Mztu ransomware (virus) - Free Instructions

Mztu virus Removal Guide

What is Mztu ransomware?

Mztu ransomware – a dangerous computer virus that can leave you without access to your files

Mztu virusMztu is a dangerous computer virus that locks all files on the drive

Mztu is a destructive computer virus that can lock down all of your personal documents, videos, pictures, databases, and more with its RSA encryption algorithm. This complex code is difficult to break without the decryption key located on cybercriminals’ servers – making it practically impossible for you to reclaim access to your data.

By adding a .mztu extension to files and removing the original icons, victims of this virus are left with documents that can no longer be accessed. This sort of disruption is particularly detrimental for those who don't have backups of their crucial data.

Once a system is breached by malware, an extortion file _readme.txt will be delivered, which demands payment in the form of cryptocurrency – typically $480/$980 worth of Bitcoin. Hackers may also offer victims a chance to proceed with test decryption as proof that their files can actually be recovered; corresponding emails for this purpose are support@freshmail.top and datarestorehelp@airmail.cc, although cybersecurity experts recommend avoiding any contact with them.

Name Mztu virus
Type Ransomware, file-locking malware
File extension .mztu extension affixed to all personal files, rendering them useless
Family Djvu
Ransom note _readme.txt dropped at every location where encrypted files are located
Contact support@freshmail.top and datarestorehelp@airmail.cc
File Recovery There is no guaranteed way to recover locked files without backups. Other options include paying cybercriminals (not recommended, might also lose the paid money), using Emisoft's decryptor (works for a limited number of victims), or using third-party recovery software
Malware removal After disconnecting the computer from the network and the internet, do a complete system scan using the SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner security program
System fix As soon as it is installed, malware has the potential to severely harm some system files, causing instability problems, including crashes and errors. Any such damage can be automatically repaired by using ReimageIntego PC repair

The ransom note

After successfully infiltrating a system and encrypting the victim's files, the Mztu virus opens _readme.txt ransom note informing users of their encrypted documents and demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key. The message usually consists of instructions on how to make the payment as well as an incentive – victims can pay quickly to reduce the amount asked for ransom. It is simply another trick to make people pay more often than not. The note says:

ATTENTION!

Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files like pictures, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
https://we.tl/t-cud8EGMtyB
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail “Spam” or “Junk” folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
support@freshmail.top

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
datarestorehelp@airmail.cc

Your personal ID:

Mztu ransomwareMztu stems from a prolific ransomware family known as Djvu

What is Mztu virus, and where does it comes from?

First discovered in 2017, Djvu, which Mztu originates from, is one of the largest ransomware families out there – it has more than 600 variants released to date, including Mzop, Poqw, Bozq, and many others. Most of the time, malware creators spread these versions via pirated program installers or software cracks, so it is vital to stay away from those as much as possible in order to avoid any serious infections such as ransomware.

In order to maximize the efficiency of these viruses, they encrypt a variety of file formats, including JPG, DOC, XLSX, and more. However, it specifically avoids harming system files such as executables so that your device is still operational; their primary motive isn't necessarily to compromise your computer's operating system, but sometimes damage can arise from this infection.

When it comes to data recovery, some people might opt to pay the decryption fee, which we highly discourage doing, as there is never a guarantee that cybercriminals would deliver the provided key or even that it would work in case they do. As a result, you risk wasting your money along with your files. Instead, please check out our instructions below that could help you with alternative possible file restoration methods.

How to avoid being infected with ransomware or other dangerous threats

As a home user, there are several steps you can take to avoid getting infected with ransomware. One of the most important is to keep your computer and all of its software up to date. This means making sure that your operating system, web browser, and any other programs you use are running the latest versions, as these updates often include security patches that can protect you from known vulnerabilities.

Another important step is to be cautious when opening emails and attachments, especially from unknown senders. Many types of ransomware are spread through phishing emails that try to trick you into clicking on a malicious link or attachment. It is also important to be careful when visiting websites, as some sites may be designed to download malware automatically onto your computer. Additionally, using reputable and up-to-date antivirus software can also provide an extra layer of protection.

Malware removal from the system

Before attempting to restore the encrypted data, it is vital to remove the Mztu virus from your computer. To prevent any further harm and increase the chances of data recovery, it is critical to adhere to these steps in their specific order. The initial step should focus on the complete removal of ransomware from your system.

If your computer has been infected with malware, the first step to protect it and other devices on your network are to unplug it from any internet connection. Malware can communicate back to a remote Command & Control server through internet connections, so severing this link will put an end to any malicious activity.

Once your system is no longer connected to a network or the internet, you can scan it with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes security software, although make sure it is up to date first. In case malware is interfering with this process, you can always perform in a special computer mode known as Safe Mode, which would temporarily render the virus inactive.

Windows 7 / Vista / XP

  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing the 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 XP/7

Windows 10 / Windows 8

  1. Right-click on the Start button and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find the Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.Recovery
  6. Select Troubleshoot.Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options.Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings.Startup settings
  9. Click Restart.
  10. Press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.

Once you get rid of the virus, you should then scan your device with a powerful PC repair tool such as ReimageIntego, which can remove any system damage that could have occurred during the infection.

How to restore data without paying cybercriminals

Knowing the limitations of security software is essential in order to defend against ransomware infections and have a strategy prepared for recovery. Many people assume that this type of program can restore files affected by ransomware, yet unfortunately, it merely eliminates malicious files – not returning data to its original state.

While it is true that anti-malware can help you keep ransomware at bay, if your system has already been taken over by malicious software, you may be at a loss without backups. Don't fear – there might still be ways to reclaim your files without spending hundreds of dollars and supporting cybercriminals.

That being said, it is vital that you prepare copies of encrypted files before you attempt to alter them in any way, as the data may be permanently corrupted during this time. We recommend starting with a specialized decryption tool from Emsisoft designed specifically for Djvu ransomware victims.

Then, you can attempt to restore data using specialized recovery software, as explained below. Finally, don't forget to delete the “hosts” file on your system to recover access to any malware-restricted websites. You will find all the details below.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
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 Mztu virus. Follow these steps

Use Emsisoft decrytor for Djvu/STOP

If your computer got infected with one of the Djvu variants, you should try using Emsisoft decryptor for Djvu/STOP. It is important to mention that this tool will not work for everyone – it only works if data was locked with an offline ID due to malware failing to communicate with its remote servers.

Even if your case meets this condition, somebody from the 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. Download Djvu/Stop decryptor from Emsisoft
  • After pressing Download button, a small pop-up at the bottom, titled decrypt_STOPDjvu.exe should show up – click it.
    Click on decrypt_STOPDjvu.exe
  • If User Account Control (UAC) message shows up, press Yes.
  • Agree to License Terms by pressing Yes.
    Agree to License Terms
  • 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.
    Add folders
  • Press Decrypt.
    Decrypt Djvu files

From here, there are three available outcomes:

  1. Decrypted!” will be shown under files that were decrypted successfully – they are now usable again.
  2. Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID:” means that the keys for this version of the virus have not yet been retrieved, so you should try later.
  3. This ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible” – you are unable to decrypt files with this tool.

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.

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

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.

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

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