What is Malware Mage Ransomware?

Malware Mage Ransomware is a malicious software that encrypts files on an infected system and appends a ".malwaremage" extension to their filenames. For instance, files originally named "1.jpg" and "2.png" would be renamed to "1.jpg.malwaremage" and "2.png.malwaremage," respectively. Following the encryption process, a ransom note is displayed via a pop-up window.

Ransom Demands

The ransom note informs victims that their files, including documents, videos, and images, have been encrypted using the AES-256 encryption algorithm. To recover their data, victims are instructed to purchase a decryption key from the attackers. The ransom, amounting to 0.08134 BTC (Bitcoin), must be transferred to a specified cryptowallet address before the timer on the pop-up window runs out. At the time of writing, this amount is equivalent to nearly six thousand US dollars, though this value can fluctuate with Bitcoin's exchange rate.

Should You Pay the Ransom?

Paying the ransom is not recommended. Even though attackers claim that they will provide the decryption key after payment, there is no guarantee that they will fulfill their promise. Often, victims do not receive the necessary tools to decrypt their data even after paying. Moreover, paying the ransom supports the attackers' illegal activities.

Removing Malware Mage Ransomware

To prevent further data encryption, Malware Mage Ransomware must be removed from the operating system. Unfortunately, removing the ransomware will not decrypt the already encrypted files. The best way to recover these files is from a backup stored on an external or remote system.

Importance of Backups

Maintaining backups in multiple separate locations, such as remote servers or unplugged storage devices, is crucial for data safety. Regular backups can help ensure that your data remains accessible even if your system is compromised by ransomware.

Other Ransomware Examples

Recent analyses have identified several other ransomware variants, including Fog, DORRA, RansomHub, Orbit, Anonymous Encryptor, and Watz. These programs typically follow the same pattern: encrypting files and demanding a ransom for decryption. However, they may use different cryptographic algorithms and demand varying ransom amounts.

Infection Methods

Ransomware often spreads through phishing and social engineering techniques. It can be disguised as legitimate content or bundled with regular software. Common carriers include:

  • Archives (ZIP, RAR)
  • Executable files (.exe, .run)
  • Documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF)
  • JavaScript files

Once a malicious file is executed, the infection process begins. Ransomware can also spread through loader/backdoor-type trojans, drive-by downloads, online scams, dubious download channels, spam mail attachments or links, malvertising, illegal software activation tools, and fake updates. Some ransomware can even self-propagate through local networks and removable storage devices.

Protecting Yourself from Ransomware

To protect yourself from ransomware, it's essential to exercise caution while browsing and handling emails. Here are some key recommendations:

  • Be wary of fraudulent and malicious online content that appears legitimate.
  • Avoid opening attachments or links from suspicious or irrelevant emails.
  • Download software only from official and trustworthy sources.
  • Activate and update programs using genuine tools.
  • Install and regularly update reputable antivirus software.
  • Perform regular system scans to detect and remove threats.

If your system is already infected with Malware Mage, run a scan with an updated anti-malware tool to remove the ransomware.

June 10, 2024

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