MLJX ransomware endangers your access to personal files
- MLJX ransomware endangers your access to personal files
- Ransomware distribution tactics to be aware of
- MLJX ransomware infection flow
- Remove MLJX Ransomware Virus and Recover Your Files
- Decrypt MLJX files
- Frequently Asked Questions
MLJX ransomware is a malicious file-encrypting virus from STOP/DJVU ransomware family. After breaking into the target computer system, the virus starts encrypting all files in the system, adding .mljx extension and dropping ransom notes called _readme.txt in every folder. For example, a file called 1.jpg becomes 1.jpg.mljx after the attack. According to the note left by virus operators, the only way to get MLJX decryption tool is to pay a ransom which costs $490 if paid within 72 hours or $980 if later.
The sole ambition of MLJX ransomware virus developers is to lock victim’s data so that one could no longer access important work or study files or simply personal memories. The algorithm of this virus leverages extremely robust encryption algorithms – Salsa20 additionally secured with RSA-2048-bit key. The attackers suggest contacting them as soon as possible for further instructions. The only way to reach them is to write to provided email addresses – email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ransom note provided in _readme.txt file explains that all files on the computer, including photos, videos, archives and documents have been encrypted with the strongest encryption and the only way to get access to them is to pay a large sum of money to the criminals. According to them, they are willing to reduce the decryption price to $490 if the victim contacts them within 72 hours. Otherwise, the victim has to pay the full amount – $980. Clearly, the transaction needs to be made in cryptocurrency so that the crooks couldn’t be tracked down by FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
Victims who decide to reach out to the attackers will be instructed to purchase Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency worth the specified amount and transfer it to a provided virtual wallet address. To encourage the victim to pay up, they also suggest test decryption service. In order to use it, the victim has to send one encrypted file as attachment to the email addresses provided. The attackers will deny decryption on files that contain valuable information since the test decryption procedure is only meant to prove that the attackers can restore files, not to recover valuable information to you.
No matter the circumstances or how desperate the situation appears to be, cybersecurity experts from our team recommend you to avoid following cybercriminals’ demands. You should avoid paying ransoms to criminals and the same is pointed out by FBI advisory guidelines to ransomware victims. The very first reason to avoid doing so is that paying doesn’t guarantee file recovery. For example, the attackers might vanish right after convincing you to pay up. They collect millions in ransoms annually and paying only encourages them to continue their malicious operations. Besides, if you pay, you will be identified as a potential target in further attacks.
What is also important to know is that this ransomware drops information-stealing Trojans on your system, either VIDAR or AZORULT, which can collect information that can be useful in further blackmailing attempts. These Trojans are capable of stealing saved passwords, cryptocurrency wallets, browsing history, viewing and deleting files from your file system or downloading additional malware to the system.
All things considered, it is essential to remove MLJX ransomware virus from your computer as soon as you can. This should be done while computer is in Safe Mode with Networking state. You can find a detailed tutorial on how to do it right below this article. It is also equally important to use a robust antivirus solution, because when it comes to severe computer infection like this, we do not advise trying to hunt down and delete virus’ components manually. If you do not have antivirus yet, we recommend using one tested and reviewed by our team – INTEGO Antivirus. You may also want to download RESTORO to detect and repair virus damage on Windows OS files.
|Name||MLJX Ransomware Virus|
|Type||Ransomware; Crypto-malware; Virtual Extortion Virus|
|Encryption type||RSA 2048 + Salsa20|
|Previous versions||DARJ DAZX, TYWD, TYCX, TYOS, TYPO, JYWD (find full list here)|
|Cybercriminal email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Additional malware dropped||Azorult or Vidar Trojan|
|Damage||The ransomware encrypts files on the target computer, using a combination of Salsa20 and RSA-2048-bit encryption algorithms. While encrypting the data, the virus also appends |
additional .mljx extensions to original file names and drops _readme.txt ransom note in each data folder. The malware also deletes Volume Shadow Copies which prevents the victim from making a use of existing System Restore points. Next, the ransomware edits Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of websites to restrict access to on the computer. This virus is also known to communicate with its Command&Control server and send information about compromised system, as well as saved passwords and a desktop screenshot as well. This ransomware often compromises the already-infected system with AZORULT Trojan or VIDAR.
|Ransom demand||$490-$980 in Bitcoin|
|Distribution||Victims often download this ransomware along illegal torrent downloads, cracked software, activators, key generators or tools like KMSPico.|
|Known software cracks to contain this malware||Corel Draw, Tenorshare 4ukey, Adobe Photoshop, Cubase, Adobe Illustrator, Internet Download Manager, Tally, League of Legends.|
|Detection names||Trojan:Win32/Krypter.AA!MTB (Microsoft), Gen:Variant.Fragtor.36858 (B) (Emsisoft), UDS:Trojan.Win32.Scarsi.gen (Kaspersky), Gen:Variant.Fragtor.36858 (BitDefender), MachineLearning/Anomalous.95% (Malwarebytes), Packed.Generic.528 (Symantec) see all detection name variations on VirusTotal|
|Removal||Remove ransomware and related malware from your PC using professional software of your choice. We highly recommend using INTEGO Antivirus. To repair virus damage on Windows OS files, consider scanning with RESTORO.|
REPAIR VIRUS DAMAGE
Scan your system for FREE to detect security, hardware and stability issues. You can use the scan results and try to remove threats manually, or you can choose to get the full version of software to fix detected issues and repair virus damage to Windows OS system files automatically. Includes Avira spyware/malware detection & removal engine.
Ransomware distribution tactics to be aware of
Nobody wants to get infected with ransomware – therefore, it is important to familiarise yourself with common malware distribution techniques used to spread these computer infections. The first technique that we must talk about is associated with all STOP/DJVU variants, including MLJX ransomware virus. It appears that operators of these threats rely on only one method – malicious torrents, especially various software cracks. They aim at people who look for ways to activate premium software versions for free, so they inject the malicious ransomware-downloading script to fake software activation tools. Once the victim tries to make use of such activation tool, the script downloads and runs the malware on the system.
We have received variety of reports from victims affected by STOP/DJVU ransomware versions and compiled a list of software they attempted to download via torrents and activate illegally that resulted in an immediate computer data lockdown. Beware that this list isn’t finite and trying to activate any program or game through unofficial sources can get your computer compromised.
- League of Legends;
- Fifa 20;
- Tenorshare 4ukey;
- Opera browser;
- Corel Draw;
- VMware Workstation;
- Adobe Illustrator;
- Adobe Photoshop;
- Internet Download Manager;
- KMSPico (illegal Windows activation tool).
If you have the bad habit of downloading unconfirmed software versions from online torrent listings and trying to activate them with a help of software cracks or license key generators, you risk getting your PC contaminated not only with ransomware, but with various adware, Trojans, browser hijackers, cryptocurrency miners and even backdoors. Remember that the damage caused by these threats can result in much higher expenses than a legitimate software license actually costs. For this reason, we recommend you to avoid such suspicious sources for software downloads and when you need a specific program, visit its official developer’s or confirmed partner’s website to get a safe and legitimate copy of the software or game. This is the only way to get fully functional software without malicious additions.
Remember that you should never ignore your antivirus software warnings regarding dangerous downloads. If you do not have such security software yet, you should definitely think about investing in one that can protect your computer from malicious downloads in real-time.
Another popular way to spread ransomware viruses is attaching malicious documents to emails. The attackers may pretend to be someone you know or representatives of well-known companies – so you should never open email attachments that come unexpected. For example, if you didn’t order anything online, do not risk inspecting an email stating there’s a parcel on a way to you. Moreover, criminals tend to name malicious attachments as regular documents used in daily communications, for instance, invoices, missing payment notices, waybills and similar. Do not let your curiosity trick you into opening a dangerous file that contains scripts used to download and run ransomware on your computer. Look out for red flags such as unfamiliar email greeting line, suspicious URLs attached (hover on the included links, but do not click on them to see what’s attached). Remember that criminals use email spoofing techniques to hide the real sender’s address and display another, legitimate-looking one for you!).
Finally, victims of STOP/DJVU ransomware, or any ransomware in general, should refrain themselves from visiting suspicious online sources claiming to be capable of decrypting their files. Cybersecurity experts warn that there are a lot of scams claiming that someone can decrypt your files locked with online key (you may see these scams in Facebook or Instagram comments suggesting to contact someone on Whatsapp or Instagram). These scammers can rip you off financially and simply pay the cybercriminals instead of you, or offer you to download suspicious tools that can contain even more malware. Additionally, avoid visiting unconfirmed online resources offering decryption tools as these are used by ransomware operators to infect victims with a secondary payload that will leave your files double-encrypted.
MLJX ransomware infection flow
It is understandable that if you have fallen victim to MLJX ransomware virus, now you want to figure out the scope of damage inflicted upon your computer. Therefore, if you’re interested in more technical details, this section is for you.
The ransomware begins the attack by launching several executables which may be named as build.exe, build2.exe or build3.exe. At the same time, the virus launches a fake Windows update prompt called winupdate.exe, which is meant to deceive the victim who is starting to wonder what caused the sudden system slowdown. At the same time, the ransomware prepares for the attack by collecting some information about the system into information.txt file and sending it to the attackers’ Command & Control server. This file may contain details such as computer name, operating system used, hardware specifics, active processes and the list of installed software names.
Next, the ransomware tries to connect to https[:]//api.2ip.ua/geo.json domain and saves the response into geo.json file. The response typically consists of information about the compromised computer’s geolocation, including country code, zip code, longitude, latitude, time zone and similar. You can see some examples of this file down below.
It is typical for a ransomware virus to bypass infecting computers in certain regions as wished by its operators. Sometimes, the criminals avoid compromising computers in countries that are known to rarely pay up. In other cases, the attackers avoid infecting computers from a region they are from. In this case, the virus ceases its operations if it detects that the computer user is a resident of one of the following countries: Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Syria, Uzbekistan, Kazachstan, Armenia, Belarus or Tajikistan. If none of these country codes are matched, the ransomware continues the attack and prepares for the actual encryption stage.
The virus attempts to connect to its Command&Control server once again to request a unique encryption key (known as the online key). If this fails, the virus uses a hardcoded offline key instead (identical per all victims of offline encryption for the same virus variant). To illustrate, there is one offline key per all MLJX virus version, another one per all HGSH virus version, and so on. No matter if online or offline key is used, the virus saves it along unique victim’s ID to bowasakkdestx.txt file and also saves the ID into PersonalID.txt file. Examples of these files are shown below.
When it comes to MLJX file decryption, the chances are limited only to victims of offline encryption. This is explained in detail in this STOP/DJVU decryption/repair guide on our website. Victims of online encryption can only recover their files if they have a data backup.
After preparing the encryption key, the ransomware begins encrypting all files on the target system using Salsa20 algorithm and then securing the encryption key used with the RSA-2048 key (online or offline). A screenshot of data folder affected by the ransomware is presented below.
To let the computer user know what happened to the personal files, the virus drops _readme.txt note in every directory. A screenshot of this ransom note is shown below.
The ransomware then proceeds to delete Volume Shadow Copies from the system to prevent the usage of existing System Restore points. The virus may run the following command via Command Prompt:
vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet
Finally, some versions of STOP/DJVU compromise the system further and drop AZORULT or VIDAR Trojan on the system to collect private information such as passwords, banking details, browsing history and similar. To strengthen the damage to the system, the virus may also modify Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of website names to restrict access to. This is done primarily to block victim’s access to useful information resources online. As a consequence, the victim may run into DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error when trying to enter these domains.
Remove MLJX Ransomware Virus and Recover Your Files
If you have unfortunately fallen victim to STOP/DJVU ransomware attack and now your files have extensions mentioned previously, we strongly advise you to remove MLJX ransomware virus as soon as you can. For this task, we recommend using a powerful antivirus software. Do not forget to update its virus’ definitions database first to ensure that it can detect the latest malware samples available in the wild. In case you do not have a security software yet, consider using INTEGO Antivirus, which is one of the best choices nowadays. It provides 24/7 real-time protection and has excellent malware detection rates at a fraction of a price. Moreover, you may want to take additional step and download RESTORO to identify and repair virus damage on Windows OS files.
Additional post-ransomware attack measures include reporting and discussing the cybercrime incident with your local law enforcement authorities, creating backups of encrypted data (although highly unlikely, in case a decryption tool appears one day) and changing all of your passwords associated with the compromised computer (including those saved in web browsers and other accounts).
The guide on MLJX ransomware virus removal is provided down below.
OUR GEEKS RECOMMEND
Our team recommends a two-step rescue plan to remove ransomware and other remaining malware from your computer, plus repair caused virus damage to the system:
GeeksAdvice.com editors select recommended products based on their effectiveness. We may earn a commission from affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.
MLJX Ransomware Virus Removal Guidelines
Method 1. Enter Safe Mode with Networking
Step 1. Start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking
Before you try to remove MLJX Ransomware Virus virus, you must start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking. Below, we provide the easiest ways to boot PC in the said mode, but you can find additional ones in this in-depth tutorial on our website – How to Start Windows in Safe Mode. Also, if you prefer a video version of the tutorial, check our guide How to Start Windows in Safe Mode on Youtube.
Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users
- First of all, turn off your PC. Then press the Power button to start it again and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. This launches the Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Use arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate down to Safe Mode with Networking option and press Enter.
Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10/11 users
- Open Windows Start menu, then press down the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then select Restart option.
- This will take you to Windows Troubleshoot screen. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Tip: If you can't find Startup Settings, click See more recovery options.
- In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Networking. In this case, it is the F5 key.
Step 2. Remove files associated with the virus
Now, you can search for and remove MLJX Ransomware Virus files. It is very hard to identify files and registry keys that belong to the ransomware virus, Besides, malware creators tend to rename and change them repeatedly. Therefore, the easiest way to uninstall such type of a computer virus is to use a reliable security program such as INTEGO Antivirus. For virus damage repair, consider using RESTORO.
Compatibility: Microsoft Windows
See Full Review
RESTORO is a unique PC Repair Tool which comes with an in-built Avira scan engine to detect and remove spyware/malware threats and uses a patented technology to repair virus damage. The software can repair damaged, missing or malfunctioning Windows OS files, corrupted DLLs, and more. The free version offers a scan that detects issues. To fix them, license key for the full software version must be purchased.
Method 2. Use System Restore
In order to use System Restore, you must have a system restore point, created either manually or automatically.
Step 1. Boot Windows in Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users
- Shut down your PC. Start it again by pressing the Power button and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. You will see Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Using arrow keys on the keyboard, navigate down to Safe Mode with Command Prompt option and press Enter.
Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10/11 users
- Launch Windows Start menu, then click the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then choose Restart option with the mouse cursor.
- This will take you to Windows Troubleshoot screen. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Tip: If you can't find Startup Settings, click See more recovery options.
- In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Command Prompt. In this case, press F6 key.
Step 2. Start System Restore process
- Wait until system loads and command prompt shows up.
- Type cd restore and press Enter, then type rstrui.exe and press Enter. Or you can just type %systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe in command prompt and hit Enter.
- This launches System Restore window. Click Next and then choose a System Restore point created in the past. Choose one that was created before ransomware infection.
- Click Yes to begin the system restoration process.
After restoring the system, we recommend scanning the system with antivirus or anti-malware software. In most cases, there won't be any malware remains, but it never hurts to double-check. In addition, we highly recommend checking ransomware prevention guidelines provided by our experts in order to protect your PC against similar viruses in the future.
Alternative software recommendations
Removing spyware and malware is one step towards cybersecurity. To protect yourself against ever-evolving threats, we strongly recommend purchasing a Premium version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which provides security based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Includes ransomware protection. See pricing options and protect yourself now.
System Mechanic Ultimate Defense
If you're looking for an all-in-one system maintenance suite that has 7 core components providing powerful real-time protection, on-demand malware removal, system optimization, data recovery, password manager, online privacy protection and secure driver wiping technology. Therefore, due to its wide-range of capabilities, System Mechanic Ultimate Defense deserves Geek's Advice approval. Get it now for 50% off. You may also be interested in its full review.
Disclaimer. This site includes affiliate links. We may earn a small commission by recommending certain products, at no additional cost for you. We only choose quality software and services to recommend.
Decrypt MLJX files
Fix and open large MLJX files easily:
It is reported that STOP/DJVU ransomware versions encrypt only the beginning 150 KB of each file to ensure that the virus manages to affect all files on the system. In some cases, the malicious program might skip some files at all. That said, we recommend testing this method on several big (>1GB) files first.
- Create a copy of encrypted file to a separate folder using Copy > Paste commands.
- Now, right-click the created copy and choose Rename. Select the MLJX extension and delete it. Press Enter to save changes.
- In the prompt asking whether you want to make the changes as file might become unusable, click OK.
- Try opening the file.
STOP/DJVU decryption tool usage guide
STOP/DJVU ransomware versions are grouped into old and new variants. MLJX Ransomware Virus is considered the new STOP/DJVU variant, just like DARJ DAZX, TYWD, TYCX, TYOS, TYPO, JYWD (find full list here). This means full data decryption is now possible only if you have been affected by offline encryption key. To decrypt your files, you will have to download Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP DJVU, a tool created and maintained by a genius security researcher Michael Gillespie.
Note! Please do not spam the security researcher with questions whether he can recover your files encrypted with online key - it is not possible.
In order to test the tool and see if it can decrypt MLJX files, follow the given tutorial.
- Download the decryption tool from Emsisoft.
- Click the little arrow next to your download and choose Show in Folder.
- Now, right-click the file and choose Run as Administrator. If asked, enter administrator's password.
- In UAC window, click Yes.
- Click Yes to agree to software terms in both windows.
- The tool will automatically include C:// disk as a location to decrypt. The file recovery tool will prepopulate the locations to scan, including connected data storage drives or network drives. Click Add folder if you wish to add additional locations.
In Options tab, you can choose to keep encrypted file copies. We recommend leaving this option selected, especially if you do not know if the decryption tool will work.
- Click Decrypt to start restoring MLJX files. You will see the progress in the Results tab. Here, you can see messages from the tool, such as whether the decryption procedure is successful, or you need to wait for an update.
You might also be informed that online key was used to encrypt your files. In such case, the decryption tool won't work for you, and the only way to recover your files is to use a data backup.
Meanings of decryptor's messages
The MLJX decryption tool might display several different messages after failed attempt to restore your files. You might receive one of the following messages:
Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [example ID]
This message typically means that there is no corresponding decryption key in the decryptor's database.
No key for New Variant online ID: [example ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
This message informs that your files were encrypted with online key, meaning no one else has the same encryption/decryption key pair, therefore data recovery without paying the criminals is impossible.
Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears to be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
If you were informed that an offline key was used, but files could not be restored, it means that the offline decryption key isn't available yet. However, receiving this message is extremely good news, meaning that it might be possible to restore your MLJX extension files in the future. It can take a few months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. We recommend you to follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here. We strongly recommend backing up your encrypted data and waiting.
Report Internet crime to legal departments
Victims of MLJX Ransomware Virus should report the Internet crime incident to the official government fraud and scam website according to their country:
- In the United States, go to the On Guard Online website.
- In Australia, go to the SCAMwatch website.
- In Germany, go to the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik website.
- In Ireland, go to the An Garda Síochána website.
- In New Zealand, go to the Consumer Affairs Scams website.
- In the United Kingdom, go to the Action Fraud website.
- In Canada, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- In India, go to Indian National Cybercrime Reporting Portal.
- In France, go to the Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information.
If you can't find an authority corresponding to your location on this list, we recommend using any search engine to look up "[your country name] report cyber crime". This should lead you to the right authority website. We also recommend staying away from third-party crime report services that are often paid. It costs nothing to report Internet crime to official authorities.
Another recommendation is to contact your country's or region’s federal police or communications authority.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can only open MLJX files if you have the decryption key, or if you were affected by offline encryption type.
To figure out whether you were affected by offline encryption, please go to C:/SystemID/PersonalID.txt and see if the string inside of it ends in t1. You can also try using Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP/DJVU.
Please follow the guidances provided by the official MLJX decryption tools and believe what they say. If they say it is impossible to decrypt, it really is so. There is no magic tool or human capable of decrypting your files hiding somewhere. Encryption is a technique created to be nearly impossible to decrypt without a special private key (held by the criminals).
We advise scanning with anti-virus, anti-malware, malware removal tools or software like RESTORO to eliminate virus damage on the system. If you do not trust using a single tool, try running one after another. However, we do not recommend keeping several security programs on a computer at once as they can interfere with each other's work.
Beware of fake MLJX decryption tools circulating around the web. Cyber criminals are uploading them to various shady websites, also might be promoting them via suspicious Youtube videos. These programs can infect your computer even more heavily (Trojans, miners, etc.). We suggest being extremely cautious around the web. If there will be an official STOP/DJVU decryption tool available, it will be widely discussed in public media.
Norbert Webb is the head of Geek’s Advice team. He is the chief editor of the website who controls the quality of content published. The man also loves reading cybersecurity news, testing new software and sharing his insights on them. Norbert says that following his passion for information technology was one of the best decisions he has ever made. “I don’t feel like working while I’m doing something I love.” However, the geek has other interests, such as snowboarding and traveling.
Leave a Reply