Mzlq Virus ☣ [.MZLQ File] — How to Remove Ransomware + Recover PC

Written by Brendan Smith
Mzlq is a DJVU family of ransomware-type infections1. This ransomware encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The infected files can be tracked by specific “.mzlq” extension. So, you can’t open them at all.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review

GridinSoft Anti-Malware

Removing ransomware manually may take hours and may damage your PC in the process. I recommend you to download GridinSoft Anti-Malware for virus removal. Allows to complete scan and cure your PC during the trial period.
6-day trial available for threats removal.
EULA | Privacy Policy | GridinSoft
In this guide I will try to help you remove Mzlq virus for free. Also I will assist you in decoding your encrypted files.

What is “Mzlq”?

Mzlq can be correctly identify as a ransomware-type infection.

Ransomware is a kind of virus that encrypted your documents and then forces you to pay to restore them. DJVU (aka STOP) ransomware family was first revealed and discovered by virus analyst Michael Gillespie2.

Mzlq is similar to other ransomware like: Muslat, Ferosas, Neras. It encrypted all common file types. Hence, you cannot open the your documents . Mzlq adds its own “.mzlq” extension into all files. For instance, the file “video.avi”, will be amended into “video.avi.mzlq”. As soon as the encryption is successfully accomplished, Mzlq generates a special file “_readme.txt” and puts it into all folders that contain the modified files.

Here is a short summary for the Mzlq :
Ransomware family3 DJVU/STOP4 ransomware
Extension .mzlq
Ransomware note _readme.txt
Ransom From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)
Contact helpmanager@mail.ch, restoremanager@firemail.cc
Detection5 Ransom.Oled, Ransom.Jamper.zep, Midie.72357
Symptoms Most of your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .mzlq extension and you can’t open it
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by .mzlq file virus

This text asking payment is for get files back via decryption key:

Mzlq virus message

The scary alert demanding from users to pay the ransom to decrypt the compromised data contains these frustrating warnings

The cryptography algorithm used by Mzlq is AES-256. So, if your documents got encrypted with a specific decryption key, which is totally unique and there are no other copies. The sad reality is that it is impossible to recover the information without the unique key available.

In case if Mzlq worked in online mode, it is impossible for you to gain access to the AES-256 key. It is stored on a distant server owned by the frauds who promote the Mzlq infection.

In some cases, your files may be encrypted with an offline key. You can check this out by yourself : open PersonalID file, which is contained in SystemID folder on the C disc. If this file contains an entity which ends on “t1” – Mzlq ransomware used the offline key to encrypt your files.

The difference between online and offline key is in it’s compromising speed. For every ransomware an amount of the offline keys is much smaller than for online; the offline keys are repeating. Hence, anti-malware software developers can collect enough offline keys quite fast, so their products can help victims in short time. Online keys are unique for every case of Mzlq ransomware attack, so it takes much more time to collect them for every encrypted PC.

For receiving decryption key the payment should be $980. To obtain the payment details, the victims are encouraged by the message to contact the frauds by email (helpmanager@mail.ch), or via Telegram.

Do not pay for Mzlq!

Please, try to use the available backups, or Decrypter tool

_readme.txt file also indicates that the computer owners must get in touch with the Mzlq representatives during 72 hours starting from the moment of files where encrypted. On the condition of getting in touch within 72 hours, users will be granted a 50% rebate. Thus the ransom amount will be minimized down to $490). However, stay away from paying the ransom!

I strongly recommend that you do not contact these frauds and do not pay. The one of the most real working solution to recover the lost data – just using the available backups, or use Decrypter tool.

The reason why this advice is so important is that Mzlq ransomware distributors’ target is your money. And they would use any method to force you to pay them. They can act quite gentle, offering you to send them 1-2 encrypted files to show that they really have a decryptor. More rude variant contains different menaces like “we will delete your files remotely” or “no one can decrypt our ransomware”. Anyway, they will try to make an illusion that the payment is the only really effective solution.

And that’s no matter if you paid them or not – your e-mail will be added to the database, which is supposed to be sold. The buyer for this database may be whoever – an online shop which want to increase sales, an advertiserment agent, or, maybe, other crooks. Anyway, your e-mail will be flooded with different spam.

The peculiarity of all such viruses apply a similar set of actions for generating the unique decryption key to recover the ciphered data.

Thus, unless the ransomware is still under the stage of development or possesses with some hard-to-track flaws, manually recovering the ciphered data is a thing you can’t perform. The only solution to prevent the loss of your valuable data is to regularly make backups of your crucial files.

Note that even if you do maintain such backups regularly, they ought to be put into a specific location without loitering, not being connected to your main workstation.

The specific location is needed because Mzlq ransomware can counteract your backups. The rare action is blocking or even deleting the backup, but more common is it’s contaminating. Ransomware can inject own .exe file in the backup files, so you wouldn’t solve a ransomware attack using such backup; it can also just encrypt some files inside the backup. Anyway, it’s quite a dangerous plan to keep the backup onboard when of ransomware attacks.

The Mzlq ransomware has one bug (feature?), that can save your files sometimes. This ransomware (like several other ransomware of STOP/Djvu family) is not able to encrypt other disks, in spite of the one on which it is located. Hence, it can be a useful advice to install all dubious programs on the separate disk, or on the disk which contains less important files. But it can still be dangerous, if there is an additional malware in pack with Mzlq ransomware.

Another bug, which can help you to get your files back, is related to large files encryption. Mzlq ransomware, like the majority of STOP/Djvu ransomware family, have troubles with large files encryption. It just adds own .mzlq extension to such files without the real encryption. Hence, you are able to open this files as usual after removing this extension from the file name.

You can also try to open your music/video files that were been encrypted by ransomware. Ransomware encrypts only the first 150 KB of the file. Hence, you can open it with video or music player. We have proofed info that Winamp can open such files. The only problem that the first seconds of the recordings are missing, because this part was been encrypted.

Be also careful with One Drive backup mechanism. Every time OneDrive creates a new backup, the older one will be overwritten. And all operations OneDrive does are in the background mode i.e. you wouldn’t get any notification about backup creation start. Hence, if you was been attacked by Mzlq ransomware, that’s a big chance your OneDrive backup to be full of already encrypted files.

For instance, the backup may be kept on the USB flash drive or some alternative external hard drive storage. Optionally, you may refer to the help of online (cloud) information storage.

Needless to mention, when you maintain your backup data on your common device, it may be similarly ciphered as well as other data.

For this reason, locating the backup on your main device is surely not a good idea.

How I was infected?

Mzlq has a various methods to built into your system. But it doesn’t really matter what concrete way was used in your case.

Mzlq virus attack

Mzlq ransomware attack following a successful phishing attempt.

Nevertheless, these are the common leaks through which it may be injected into your PC:

  • hidden installation along with other apps, especially the utilities that work as freeware or shareware;
  • dubious link in spam emails leading to the Mzlq installer
  • online free hosting resources;
  • using illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) resources for downloading pirated software.

There were cases when the Mzlq virus was disguised as some legitimate tool, for example, in the messages demanding to initiate some unwanted software or browser updates. This is typically the way how some online frauds aim to force you into installing the Mzlq ransomware manually, by actually making you directly participate in this process.

The typical source for Mzlq ransomware are e-mail messages with different content. It can be everything – an offer to play a new amazing online game, an ask about invoice pay-off, or a message with “important information about your jobless claim!”. The only rule they all get along with is an attachment, which is offered to open literally in every sentence of such letter. Of course, such file is just a ransomware carrier, and the encryption will start as soon as you open this file.

UPD. 25.05.2020. We got several reports about the big ransomware distribution campaign on torrent-trackers. The trackers which are under attack are Gnutella and 1337x, others has relatively low number of cases. The scheme is very simlpe – a group of Mzlq ransomware distributors join to the seeding, but using a modified files, which contain ransomware.

UPD. 27.05.2020. Other torrent-tracker are under attack, too. Due to reports, The Pirate Bay and RARBG were been flooded with the contaminated seedings. The scheme is the same that was mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Surely, the bogus update alert will not indicate that you are going to actually inject the Mzlq ransomware. This installation will be concealed under some alert mentioning that allegedly you should update Adobe Flash Player or some other dubious program whatsoever.

Of course, the cracked apps represent the damage too. Using P2P is both illegal and may result in the injection of serious malware, including the Mzlq ransomware.

In spite of the cracked apps, abandonware can also be dangerous. A lot of old software that is already not supported by it’s developer is still in use. And it’s very easy to inject a ransomware, or any other malware in such program, espesially considering the usage of “installers”, which are used to evade the licence check.

Keygens for different programs can also carry a different malware. Such apps become popular again, and the ransomware distributors paid them attention. Because of full-shaded distribution model of keygens it’s very easy to change it’s filler, leaving only an empty shell and fill an ex-keygen with Mzlq ransomware files, for example. But any malware is welcome.

To sum up, what can you do to avoid the injection of the Mzlq ransomware into your device? Even though there is no 100% guarantee to prevent your PC from getting damaged, there are certain tips I want to give you to prevent the Mzlq penetration. You must be cautious while installing free software today.

Make sure you always read what the installers offer in addition to the main free program. Stay away from opening dubious email attachments. Do not open files from the unknown addressees. Of course, your current security program must always be updated.

The malware does not speak openly about itself. It will not be mentioned in the list of your available programs. However, it will be masked under some malicious process running regularly in the background, starting from the moment when you launch your PC.


The message by the Mzlq ransomware states the following frustrating 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:

helpmanager@mail.ch

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

restoremanager@firemail.cc

Your personal ID:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The image below gives a clear vision of how the files with “.mzlq” extension look like:

Mzlq Virus - encrypted .mzlq files

Example of encrypted .mzlq files

How to remove Mzlq virus?

In addition to encode a victim’s files, the Mzlq infection has also started to install the Azorult Spyware on PC to steal account credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, desktop files, and more.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft6

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft7.

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 PC.

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 Mzlq 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

How to decrypt .mzlq files?

Restore solution for big “.mzlq files

Try removing .mzlq extension on a few BIG files and opening them. Either the Mzlq virus read and did not encrypt the file, or it bugged and did not add the filemarker. If your files are very large (2GB+), the latter is most likely. Please, let me know in comments if that will work for you.

The newest extensions released around the end of August 2019 after the criminals made changes.

As a result of the changes made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer supported. It has been removed and replaced with the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu Ransomware developed by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie.

You can download free decryption tool here: Decryptor for STOP Djvu.

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

Select folders for decryption.

Based on the default settings, the decryptor will automatically populate the available locations in order to decrypt the currently available drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. Extra (optional) locations can be selected with the help of the “Add” button.

Decryptors normally suggest several options considering the specific malware family. The current possible options are presented in the Options tab and can be activated or deactivated there. You may locate a detailed list of the currently active Options below.

Click on the “Decrypt” button.

As soon as yo 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 forum messages if you need to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I open “.mzlq” files?

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

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

If your data remained in the .mzlq 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 Mzlq. 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.

Decrytor 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 Mzlq ransomware, and decryption keys have not yet been released. Follow the news on our website.
We will keep you posted on when new Mzlq keys or new decryption programs appear.

What can I do right now?

The Mzlq 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 your computer is infected with ransomware, I recommend that you contact the following government fraud and scam sites to report this attack:

Video Guide

It’s my favorite video tutorial: How to use GridinSoft Anti-Malware and Emsisoft Decryptor for fix ransomware infections.

If the guide doesn’t help you to remove Mzlq virus, please download the GridinSoft Anti-Malware that I recommended. Also, you can always ask me in the comments for getting help.

I need your help to share this article.

It is your turn to help other people. I have written this article to help users like you. You can use buttons below to share this on your favorite social media Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
Brendan Smith
Sending
User Review
4.38 (53 votes)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

References

  1. Ransomware-type infection: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ransomware
  2. Twitter: https://twitter.com/demonslay335
  3. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
  4. About DJVU (STOP) Ransomware.
  5. Encyclopedia of threats.
  6. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  7. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products/

Spanish

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.

2 Comments

  1. Rishi May 17, 2020
  2. Tep June 5, 2020

Leave a Reply

Sending

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.