Irjg ransomware (virus) - Decryption Steps Included

Irjg virus Removal Guide

What is Irjg ransomware?

Irjg ransomware virus is the file-locking infection that marks data using particular .irjg appendix once files get encrypted

Irjg ransomwareThe virus creates issues with the machine when particular files get locked

Irjg ransomware is a form of cryptovirus that focuses on file locking, so cryptocurrency payments can be demanded from the victim directly. That is done via ransom note file _readme.txt that appears on the desktop and in folders when encryption procedures are complete.[1] The infection starts when the pirated file or software gets downloaded. Viruses can quickly go through the stored files and find data fitting to get encrypted.

Even though there are some additional processes that virus triggers it starts with encryption. To make the victim clueless, ransomware delivers the particularly deceiving Windows update window on the screen to mask the file locking procedure. The person can’t know what happens and what causes all the issues with the speed and performance.

These are the first steps of the infection, but once the Irjg virus achieves the goal of locking possibly valuable data, the threat can leave the machine and place the ransom note with all the instructions. In most cases, virus developers are the ones that create the code, but there are additional people who deploy this infection around and ensure that payments are demanded. This family is requiring $490/$980 in Bitcoin and the sooner victims contact these people via email the lower the price is. However, after the 72-hour mark, the price gets to $980 and cannot be lowered. Payment transfer instructions get listed in the ransom message, but this is not the best solution.

It is possible that decryption tools will get developed after the release of this threat, but it takes a long time. People would like to use the machine right away and recover the needed functions as soon as possible. It is not safe when the virus is still active. We can only suggest storing some of the malicious files, encoded data on separate storage like a USB key, and wait for the improvements. Meantime, you can remove the infection, repair functions, and replace affected files using data backups yourself.

Name Irjg virus
Type Ransomware, file-locker
Family Djvu/ STOP ransomware
File marker .irjg is the appendix appearing on every locked file indicating which data got altered
Distribution Cracked software, game cheats, other pieces downloaded from the pirating, torrent platforms
Ransom note _readme.txt
Contact email manager@mailtemp.ch, supporthelp@airmail.cc
Amount demanded $980, but criminals offer the discount to $490 in the first 72 hours
Removal The best option for ransomware is to remove the infection using anti-malware tools. Such software can find malicious files and terminate the processes
System repair Proper recovery of the machine includes repairing the file damage and clearing virus leftovers. System optimization like ReimageIntego can help with such issues

A deeper look into the ransomware

Irjg is the name of a file-locking virus variant that belongs to an ever-growing family called Djvu ransomware. The group of threats is known to be distributed for years now. Each week is coming with a new version released into the wild. It encrypts files, appends .irjg extension onto their filenames, and creates a ransom note file with instructions on the payment.

This ransomware is a specific kind of malware that encrypts your documents and then forces you to pay for them. Since the family is known for a while contacting these people is not recommended. Paying is also not an option. Djvu/STOP ransomware family was first revealed and discovered by virus analysts in 2018, but since then many advanced techniques got employed.

This new Irjg ransomware has many similarities with other DJVU based viruses like Tisc or Rigd, Nqsq in terms of how they work on files. Once these cryptocurrency extortion-based threats get successfully executed, the malware creates many processes to force the persistence.

The note informs victims that they cannot decrypt files without the right decryption software and key, which cost $490 or $980 depending on how fast victims will contact them. The first 72 hours should give the 50% discount. However, paying criminals is dangerous. You should remove the infection, repair as many files as you can ignore any additional messages from criminals.

Irjg virusThe file-locker marks affected data with the particular appendix

More detailed payment information is provided after writing an email to manager@mailtemp.ch, or supporthelp@airmail.cc. Before paying a ransom/purchasing tools for unlocking encrypted data, victims can send one file in exchange- not more than 1MB -to get it back decrypted. This is the false tactic created to fake trust between the Irjg virus victim and virus creators.

Anti-malware tools are the best for such infections because software like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes can scan the computer and locate possibly malicious files, data related to the infection. Termination takes minutes and the detection rate[2] shows that threats like this ransomware can be removed with AV-detection applications.

However, when the system gets infected with malware, its system is changed to operate differently. The 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 Irjg file virus, antivirus software is not capable of doing anything about it, leaving it just the way it is.

It is highly recommended by various experts[3] that using a one-of-a-kind, patented technology of ReimageIntego can solve these performance issues. 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
  • The analysis of your machine will begin immediately
  • 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

What can be done without paying?

If the Irjg ransomware uses an offline key that’s shared by all users – encryption can be possible. The algorithm produces this unique code before encrypting files. However, this is the method used years before. Not the proper connection is helpful between the virus and the C&C server, so each victim gets the unique ID needed for the decryption of the data. Making this version non-decryptable.

If criminals don’t have an Internet connection during the encryption process, the malware will try using offline mode which means both victims should have the same keys. This helps with the existing decryption tool from Emsisoft. But this is the rare occasion not occurring for these past years. You should try using Emsisoft decryptor for Djvu/STOP even when you do not know exactly.

Even if your case meets this condition, however, somebody from the Irjg virus victims has to pay criminals, retrieve an offline key, and then share it with security researchers at Emsisoft. As a result, you might not be able to restore the encrypted files immediately. Thus, if the decryptor says your data was locked with an offline ID but cannot be recovered currently, you should try later. You also need to upload a set of files – one encrypted and a healthy one to the company’s servers before you proceed.

  • Download the app from the official Emsisoft website.Irjg ransomware
  • After pressing Download button, a small pop-up at the bottom, titled decrypt_STOPDjvu.exe should show up – click it.
    Irjg ransomware
  • If User Account Control (UAC) message shows up, press Yes.
  • Agree to License Terms by pressing Yes.
  • After Disclaimer shows up, press OK.
  • The tool should automatically populate the affected folders, although you can also do it by pressing Add folder at the bottom.
    Irjg ransomware
  • Press Decrypt.

Additional tips for ransomware victims

There are several universal methods for decrypting encrypted files and removing the threat, despite the decryption keys. Make sure you read each instruction carefully before starting (skip any steps at your own risk). If you want to have your files safe, make sure to clear the infection before doing anything else. Otherwise, you might risk getting data encrypted when you recover files with the backups.

Ransomware can be active and triggered processes can still run for a while damaging the machine and performance. However, you can remove the Irjg ransomware and any other programs related to this virus, so the system can be recovered and used again. Any active intruders may trigger another round of file locking or different processes.

Virus detectionThe threat can be detected by the AV tools because malicious pieces trigger problems on the PC

However, make sure that removing the threat is not the same as decryption of encoded files. Even when the SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes get used to terminate the infection, malware elimination does not equal virus decryption or file recovery. Of course, this is a really serious concern for victims so we list a few alternatives below for the decryption tools.

The Irjg virus termination can be difficult, so we also include some tips for the removal process when using AV tools since those get disabled or blocked by the infection. Do not forget to double-check before running any data backups, file recovery software, and run the tool like ReimageIntego to repair features and programs of the computer.

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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 Irjg 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.

Identify ransomware affecting your PC

Modern-day ransomware had its roots in the early 2010s when cybercriminals began to understand the potential it has for money extortion. Over the years, thousands of new ransomware strains have been developed and spread all over the world, infecting regular consumers, small businesses, and high-profile organizations.

Because of the lucrative nature of ransomware, cybercriminals are creating new ransomware versions in the hopes of establishing themselves in this illegal business. Ransomware often uses different extensions, ransom notes, and other attributes that it can be identified by. However, quite often, this information can overlap or simply not be available, so identifying the threat might be difficult.

In order to deal with ransomware infection effectively, you must first identify it. Here are a few examples of how to determine the precise ransomware you are dealing with:

File extension

Almost all modern ransomware viruses are using extensions that are appended at the end of the original filenames. However, this is not a rule, and in some cases, cybercriminals change the name by replacing it with randomly generated characters, add the marker before the file name, or do not visually change the name of the file at all.

Here you can see an example of a unique extension .hhmgzyl that belongs to the Snatch ransomware family:

Hhmgzyl extension

If your files are appended with .exe, .locked, .encrypted, or other broadly-used extensions that are difficult to identify, proceed with the next step.

Ransom note

Ransomware family might sometimes be identified by the ransom note it uses. In most cases, cybercriminals create a simple .txt file and place it on users' desktops or other places that are easily reachable (typically, where the encrypted data is located). Other times, a pop-up window can also be used, which is launched as soon as the encryption is complete. In some cases, threat actors name the ransomware within this note:

Phobos ransomware

In some cases, it is possible to identify ransomware by its ransom note name, but they are typically very generic (e.g., FILES ENCRYPTED.txt, _readme.txt) and used by different cybercriminals groups.

Free ID Ransomware service

ID Ransomware is a free service that can easily let users identify the precise malware they are dealing with. All you have to do is upload the ransom note that can be found on the desktop and within folders where encrypted files are located and the sample of an encrypted file.

ID Ransomware

Soon after uploading the required files, you will be provided with all the relevant information, including what family ransomware belongs to and whether or not it is possible to decrypt files.

If none of the above helped you to identify which ransomware you are dealing with, you should use keywords (extension, contact email, ransom note contents, crypto-wallet address, etc.) to find the information on the internet.

Isolate the infected computer

Some ransomware strains aim to infect not only one computer but hijack the entire network. As soon as one of the machines is infected, malware can spread via network and encrypt files everywhere else, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. If your computer is connected to a network, it is important to isolate it to prevent re-infection after ransomware removal is complete.

The easiest way to disconnect a PC from everything is simply to plug out the ethernet cable. However, in the corporate environment, this might be extremely difficult to do (also would take a long time). The method below will disconnect from all the networks, including local and the internet, isolating each of the machines involved.

  • Type in Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter
  • Go to Network and Internet Network and internet
  • Click Network and Sharing Center Network and internet 2
  • On the left, pick Change adapter settings Network and internet 3
  • Right-click on your connection (for example, Ethernet), and select Disable Network and internet 4
  • Confirm with Yes.

If you are using some type of cloud storage you are connected to, you should disconnect from it immediately. It is also advisable to disconnect all the external devices, such as USB flash sticks, external HDDs, etc. Once the malware elimination process is finished, you can connect your computers to the network and internet, as explained above, but by pressing Enable instead.

Restore Windows "hosts" file to its original state

Some ransomware might modify Windows hosts file in order to prevent users from accessing certain websites online. For example, Djvu ransomware variants add dozens of entries containing URLs of security-related websites, such as 2-spyware.com. Each of the entries means that users will not be able to access the listed web addresses and will receive an error instead.

Here's an example of “hosts” file entries that were injected by ransomware:

Hosts file

In order to restore your ability to access all websites without restrictions, you should either delete the file (Windows will automatically recreate it) or remove all the malware-created entries. If you have never touched the “hosts” file before, you should simply delete it by marking it and pressing Shift + Del on your keyboard. For that, navigate to the following location:

C:\\Windows\\System32\\drivers\\etc\\

Delete Windows "hosts" file

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

Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future

One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.

Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:

  • Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
  • Use cloud storage services.

The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.

Using Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here's how to setup backups for OneDrive:

  1. Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
  2. Select Help & Settings > Settings.
    Go to OneDrive settings
  3. If you don't see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.
    Add OneDrive account
  4. Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
    Manage backup
  5. Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
  6. Press Start backup.
    Pick which folders to sync

After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).

Using Google Drive

Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.

You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.

  1. Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.
    Install Google Drive app
  2. Wait a few seconds for it to be installed. Complete installation
  3. Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.
    Google Drive Sign in
  4. Click Get Started. Backup and sync
  5. Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password. Enter email/phone
  6. Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
  7. Once done, pick Next. Choose what to sync
  8. Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
  9. Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.

Report the incident to your local authorities

Ransomware is a huge business that is highly illegal, and authorities are very involved in catching malware operators. To have increased chances of identifying the culprits, the agencies need information. Therefore, by reporting the crime, you could help with stopping the cybercriminal activities and catching the threat actors. Make sure you include all the possible details, including how did you notice the attack, when it happened, etc. Additionally, providing documents such as ransom notes, examples of encrypted files, or malware executables would also be beneficial.

Law enforcement agencies typically deal with online fraud and cybercrime, although it depends on where you live. Here is the list of local authority groups that handle incidents like ransomware attacks, sorted by country:

Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3

If your country is not listed above, you should contact the local police department or communications center.

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Important! →
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.

Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking

Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment. 

Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
    Settings
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
    Reboot
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes

Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
    Startup

Step 4. Delete virus files

Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Downloads
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.

 

Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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References
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