Remove Master Ransomware

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I wrote this article to help you remove Master Ransomware. This Master Ransomware removal guide works for all Windows versions.

Master ransomware, also known as Makedonskiy@gmx.com ransomware, is a win-locker. To set the record straight, this program is actually the next build of CryptoLocker ransomware. Upon entering your computer, the virus will scan your hard drive for vulnerable files and encrypt the objects which are part of its target range. Master ransomware goes after documents, databases, scripts, logs, images, audios, videos, archives and other file formats. The covert program appends the .master suffix to the names of the encrypted files. Security experts have named this build after the custom file extension it uses in order to set it apart from other versions.

Win-lockers are difficult to combat against for different reasons. The obvious issue is that they render files inaccessible. Until experts manage to crack the program’s code, victims are unable to access their personal data. Master ransomware will make your computer useless within minutes. Knowing how the furtive program gets spread can help you protect your system. The propagation vector in use is spam emails. According to researchers, the subject line of the host emails states “bank bills”. The payload of Master ransomware is packed into an attachment. Opening the file would unleash the sinister program into your machine. You can filter spam from legitimate notifications by checking the listed contacts.

Master ransomware drops a ransom note to explain the situation and notify victims about the demands of the cyber criminals. The attackers demand people to pay a certain sum in exchange for a decryption key. The note does not contain the details. People are required to contact the owners of the win-locker in order to receive instructions on how to complete the payment. To request the instructions, you have to write to either of these accounts: BM-NBM1DiE52wgzUUnzcRPwjMjPEcV4qfpr@bitmessage.ch and makedonskiy@gmx.com. While the first email evidences that the creators of Master ransomware are from Switzerland, the second hints that they are from Macedonia. Since the win-locker is a variant of CryptoLocker ransomware, researchers believe that the second account is purposely misleading.

There is no information about the amount the cyber thieves demand. However, it should be noted that they require victims to pay in Bitcoins. This is the most common payment method in these situations because it is the safest. Bitcoin trading platforms do not enable tracking. Even the proprietors of the corresponding platform are not able to identify the people behind the accounts. The IP address and geographic location of the users are protected. Furthermore, they do not have to provide personally identifiable information (PII). The owners of Master ransomware can collect the ransom payments without risking to expose their identity.

The ransom note warns people not to attempt to take matters into their own hands. The hackers state that intervening in any way could make your files impossible to recover. You should not rename them or attempt to decrypt them with third party software. There is also a limitation for the time to pay the ransom. People are given 36 hours to contact the owners of Master ransomware. After this point, the decryption key would be deleted. The hackers make a guarantee to assure victims that the key works. They give the option to have 3 files decrypted for free. You get to choose which files, but there are a couple of limitations. The objects have to be less than 1 MB in size. In addition, they must not contain important information.

We need to step in and point out that the renegade developers do not make an actual guarantee. They only prove that they possess the decryption key. Whether they will send it to you upon receiving the ransom is a different subject altogether. Hackers cannot be trusted, since they have the ability to do as they decide to. You may not receive a decryption key. If you do, it will only unlock your files. Master ransomware will not be removed from your computer. The best course of action is to delete the virus and try to recover your files from their shadow volume copies. There is a guide below to assist you.

Master Ransomware Removal

Method 1: Restore your encrypted files using ShadowExplorer
Usually, Master Ransomware deletes all shadow copies, stored in your computer. Luckily, the ransomware is not always able to delete the shadow copies. So your first try should be restoring the original files from shadow copies.

  1. Download ShadowExplorer from this link: http://www.shadowexplorer.com/downloads.html.
  2. Install ShadowExplorer
  3. Open ShadowExplorer and select C: drive on the left panelshadowexplorer
  4. Choose at least a month ago date from the date field
  5. Navigate to the folder with encrypted files
  6. Right-click on the encrypted file
  7. Select “Export” and choose a destination for the original file

Method 2: Restore your encrypted files by using System Restore

  1. Go to Start –> All programs –> Accessories –> System tools –> System restore
  2. Click “Nextsystem restore
  3. Choose a restore point, at least a month ago
  4. Click “Next
  5. Choose Disk C: (should be selected by default)
  6. Click “Next“. Wait for a few minutes and the restore should be done.

Method 3: Restore your files using File Recovery Software
If none of the above method works, you should try to recover encrypted files by using File Recovery Software. Since Master Ransomware first makes a copy of the original file, then encrypts it and deletes the original one, you can successfully restore the original, using a File Recovery Software. Here are a few free File Recovery Software programs:

  1. Recuva
  2. Puran File Recovery
  3. Disk Drill
  4. Glary Undelete
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Daniel Stoyanov
Daniel Stoyanov has a Master's degree in Computer Science from the Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria. He is also a Microsoft Certified Professional. Daniel provides top cyber security news with in-depth coverage of malware, vulnerabilities, PC and Network security, online safety.If you have any questions feel free to ask him right now.

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