BlackMist ransomware / virus (Removal Instructions) - Decryption Methods Included

BlackMist virus Removal Guide

What is BlackMist ransomware virus?

Authors of BlackMist threaten to start deleting encrypted files after 24 hours

Ransom note by BlackMist ransomware

BlackMist is a ransomware-type cyber infection that is still in development. Nonetheless, it seems like it can file encryption, and it uses AES[1] cipher to perform this task. Suchlike locked files are then appended with .BlackMist extension and can no longer be accessed by the users, no matter which program they try to use to open them with (the action will come up as an error instead).

The main goal of the virus is to hold the files hostage until users give in and pay a ransom in bitcoins worth $100 to the attackers. To make matters worse, a ransom note, titled by the same name, also claims that files will begin to be deleted after 24 hours of the infection. Paying criminals is not recommended, however, as they might simply scam you. Instead, rely on alternative methods for data recovery we provide below. Keep in mind that you need to remove malware from your system before you do that.

Name BlackMist
Type Ransomware
Cipher used AES
File extension Once installed, each of the personal files is appended with .BlackMist extension
Ransom size $100 to be paid in Bitcoin cryptocurrency
Removal Perform a full system scan with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner anti-malware software
System fix To remediate Windows system files and prevent crashes or errors, scan your machine with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner
File recovery Refer to section of the bottom of this article

On the affected computer, the virus is loaded from the BlackMist.exe file. The ransomware targets only own directory: C:\Users\[Username]. However, it can encrypt the majority of different types of files stored there, including audio, video, documents, images, backups, and similar data.

The ransomware is also expected to delete Shadow Volume Copies which are crucial in data recovery. However, in this way, crooks can easily get money from desperate computer users who need their files back right now. However, paying the ransom may not be an effective data recovery method.

The ransom note has two tabs – “Info” and “Dashboard.” In the first tab, cybercriminals note that users have 48 hours to transfer the money. The timer at the bottom of the ransom-demanding window shows the estimated time. However, after 24 hours, the virus claims to delete a random portion of the files. The deletion of records continues each following hour until all files will be gone for good after two days.

It’s still unknown if the BlackMist virus can do this harmful activity or not. However, it’s pretty clear that crooks want to make people terrified. They also tell that closing the program or turning off the computer will delete personal files. Though, it’s not likely to happen.

It’s important to scan the computer with an antivirus program to remove malware from your system. After the attack, the malware also makes modifications to the system. It might alter Windows Registry and install malicious entries as well. Thus, you will no longer be able to use your computer safely and normally until you get rid of the virus.

For the removal process, we recommend choosing ReimageIntego. However, you can choose your preferred tool as well. We want to warn you that crypto-virus may prevent you from installing or scanning the system with security software. Thus, you may need to reboot the computer to Safe Mode first.

BlackMist ransomware virus attackAfter data encryption, the virus delivers a threatening ransom note with a timer.

Ransomware distribution methods and tips to avoid the attack

The file-encrypting virus might infiltrate the system via:

  • malicious spam emails and their attachments;
  • malware-laden ads;
  • bogus or illegal software downloads;
  • fake updates;
  • unprotected RDP connections;
  • exploit kits.

As you can see, attackers might reach you using various ways. Thus, in order to protect your PC and data, you have to:[1]

  • be careful with email attachments and open them only if you are 100% certain that it’s a legit file;
  • do not click on suspicious or “too-good-to-be-true” ads;
  • install programs from the reliable sources and trusted developers;
  • do not agree to install updates from pop-ups;
  • keep your programs updated;
  • install all available system updates;
  • protect your PC with professional antivirus.

Security experts from Poland[2] claim that it’s easy to get tricked by cyber criminals even if you are aware of these security tips. Thus, you should backup up your files and updated them regularly in order to survive a ransomware attack without any damage.

Wipe out BlackMist from the PC

No matter that virus threatens to delete your files, you should not listen to these talks. Obtain an antivirus program, for instance SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes, and start the BlackMist removal procedure. Run a full system scan with your chosen tool several times to ensure that all malicious files and programs are eliminated.

It is important to note that if you do not have backups available, you should copy all the encrypted files onto another storage device before you proceed with further actions. You can find how to proceed with the process correctly below. Also, we provide information on how to attempt to restore your data without paying criminals for the decryptor.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of BlackMist virus. Follow these steps

Important steps to take before you begin malware removal

File encryption and ransomware infection are two independent processes (although the latter would not be possible without the former). However, it is important to understand that malware performs various changes within a Windows operating system, fundamentally changing the way it works.

IMPORTANT for those without backups! → 
If you attempt to use security or recovery software immediately, you might permanently damage your files, and even a working decryptor then would not be able to save them.

Before you proceed with the removal instructions below, you should copy the encrypted files onto a separate medium, such as USB flash drive or SSD, and then disconnect them from your computer. Encrypted data does not hold any malicious code, so it is safe to transfer to other devices.

The instructions below might initially seem overwhelming and complicated, but they are not difficult to understand as long as you follow each step in the appropriate order. This comprehensive free guide will help you to handle the malware removal and data recovery process correctly.

If you have any questions, comments, or are having troubles with following the instructions, please do not hesitate to contact us via the Ask Us section.

IMPORTANT! →
It is vital to eliminate malware infection from the computer fully before starting the data recovery process, otherwise ransomware might re-encrypt retrieved files from backups repeatedly.

Scan your system with anti-malware

If you are a victim of ransomware, you should employ anti-malware software for its removal. Some ransomware can self-destruct after the file encryption process is finished. Even in such cases, malware might leave various data-stealing modules or could operate in conjunction with other malicious programs on your device. 

SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes can detect and eliminate all ransomware-related files, additional modules, along with other viruses that could be hiding on your system. The security software is really easy to use and does not require any prior IT knowledge to succeed in the malware removal process.

Repair damaged system components

Once a computer is infected with malware, its system is changed to operate differently. For example, an infection can alter the Windows registry database, damage vital bootup and other sections, delete or corrupt DLL files, etc. Once a system file is damaged by malware, antivirus software is not capable of doing anything about it, leaving it just the way it is. Consequently, users might experience performance, stability, and usability issues, to the point where a full Windows reinstall is required.

Therefore, we highly recommend using a one-of-a-kind, patented technology of ReimageIntego repair. Not only can it fix virus damage after the infection, but it is also capable of removing malware that has already broken into the system thanks to several engines used by the program. Besides, the application is also capable of fixing various Windows-related issues that are not caused by malware infections, for example, Blue Screen errors, freezes, registry errors, damaged DLLs, etc.

  • Download the application by clicking on the link above
  • Click on the ReimageRepair.exe
    Reimage download
  • If User Account Control (UAC) shows up, select Yes
  • Press Install and wait till the program finishes the installation process Reimage installation
  • The analysis of your machine will begin immediately Reimage scan
  • Once complete, check the results – they will be listed in the Summary
  • You can now click on each of the issues and fix them manually
  • If you see many problems that you find difficult to fix, we recommend you purchase the license and fix them automatically. Reimage results

By employing ReimageIntego, you would not have to worry about future computer issues, as most of them could be fixed quickly by performing a full system scan at any time. Most importantly, you could avoid the tedious process of Windows reinstallation in case things go very wrong due to one reason or another.

Restore files using data recovery software

Since many users do not prepare proper data backups prior to being attacked by ransomware, they might often lose access to their files permanently. Paying criminals is also very risky, as they might not fulfill the promises and never send back the required decryption tool.

While this might sound terrible, not all is lost – data recovery software might be able to help you in some situations (it highly depends on the encryption algorithm used, whether ransomware managed to complete the programmed tasks, etc.). Since there are thousands of different ransomware strains, it is immediately impossible to tell whether third-party software will work for you.

Therefore, we suggest trying regardless of which ransomware attacked your computer. Before you begin, several pointers are important while dealing with this situation:

  • Since the encrypted data on your computer might permanently be damaged by security or data recovery software, you should first make backups of it – use a USB flash drive or another storage.
  • Only attempt to recover your files using this method after you perform a scan with anti-malware software.

Install data recovery software

  1. Download Data Recovery Pro.
  2. Double-click the installer to launch it.
    Launch installer
  3. Follow on-screen instructions to install the software. Install program
  4. As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
  5. Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from. Select what to recover
  6. Press Next.
  7. At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned. Select Deep scan
  8. Press Scan and wait till it is complete. Scan
  9. You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
  10. Press Recover to retrieve your files. Recover files

Find a working decryptor for your files

File encryption is a process that is similar to applying a password to a particular file or folder. However, from a technical point of view, encryption is fundamentally different due to its complexity. By using encryption, threat actors use a unique set of alphanumeric characters as a password that can not easily be deciphered if the process is performed correctly.

There are several algorithms that can be used to lock data (whether for good or bad reasons); for example, AES uses the symmetric method of encryption, meaning that the key used to lock and unlock files is the same. Unfortunately, it is only accessible to the attackers who hold it on a remote server – they ask for a payment in exchange for it. This simple principle is what allows ransomware authors to prosper in this illegal business.

While many high-profile ransomware strains such as Djvu or Dharma use immaculate encryption methods, there are plenty of failures that can be observed within the code of some novice malware developers. For example, the keys could be stored locally, which would allow users to regain access to their files without paying. In some cases, ransomware does not even encrypt files due to bugs, although victims might believe the opposite due to the ransom note that shows up right after the infection and data encryption is completed.

Therefore, regardless of which crypto-malware affects your files, you should try to find the relevant decryptor if such exists. Security researchers are in a constant battle against cybercriminals. In some cases, they manage to create a working decryption tool that would allow victims to recover files for free.

Once you have identified which ransomware you are affected by, you should check the following links for a decryptor:

No More Ransom Project

If you can't find a decryptor that works for you, you should try the alternative methods we list below. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that it sometimes takes years for a working decryption tool to be developed, so there are always hopes for the future.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from BlackMist and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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