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Mamba ransomware removal and files decryptor

5 min read
Learn how the Mamba ransomware differs from commonplace file-encrypting infections, how to avoid it and what to do if it has already infected a computer.

The ransomware called Mamba, or HDDCryptor, isn’t new. Those who keep track of big cybersecurity incidents might recall the defiant incursion against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency that took place mid-November last year. The attack turned out so destructive that internal SFMTA systems, such as email and automatic faring service, stayed out of order for several days. According to some researchers’ insights, the threat actors leveraged what’s called the “weblogic unserialize exploit” in Oracle software to deploy the malicious code inside Muni’s IT infrastructure. After months of hiatus, the same infection made a reappearance in August 2017 with new attacks mainly targeting organizations in Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

UAC prompt displayed by Mamba ransomware as part of the attack

The Mamba ransomware has gotten a facelift ever since. First of all, its developers have added several extra distribution vectors to their campaign. These include malspam and the use of Psexec utility. The former contamination method chiefly engages booby-trapped emails disguised as invoices. The latter allows the felons to execute the payload on computers remotely and relies on loopholes in software installed on target systems. Another tweak made to the pest may play into potential victims’ hands: the Mamba virus displays a User Account Control (UAC) prompt before commencing its disruptive activity. In other words, it won’t run unless the user unknowingly authorizes it to. One more change is that the ransomware goes equipped with a legitimate full-disk encryption (FDE) tool called DiskCryptor that actually performs the data encoding routine.

Ransom note displayed by Mamba virus
Ransom note displayed by Mamba virus

A while after the malicious code is deposited onto a machine as a rogue “DefragmentationService” process, it initiates a reboot. Then, the DiskCryptor bundle starts encrypting all data stored on the computer. To top it off, Mamba subsequently replaces the Master Boot Record (MBR) with a custom bootloader in order to prevent the system from running the way it should. Once the entire attack chain has been completed, the victim will be unable to log into Windows. Instead, they will see a ransom message on the screen. There are several variants of this warning. One of them goes, “Your Data Encrypted, Contact For Key (mcrypt2017@yandex.com OR citrix2234@protonmail.com). Your ID: [unique victim ID], Enter Key.” Another edition is as follows, “You Are Hacked !!!! Your H.D.D. Encrypted, Contact Us For Decryption Key (w889901665@yandex.com). Your ID: [unique victim ID]. Missing operating system.

At the end of the day, not only does the Mamba virus encrypt data but it also denies access to the plagued system altogether. Since it isn’t classic ransomware, victims should think and act out of the box to perform the troubleshooting. For a start, it’s recommended to try and get the operating system to load. So download LiveCD and create bootable rescue media (CD or USB); then restart your machine and boot from the device you just created. If the rescue CD goes with TestDisk feature, be sure to run it as it may get your system to operate. Then, follow the instructions below.

Mamba ransomware automated removal and data recovery

Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:

1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button

Download Mamba virus remover

2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.

Data recovery toolkit to the rescue

Some strains of ransomware are known to delete the original files after the encryption routine has been completed. As hostile as this activity appears, it can play into your hands. There are applications designed to revive the information that was obliterated because of malfunctioning hardware or due to accidental removal. The tool called Stellar Data Recovery features this type of a capability and therefore it can be applied in ransom attack scenarios to at least get the most important files back. So use the app to get an idea of what data can be restored and let it do the recovery job. Here is a step-by-step walkthrough:

  1. Download and install Stellar Data Recovery.

    Download Stellar Data Recovery

  2. Open the application, select the types of recoverable files to look for, and click Next.Stellar Data Recovery main screen
  3. Choose the areas you want the tool to recover from and click the Scan button.Select which PC areas to recover from
  4. Having scanned the specified locations, the program will display a notification about the total amount of recoverable data. Close the dialog and click the Recover button. This will hopefully help you get some of your valuable files back.Recover files

Mamba ransomware manual removal and file recovery

Some ransomware strains terminate themselves after completing the encryption job on a computer, but some don’t. Furthermore, the Mamba virus may prevent victims from using popular antimalware tools in order to stay on board for as long as possible. Under the circumstances, it may be necessary to utilize the Safe Mode with Networking or System Restore functionality.

Remove Mamba ransomware using Safe Mode with Networking

Remove Mamba ransomware using Safe Mode with Networking

Get rid of Mamba ransomware using System Restore

Get rid of Mamba ransomware using System Restore

System Restore enables Windows users to roll back all changes made to the OS since the latest restore point creation time. This feature can help eliminate the most persistent ransomware. Before going this route, though, make sure System Restore had been enabled prior to the breach, otherwise the method will be inefficient.

  • Open Windows Advanced Options Menu as described in the previous section: hit F8 repeatedly when the PC is starting up. Use arrow keys to highlight the Safe Mode with Command Prompt entry. Hit Enter.Safe Mode with Command Prompt
  • In the Command Prompt window, type cd restore and hit Entercd restore command
  • Type rstrui.exe in the new command line and press EnterType rstrui.exe command
  • When the System Restore screen pops up, click Next, select a restore point that predates the contamination, and use the application’s controls to roll back the system to this earlier state.System Restore window

Be advised that even after the ransomware is removed, files will still be encrypted and inaccessible. The malicious code cleanup part, however, is important because it keeps a relapse of the infection from occurring further on and eliminates all opportunistic malware.

Ways of non-ransom data recovery

Cracking the crypto used by this ransom Trojan is more of a science fiction thing rather than an attainable prospect for the masses. This is why the troubleshooting in predicaments of this sort is a matter of two approaches: one is to pay the ransom, which isn’t an option for many victims; and the other is to apply instruments that take advantage of the ransomware’s possible weaknesses. If the latter is your pick, the advice below is a must-try.

Backups can make your day

Backups can make your day

Not only are you a lucky person in case you’ve been backing up your most important files, but you’re also a wise and prudent user. This isn’t necessarily a resource-heavy activity these days – in fact, some providers of online services are allocating a sufficient size of cloud storage space for free so that every customer can easily upload their critical data without paying a penny. Having removed the Mamba ransomware, therefore, all you have to do is download your stuff from the remote server or transfer it all from an external piece of hardware if that’s the case.

Restore previous versions of encrypted files

Restore previous versions of encrypted files

A positive upshot of using this technique depends on whether or not the ransomware has erased the Volume Shadow Copies of the files on your PC. This is a Windows feature that automatically makes and keeps the backups of data elements on the hard drive as long as System Restore is enabled. The cryptoware in question is programmed to switch off the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), but it has reportedly failed to in some cases.

Checking one’s options regarding this workaround is doable in two ways: through the Properties menu of each file or by means of the remarkable open-source tool called Shadow Explorer. We recommend the software-based way because it’s automated, hence faster and easier. Just install the app and use its intuitive controls to get previous versions of the encrypted objects reinstated.

Shadow Explorer

Alternatively, you can leverage the Previous Versions feature, which is native to Windows operating system. This method is more cumbersome that the use of ShadowExplorer, but it can help restore the most important individual files on condition that the ransomware failed to disable the Volume Snapshot Service on the computer. Right-click on a file of choice and select Properties. Then, go to the Previous Versions tab as illustrated below.

Previous Versions

Go ahead and pick the file’s latest backup version on the list. Use the Copy or Restore buttons to reinstate this object to a new path or to its original folder, respectively.

Ransomware Prevention Tips

To avoid Mamba ransomware and other file-encrypting infections in the future, follow several simple recommendations:

  • Toggle your email provider’s anti-spam settings to filter out all the potentially harmful incoming messages. Raising the bar beyond the default protection is an important countermeasure for ransom Trojans
  • Define specific file extension restrictions in your email system. Make sure that attachments with the following extensions are blacklisted: .js
  • .vbs
  • .docm
  • .hta
  • .exe
  • .cmd
  • .scr
  • and .bat. Also
  • treat ZIP archives in received messages with extreme caution
  • Rename the vssadmin.exe process so that ransomware is unable to obliterate all Shadow Volume Copies of your files in one shot
  • Keep your Firewall active at all times. It can prevent crypto ransomware from communicating with its C&C server. This way
  • the threat won’t be able to obtain cryptographic keys and lock your files
  • Back up your files regularly
  • at least the most important ones. This recommendation is self-explanatory. A ransomware attack isn’t an issue as long as you keep unaffected copies of your data in a safe place
  • Use an effective antimalware suite. There are security tools that identify ransomware-specific behavior and block the infection before it can do any harm.
These techniques are certainly not a cure-all, but they will add an extra layer of ransomware protection to your security setup.

Revise your security status

Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup. Another benefit of using the antimalware tool is that it will keep ransomware threats from intruding on your computer further on.

Download Mamba ransomware removal tool

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