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Remove Mischa ransomware / virus (Improved Instructions) - Jul 2017 update

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware

Mischa ransomware: Petya's evil little brother

An illustration of the Mischa ransomware virus

Mischa ransomware is a computer virus, affectionally addressed by its creators as a “little brother” of the infamous Petya virus[1] which recently became even more dangerous by employing a new tactic for extorting money from the infected computer users. It installs the already mentioned Mischa virus if the infiltration of the initial ransomware is unsuccessful, this way, protecting itself against failure.

If you are not yet familiar with the mechanics of the ransomware viruses, you should know that these programs infiltrate the users’ computer by deception and encrypt the containing data using an algorithm which is, to this day, impossible to crack.

Finally, the victim receives a note, in which he/she finds an indicated sum of money the ransomware developers demand in exchange of the files. It is not recommended to follow any of these instructions as you may end up with no files and robbed of your money as well. Instead, you should remove the virus from your computer immediately. Sophisticated anti-malware tools, such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, may help you in the process.

Recently, the creators of Mischa and Petya viruses initiated a Janus Cybercrime Solutions campaign which offers the regular users to become affiliates in ransomware distribution. After issuing a registration fee, the user is granted the name of an official distributor and can start making money. The share affiliates receive is calculated according to the payment volume they manage to generate in a week.

The larger the volume, the more you earn. Though taking part in such shady businesses is, obviously, very dangerous and illegal, it is likely that some evil-minded individuals will sign up. Thus, these infections will become even more dangerous. We encourage you to take all measures possible to protect your system before it is too late.

Mischa ransomware virusMischa ransomware virus encrypts files and demands ransom. In most cases, Mischa is distributed in tandem with Petya ransomware.

How does this ransomware act on the infected computer?

Since the mechanics of Petya virus are much more complicated, and it requires to gain an administrative privilege to initiate its malicious processes, the rather simple way Mischa infiltrates the system is a convenient backup plan for the Petya virus.

Unlike Petya, which needs administrative privileges to modify the master boot record (MBR), Mischa is simply installed on the computer and immediately starts scanning it for files. This virus, as well as the majority of other ransomware, targets documents, videos, images, archives but may easily infect applications, i.e. the .exe files, as well.

Once the encryption is completed, an additional 4-digit extension is then added to the infected documents and applications. From this point on, the files on the computer are not accessible anymore.

As soon as the users realize that they have lost access to their data, the ransomware drops documents labeled as YOUR_FILES_ARE_ENCRYPTED.HTML and YOUR_FILES_ARE_ENCRYPTED.TXT to every folder of the corrupted device. In these documents, the ransomware developers state their conditions. At the moment, the victims are asked to pay 1.93 Bitcoins (which is equal around $875 USD) for the decryption key.

However, there is no guarantee that the sum will not be increased. Next in the ransom note are the links to TOR network websites, through which the victim must transfer payment. The user is given a special code which he/she has to submit upon paying the ransom. Unfortunately, there is no way to decrypt the locked files without paying. But transferring money to some obscure cyber criminals’ account is not the best idea either.

The best option, in this case, is to remove Mischa virus from the infected computer and recover files from a backup. You can also try to restoring them using special data recovery tools.

Mischa returns in GoldenEye ransomware combo

GoldenEye is a ransomware duo including Petya and Mischa virus. Once run, the virus saves itself in %APPDATA% folder under the name of the random system application. It automatically launches and starts encrypting victim's files.
The malware attempts to bypass UAC and to launch the second attack using Petya ransomware.

The virus easily bypasses UAC if it is set to default or lower. In case it is set to max, the UAC window keeps appearing repeatedly until the victim allows the program to make changes to the computer.

During the data encryption process, Mischa creates a YOUR_FILES_ARE_ENCRYPTED.txt file with instructions on how to access darknet page with instructions on how to recover encrypted data. The virus corrupts each file with a new key or an initialization vector. Research suggests that the ransomware employs AES in CBC mode encryption algorithm.

The low-level part (in case the victim doesn't allow the program to make changes via UAC) uses Petya ransomware, which performs Master File Table encryption. The ransomware then displays a yellow blinking screen with a skull on it. The  GoldenEye ransomware was later distributed via an affiliate scheme, although before it has been circulated via phishing emails mostly.

Mischa not involved in the latest global cyberattack

The cyber attack that took place on June 27-28 in 2017[2] has wreaked havoc on thousands of computers worldwide, primarily in Ukraine. Most affected countries were UK, Germany[3], France, and many others.

Presumptions that it was Petya ransomware were denied because it was actually a modified version of the virus. In fact, the developers of the real Petya/GoldenEye/Mischa viruses verified that the ransomware used in the cyber attack wasn't Petya.

Therefore, the infamous virus quickly dubbed as NotPetya or ExPetr. However, it shortly became clear that the ransomware used in June 2017 cyber attack wasn't even a ransomware – it worked as a wiper that destroys files and leaves no possibility to recover them.

Questions about Mischa ransomware virus

It turned out that NotPetya was generated random code shown as victim's ID. It means that even cyber criminals cannot get any decryption information from such string; therefore they can't help victims even if they decide to pay the ransom. Apparently, if you became a victim, do not pay up. It won't help you to restore files no matter what.

The good thing is, after the global NotPetya attack, the developer of Petya/Mischa/GoldenEye released the master decryption key, allowing victims to retrieve their files for free. To recover files encrypted by this ransomware, use instructions provided below the article. Before you attempt to use the decrypter, take care of Mischa removal first.

How can Mischa infect your computer?

Usually, the malicious Petya-Mischa bundle travels via deceptive emails, which feature a link to an online cloud containing a PDF file of a supposed job application. In reality, there is no job application and by clicking the indicated link, the user simply downloads the executive virus file on the computer.

Once downloaded the file will look like a regular PDF document. If the user opens this file, a malicious script activates the virus, and the virus installation begins. First, the executive file will try to install Petya. If for some reason, that fails, Mischa ransomware will then be installed on the computer.

A way to avoid having your computer infected with a ransomware virus is by obtaining a reputable antivirus software, which will provide you with some extra protection against these viruses. Also, you should be especially careful with your email as well.

Stay away from the “Spam” catalog as most of the malicious emails usually end up there. You should always pay attention to the received emails, and look for clues such as grammar and spelling mistakes, insisting tone and similar suspicious characteristics. Most importantly, you should keep a backup of your files in some external storage drive and update it regularly.

However, we have to warn you not to leave the drive plugged in at all times because the Mischa virus can easily infiltrate and encrypt the files in your external drive as well.

Removing Mischa ransomware from the system

To make your PC function normally again, the only option you have is to remove Mischa virus from your computer. Unfortunately, the virus removal will not return your files, but if you want to keep using your device normally again, you must clear it of all the malicious components.

For that, you should use sophisticated and acknowledged antivirus utilities. But remember, this ransomware attempts to stop security programs from running, so your antivirus may struggle to remove the threat. In this case, you can try decontaminating the virus manually by closely following Mischa removal instructions provided below. Just do not forget to scan your computer after you remove the virus to make sure no malicious residue files are left on your PC!

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove 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.

To remove Mischa virus, follow these steps:

Remove Mischa using Safe Mode with Networking

Removing Mischa can be hard. We strongly suggest you to reboot your PC into Safe Mode with Networking to initiate the removal process. Otherwise, you might not be able to run your security programs at all. Remember – do not attempt to remove the virus manually unless you are a professional malware analyst.

  • 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 Mischa

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

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

Remove Mischa using System Restore

If the first option didn't help with Mischa removal, try this one.

  • 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 Mischa. 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 Reimage Cleaner Intego and make sure that Mischa removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Lately, the developer of Petya and Mischa viruses, known as “Janus,” released a master decryption key. Soon enough malware analysts created a free decryption tool that helps to recover files encrypted by Mischa/Petya/GoldenEye. You can find its download link down below.

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

Use Mischa Decryptor

  1. To recover your files, open the ransom note and copy your victim's ID. Create a Notebook (.txt) file and, paste and save the victim's ID here.
  2. Download this decrypter to decrypt the key. Copy the decrypted version of the key and then download one of the programs you need:
  3. Use the instructions provided in the Decryptor to restore your files.

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

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. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

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 server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

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. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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  1. bellie says:
    May 14th, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Cool, thats some serious virus! I like reading about those

  2. Gallileoo33 says:
    May 14th, 2016 at 7:19 am

    ALMOST got infected! I literally received an email like that!! SO SCARY

  3. splitinWeeb says:
    May 14th, 2016 at 7:20 am

    I tired everything.. nothing seems to help with the decyption…

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