pay off the bill and often contains threats of system wipeout or ransom amounts surge if the demands are not met within a specified timeframe.

I have made an all-encompassing list of potential solutions, advice, and practices to remove the Mzhi malware and decrypt your files. In some cases, you can regain access to the files, but sometimes, it may be impossible.

Brendan Smith
Brendan Smith
IT Security Expert
First, perform a PC scan using an antivirus tool!
I will assist you in removing the Mzhi virus and guide you through the process of decrypting or restoring encrypted files. Below, you will find several universally applicable methods to recover encrypted .mzhi files. It is crucial to thoroughly read and comprehend the entire set of instructions. Do not skip any steps. Each step is of utmost importance and must be completed by you.
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📌 Important Note!

It is crucial to voice that paying the ransom does not guarantee the successful files recovery. The individuals who stand behind the Mzhi virus are not trustworthy. There have been instances where people have paid the ransom, only to be denied by the cyber criminals with the decryption key provision.

Mzhi employs a unique key for each victim, with one exception:

  • If Mzhi fails to connect the command and control server (C&C) before starting the encryption process, it uses offline keys as a fallback option. An offline key is the same for all users, which allows for the decryption of files encrypted by the ransomware.

The Mzhi virus bears resemblance to other DJVU ransomware variants such as Mzqt, Azop, Azqt, and Azhi. This virus encrypts a wide range of common file types and appends its distinct “.mzhi” extension to all files. For instance, a file named “1.jpg” would be altered to “1.jpg.mzhi” and “2.png” to “2.png.mzhi“.

After successful encryption, the virus spawns a special text file named “_readme.txt” and places it in every folder containing the encrypted files. It also adds this file to the desktop, so the user will not miss its appearance even without opening folders.

The image below provides a visual representation of files with the “mzhi” extension:

Mzhi Virus - encrypted mzhi files

Encrypted Files by STOP/DJVU Ransomware

Name Mzhi Virus
Ransomware family1 DJVU/STOP2 ransomware
Extension .mzhi
Ransomware note _readme.txt
Ransom From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)
Contact [email protected], [email protected]
Detection Ransom:Win32/WannaCrypt!pz Virus Removal, Ransom:MSIL/HiddenTear.RDA!MTB Virus Removal, TrojanDownloader:MSIL/Dae.YA!MTB Virus Removal
Symptoms
  • Encrypted most of your files (photos, videos, documents) and adds a particular “.mzhi” extension;
  • Can delete Volume Shadow copies to make victim’s attempts to restore data impossible;
  • Adds a list of domains to HOSTS file to block access to certain security-related sites;
  • Installs password-stealing Trojan on the system, like Vidar Stealer or RedLine Stealer;
  • Manages to install a SmokeLoader backdoor;
Fix Tool To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:


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This message asking payment is for restore files via decryption key:

_readme.txt (STOP/DJVU Ransomware)

_readme.txt (STOP/DJVU Ransomware) – The terrifying warning demanding users to pay off the ransom to decrypt the encrypted data contains these exasperating admonitions.

Mzhi ransomware arrives as a set of procedures that are used to carry out different activities on a victim’s computer. One of the primary ones being launched is winupdate.exe, a deceptive process that shows a fake Windows update prompt during the attack. Such a trick helps to convince the victim that a sudden computer slowdown is caused by a Windows update.

Simultaneously, the ransomware runs another process (which name commonly consists of 4 random characters) which commences scanning the system for target files and encrypting them. Next, the ransomware deletes Volume Shadow Copies from the disk through the following CMD command:

vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet

Once removed, it becomes virtually impossible to recover the previous computer state using System Restore Points. The issue is, ransomware operators are eliminating any built-in Windows approaches that could assist the victim to recover files for free. In addition, the hackers modify the Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of domains to it and redirecting them to the localhost IP. As a result, the victim will witness a DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error when accessing one of the listed websites.

We’ve observed that ransomware tries to restrict websites that developed various how-to guides for computer users. It is clear that by hindering specific domains, the perpetrators are trying to hinder the victim from reaching relevant and helpful ransomware-attack-related information online. The virus also saves two .txt files on the victim’s computer that provide attack-related information – the public key of this victim and personal ID. These two files are named bowsakkdestx.txt and PersonalID.txt.

Mzhi ransomware virus saves public encryption key and victim's id in bowsakkdestx.txt file

After all these changes, the malware doesn’t cease. Variants of STOP/DJVU are inclined to install Vidar password-stealing Trojan on compromised systems. This threat has an huge 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 cryptography algorithm used by DJVU/STOP virus is AES-256. So, if your data got 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 any other way is also close to impossible. It is stored on a remote server owned by the criminals who promote the Mzhi malware. For receiving decrypting code the payment should be $980. To obtain the payment details, the victims should contact the fraudsters 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 file also demands that the system owner must get in touch with the hackers’ representatives during 72 hours starting from the moment of files were encrypted. If user contacts hackers during 72 hours, hackers grant a 50% off. This decreases the ransom sum down to $490.

Yet, stay away from paying the ransom! I strongly recommend that you to avoid contacting these swindlers and do not pay. One of the most real working solution to retrieve the lost data is just using the backups you have, or using Decrypter tool from Emsisoft.

The distinctiveness of such viruses is the employment a similar set of actions for generating the unique decryption key to recover the ciphered data. Thus, unless the ransomware is still in development or has some hard-to-track flaws, manual data recovery is a thing you can’t perform. The exclusive resolution to prevent the data loss is to regularly make backups of your important files.

Note that even if you do maintain such backups regularly, they must be kept 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. Optionally, you may refer to the help of online (cloud) information storage.

Needless to say, when you maintain your backup on your common device, it may be ciphered together with other data. For this reason, placing the backup on your disk is surely not a wise idea.

How To Remove Ransomware?

Remove Mzhi 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 Mzhi Virus as well as other malware hiding on your computer.

Gridinsoft Anti-Malware - Main Screen

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.

setup-gridinsoft-fix.exe

3.Follow the installation setup wizard's instructions diligently.

Gridinsoft Setup Wizard

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.

Scan for Mzhi Virus Ransomware

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.

The Mzhi Virus was Found

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.

The Mzhi Virus has been removed

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 “Mzhi 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.

Trojan Killer - Main View

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.

Download Trojan Killer

2. Insert a USB flash drive into this computer.

3. Install Trojan Killer to the "removable drive" following the on-screen instructions.

Install Trojan Killer to Removable Drive

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.

Click Update Button

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.

Searching Mzhi Virus Virus

Step 4: Remove Found Threats:

12. After the scan is complete, Trojan Killer will display a list of detected threats.

Searching Mzhi Virus Finished

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.

Restart needed

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 Mzhi 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.

Video Guide


How To Decrypt .mzhi Files?

How to restore big files?

Try removing .mzhi extension on a few big files and opening them. This malware has issues with large files encryption. Either the virus read and did not lock the file, or it failed and did not add the filemarker. If you have files that are very large (2GB+), the latter is most likely. Please, text me in the comments whether this helped you or not.

The newest extensions released around the end of August 2019 after the criminals made changes. This includes Mzqt, Azop, Azqt etc.

As a outcome of the alterations 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.

  1. 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:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - license terms

    As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - user interface

  2. Select folders for decryption.

    Based on the default configurations, the decryptor will by default choose the reachable directories in order to decode the currently accessible drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. You can choose other locations with the “Add” button.

    Decryptors typically propose several options considering the specific malware family. The existing possible options are shown in the Options tab and can be turned on or deactivated there. You may locate a detailed list of the currently active Options below.

  3. 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:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - the decryption statistics

    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.

How to Restore .mzhi Files?

In some case ransomware is not doom for your files…

The Mzhi ransomware encryption mechanism feature is next: it ciphers every file byte-by-byte, then saves a duplicate, deleting (not overriding!) the initial file. Thus, the data of the file placement on the physical disk is lost, but the original file is not deleted from the disk. The cell, or the sector where this file was kept, can still contain this file, but it is not listed by the file system and can be replaced by data that has been loaded to this drive after the deletion. Hence, it is possible to restore your files using special software.

Some pointers for recovery repair of Mzhi files (true for all STOP/DJVU variants):

  • I have seen Stop/Djvu variants fail to encrypt deeper nested folders, so that you can check that. You may find those are not encrypted.
  • This ransomware saves encrypted data to a new file, deletes the original. So there’s a slight chance part of that deleted file can be recovered using file recovery software. It’s unlikely the folder structure can be restored, so a free tool like PhotoRec may be as good as any.
  • This ransomware only partially encrypts (about the first 150 KB), so depending on file size and type of data, the not encrypted part may be recoverable.
  • Joep

    Recovering your files with PhotoRec

    PhotoRec is an open-source 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 recover the files of 400 different extensions. Hence, it can be used for file restoration after the Mzhi attack.

    First, you need to download this app. It is 100% free, but the developer states that there is no guarantee that the files will be restored. PhotoRec is spread together with other utility of the same developer – TestDisk. The program archive will bear TestDisk name, but don’t worry. PhotoRec files are right inside.

    To open PhotoRec, you need to find and open “qphotorec_win.exe” file. No setup is required – this program has all the files it need within the archive, hence, you can mount it on your USB drive, and try to help your friends/parents/anyone who has been attacked by Mzhi ransomware.

    PhotoRec file in the folder for restore Mzhi files

    Upon the launch, you will observe the screen showing you the complete list of your disk drives. However, this data is probably futile, because the required menu is placed a bit higher. Click this bar, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.

    Choose the disc in PhotoRec

    After picking the disk, you need to select the destination folder for the retrieved 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.

    Choosing the destination folder of recovery Mzhi files

    Then, you need to define the file formats. This setting is located at the bottom, too. As it was mentioned, PhotoRec can recover the files of about 400 different formats.

    Choose the file format

    Finally, you can initiate files recovery by pressing the “Search” button. You will view the screen where the results of the scan and recovery are shown.

    Recovery process

    Mzhi files recovery Video Guide.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    🤔 How can I open “.mzhi” files?

    No way. These files are encrypted by ransomware. The contents of encrypted files are not available until they are decrypted.

    🤔 Encrypted files contain important information. How can I decrypt them urgently?

    If your data remained in the .mzhi 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.

    🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove Mzhi. Does this mean that the program will delete my encrypted files?

    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.

    🤔 This virus has blocked infected PC: I can’t get the activation code.

    In this situation, you need to prepare the memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer.

    🤔 Decryptor did not decrypt all my files, or not all of them were decrypted. What should I do?

    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.

    🤔 What can I do right now?

    The Mzhi 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 .MZHI Files?

    Name: MZHI Ransomware

    Description: The MZHI 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 mzhi extension. As a result, the affected files become inaccessible and unusable. Subsequently, the MZHI 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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    User Review
    3.85 (13 votes)
    Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

    References

    1. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
    2. About DJVU (STOP) Ransomware.

    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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