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MacAndChess ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware

MacAndChess ransomware is on the hunt for unprotected computers

Questions about MacAndChess ransomware virus

MacAndChess virus is a brand new ransomware sample based on educational ransomware[1] source code. It is yet another HiddenTear[2] copy, which calls itself MacAndChess ransomware. The virus damages all victim’s files one after another, making them inaccessible, and the process that encrypts data also appends .locked file extension to every encrypted file. The virus ruins documents, pictures, videos, and other important files[3], and then creates a ransom note called READ_IT.txt. There’s not a lot of information in this document, just the most important details – the criminals say that victim’s files were hacked by the MacAndChess ransomware and that the user has to send an email at and ask criminals to provide data decryption solution. It seems that MacAndChess developers are ready for a little chit-chat with each victim individually. It just shows that they are not experienced enough to create individual Tor payment sites[4] for each victim to avoid direct communication with them.

If MacAndChess ransomware attacked your PC, you need to remove the virus from the system first. For that, please use advanced virus removal tools. If you have an antivirus or anti-malware program already, do not forget to update it to its latest version before you run a system scan with it. If you do not have such program, consider installing one of the programs that our team recommends – for example, Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. Speaking of data decryption, we must say that it is the most complicated part when dealing with consequences of MacAndChess ransomware attack. Some basic HiddenTear decryptors can help to restore files encrypted by particular HiddenTear spin-offs[5]. The most effective way to restore your files is to import them from a backup, sadly, many PC users do not consider them useful until they actually experience a ransomware attack. However, if you have a backup, remove MacAndChess ransomware with anti-malware software and start fixing the computer system right away. Before you launch your anti-malware program, read MacAndChess removal instructions provided under the article. You will need to restart your PC in a special mode so that the malware couldn’t block your security software.

Tricks that ransomware developers use to distribute malware

Although it is not entirely clear how this particular malware variant spreads, we are almost 100% sure that it spreads via mail spam. The fact that the virus is created using HiddenTear virus’ source code indicates that the virus was created by mid-level programmers. Apparently, they didn’t demonstrate excellent software development skills, therefore, they also do not use any outstanding tricks for MacAndChess distribution. Just like majority of computer viruses, these scammers masquerade the file and send it to victims via email. The infected attachment might not look dangerous at all, but do not be naive and do not open files sent by unknown senders! Scammers will try to convince you to open fake invoices, archives, documents, or JavaScript files, which will either appear to be the ransomware executive themselves or just tools that download the ransomware from a remote server. If you are extremely curious about a particular attachment, save it to your computer and scan it with anti-malware tool rather than just opening it right away.

Ways to remove MacAndChess ransomware

While technically it is possible to remove MacAndChess virus manually, we highly recommend you not even to try to do so. Of course, if you are a highly skilled programmer who knows what tools to use to detect all components of ransomware, and if you know how to configure Windows Registry entries, then it shouldn’t be too hard to detect and eliminate components of this virus manually. However, if you aren’t a skilled programmer, better rely on automatic MacAndChess removal tool, for instance, anti-spyware or anti-malware program. The reason why we do not recommend using antivirus software is that anti-malware/anti-spyware software can detect a much larger scale of potentially dangerous or malicious programs. Before you attempt to launch virus removal program, reboot your PC according to instructions provided below.

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If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall MacAndChess ransomware virus. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
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To remove MacAndChess virus, follow these steps:

Remove MacAndChess using Safe Mode with Networking

Use this tutorial to remove MacAndChess ransomware virus with anti-malware program. You need to reboot your computer and run it in a specific mode.

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove MacAndChess

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete MacAndChess removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove MacAndChess using System Restore

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of MacAndChess. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with Reimage and make sure that MacAndChess removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove MacAndChess from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by security experts.

If MacAndChess corrupted your files, you can try using HiddenTear decryptor, which, unfortunately, doesn’t work for all HiddenTear versions. However, this tool definitely deserves your attention. You can find its download link below. However, if you have a data backup, you won’t even need to try the decryptor – just delete the virus and use your backup.

If your files are encrypted by MacAndChess, you can use several methods to restore them:

Recover files via System Restore Point

If you are a security-minded computer user, you probably created a System Restore point in the past. Now, you can take advantage of this feature and restore files this way:

  • Find an encrypted file you need to restore and right-click on it;
  • Select “Properties” and go to “Previous versions” tab;
  • Here, check each of available copies of the file in “Folder versions”. You should select the version you want to recover and click “Restore”.

HiddenTear Decryptor

There is a tool called HiddenTear decryptor, which helps to recover files encrypted by several HiddenTear-based viruses. You should try it: download the HiddenTear decryptor. If this tool doesn’t help you to restore .locked files, we suggest checking for updates in website.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from MacAndChess and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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