The Mzre virus, known as a ransomware infection, is part of the STOP family. This malware is famous for malicious file ciphering. When the Mzre virus gets into a computer system, it targets various types of files, such as photos, videos, documents, and more. It modifies the file structure and adds the “.mzre” extension to each file, making them unusable without the decryption key.
Mzre Virus Overview
🤔 Mzre malware can be classified as ransomware that originates from the DJVU/STOP ransomware family. Its primary purpose is to encrypt files that are important to you. After that, this ransomware asks for a ransom payment – ($490 – $980) in Bitcoin.
The Mzre virus is a malware type that encrypts your files and makes you pay for their recovery. This malware ciphers different file types. ciphered files can be identified by a distinct “.mzre” extension. The files touched by ransomware become inaccessible and unusable.
After that, the ransomware asks for a file decryption payment in Bitcoin from the victims, ranging from $490 to $980. In all cases, a ransom text file is named “_readme.txt“.
Mzre Ransomware uses Salsa20 encryption algorithms to scramble the contents of the targeted files. Since the Mzre virus uses such a strong encryption method, it becomes particularly difficult, if not impossible, to pick the decryption key without the assistance of the attackers.
Once Mzre malware finishes the encryption, it shows a ransom note to the user, asking for a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. The ransom note contains instructions on the ways of making the payment and often includes threats of permanent data loss or increased ransom amounts if the demands are not met within a specified timeframe.
I have created a comprehensive list of solutions, tips, and approaches to stop the Mzre virus and recover access to your files. There are cases when you can decrypt the files, but sometimes, it may be impossible.
📌 Important Note!
It is crucial to note that paying the ransom is not a guarantee of the successful recovery of your files. The individuals who stand behind the Mzre 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.
Mzre uses a unique key for every victim, with one exception:
- If Mzre fails to connect the command and control server (C2) before starting the encryption process, it resorts to using offline keys. This key is not unique and is the same for all users, which allows for the decryption of files encrypted by the ransomware.
The Mzre virus is similar to other DJVU ransomware variants such as Mzhi, Mzqt, Azop, and Azqt. This virus encrypts a wide range of common file types and appends its distinct “.mzre” extension to all files. For instance, a file named “1.jpg” would be altered to “1.jpg.mzre” and “2.png” to “2.png.mzre“.
Upon successful encryption, the virus creates a special text file named “_readme.txt” and places it in every folder containing the encrypted files. It also adds the readme file to the desktop, so the victim will not miss the attack even without opening folders.
The image below provides a visual representation of files with the “mzre” extension:
|Ransomware family1||DJVU/STOP2 ransomware|
|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|
To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:
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This message asking payment is for restore files via decryption key:
Mzre ransomware arrives as a set of actions that are used to execute different activities on a victim’s computer. One of the first processes being launched is winupdate.exe, a tricky process that shows a fraudulent Windows update alert during the attack. That is needed to convince the victim that their PC has become slow because of a Windows update.
Meanwhile, the ransomware runs another process (which name commonly consists of 4 random characters) which commences scanning the system for target files and encrypting them. Then the ransomware deletes Volume Shadow Copies from the disk by the following CMD command:
vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet
Once removed, it becomes impossible to retrieve the previous computer state using System Restore Points. The concern is, ransomware operators are getting rid of any built-in Windows approaches that could help the victim to restore files for free. In addition, the rascals modify the Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of domains to it and mapping 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 attempts to block websites that developed various how-to guides for computer users. It is evident that by limiting specific domains, the malefactors are attempting to prevent the victim from connecting to relevant and helpful ransomware-attack-related information online. This malware also stores two text files on the victim’s computer that offer attack-related details – the public key of this victim and personal ID. These two files are named bowsakkdestx.txt and PersonalID.txt.
After all these alterations, the malware doesn’t cease. Variants of STOP/DJVU tend to release Vidar password-stealing Trojan on compromised systems. This threat carries an large 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, once your data is 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 brute forcing it will take too much time.
Getting the online key in another way is also merely impossible. It is kept on a server controlled by the hackers who promote the Mzre malware. For receiving decryption key the payment should be $980. To get 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 states that the system owners should contact the hackers’ representatives during 72 hours after the attack. If you meet the 72-hour demand, hackers will grant a 50% discount, minimizing the ransom amount to $490.
However, I strongly recommend that you avoid paying the ransom! Do not contact these frauds and do not pay. The most efficient solution to retrieve the lost data is to use the available backups or use the Decrypter tool from Emsisoft.
The distinctiveness of such malware lies in employing a similar set of actions to generate the unique decryption key for recovering the encrypted data. Thus, unless the ransomware is still in the development stage or exhibits some hard-to-track encryption, manual data recovery is impossible. The only solution to prevent data loss is to regularly create backups of your crucial files.
Keep in mind that even if you regularly create backups, they should be stored in a specific location separate from your main workstation. For instance, the backup may be kept on a USB flash drive or an alternative external hard drive. Optionally, you may use online (cloud) information storage.
Needless to say, when you store your backup data on your regular device, it may be similarly encrypted as other data. For this reason, storing the backup on your main computer is certainly not a wise idea.
How To Remove Ransomware?
Remove Mzre 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 Mzre Virus 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.
How To Decrypt .mzre Files?
How to restore big files?
Try deleting .mzre extension on a few big files and opening them. This malware has issues with large files encryption. Either the virus scanned and did not lock the file, or it failed and did not add the filemarker. If you have files that are very large (2GB+), such a situation is highly probable. Please, text me in the comments whether this helped you or not.
As a result of the modifications made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer assisted. 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.
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:
As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:
Select folders for decryption.
Based on the default configurations, the decryptor will automatically choose the accessible directories in order to unlock the currently available drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. You can select additional 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 turned off there. You may discover a comprehensive list of the currently active Options below.
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:
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.
The Emsisoft Decryptor might display different messages after a failed attempt to restore your files:
✓ Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [your ID]
✓ No key for New Variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
✓ Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
It can take a few weeks or months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. Please follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here.
✓ Remote name could not be resolved
How to Restore .mzre Files?
In some case ransomware is not doom for your files…
The Mzre ransomware encryption mechanism algorithm is next: it encrypts every file byte-by-byte, then saves a file copy, erasing (not overriding!) the initial file. Hence, the information of the file placement on the physical disk is lost, but the original file is not erased from the disk. The cell, or the sector where this file was stored, can still contain this file, but it is not listed by the file system and can be rewritten by data that has been loaded to this disk after the deletion. Hence, it is possible to restore your files using special software.
Anyway, after realizing it was an online algorithm, it is impossible to retrieve my encrypted files. I also had my backup drive plugged in at the time of the virus, and this was also infected, or so I thought. Every folder within my backup drive had been infected and was encrypted. However, despite losing some important files, I retrieved almost 80% of my 2TB storage.
When I started going through the folders, I noticed the readme.txt ransom note in every folder. I opened some of the folders and found that all files that were not in a subfolder within that folder had been encrypted. However, I found a flaw and glimmer of hope when I went into the subfolders in other folders and found that these files had not been encrypted. Every folder within my c and d drives, including subfolders, had been encrypted, but this was not the case with the backup drive. Having subfolders created within a folder has saved 80% of my data.
As I said, I believe this to be only a small loophole on a backup drive. I’ve since found a further 10 % of my data on another hard drive on a different pc. So my advice is if you use a backup drive, create subfolders. I was lucky, I guess. But I was also unlucky that the virus hit as I was transferring some files from my backup.
Hopefully, this can help some other people in my situation.Jamie Newland
Recovering your files with PhotoRec
PhotoRec is an free open-source program, which is originally created for file retrieval from damaged disks, or for files recovery in case if they are unintentionally deleted. However, as time has gone by, this program adopted the ability to recover the files of 400 different file types. Hence, it can be used for file restoration after the Mzre attack.
First, you need to download this app. It is 100% free, but the developer notifies that there is no warranty that the files will be retrieved. PhotoRec is spread together with other utility of the same developer – TestDisk. The resulting archive will have TestDisk name, but don’t worry. PhotoRec files are right inside.
To launch PhotoRec, you need to find and open “qphotorec_win.exe” file. No installation process is needed – the program has all the files it need within the archive, hence, you can fit it on your USB drive, and try to help your friends/parents/anyone who has been attacked by Mzre ransomware.
After the launch, you will observe the screen showing you the complete list of your disks. However, this data is presumably useless, because the required menu is placed a bit higher. Click this bar, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.
After choosing the disk, you need to select the destination folder for the recovered files. This menu is located at the lower part of the PhotoRec window. The best selection is to export them on USB drive or any other type of removable disk.
Then, you need to designate the file formats. This feature is located at the bottom, too. As it was mentioned, PhotoRec can regain the files of about 400 different formats.
Finally, you can begin files retrieval by pressing the “Search” button. You will view the screen where the findings of the scan and recovery are shown.
Frequently Asked Questions
No way. These files are encrypted by ransomware. The contents of encrypted files are not available until they are decrypted.
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.
The Mzre 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 .MZRE Files?
Name: MZRE Ransomware
Description: The MZRE 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 mzre extension. As a result, the affected files become inaccessible and unusable. Subsequently, the MZRE 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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