MegaCortex Ransomware, a nasty, enterprise-focused system infection has resurfaced in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. Research reveals that this malevolent crypto viral extortion is reportedly deployed against large corporate networks & workstations.It has been retooled to become a weapon of wide scale attacks.
For those who are not aware of MegaCortex, let us sneak a peek into the original version of MegaCortex Ransomware.
MegaCortex Ransomware was first spotted earlier this year targeting enterprise networks. The malicious program was distributed by gaining access to the system networks. It encrypted all the files in the system & renamed it with .megacortex extension.
Originally, this ransomware contained a payload that was protected by a password. Though this feature made reverse engineering of its payload a cumbersome task, it also made its widespread distribution a challenge.
To install this ransomware, the threat actors had to follow a sequence of manual steps on each targeted network. Moreover, they had to monitor the infection and manually finish up the menace once the damage was dome.In short the operation of this infection involved a lot of manual labour.
|Symptoms||It infiltrates your system with the motive to encrypt stored files. After successful encryption, the virus demands Ransom money to decrypt them.|
|Damage||You cannot open a locked file without paying the asked ransom. Additionally, it may increase the malicious payload in your system.|
|Removal||Download Removal Tool|
MegaCortex Ransomware version-2 has been redesigned to self-execute the malicious code. This means, the password requirement for its installation has been quashed. The password is now hard coded in the binary.
Apart from this, the new version is deployed with the range of other changes. These include:
1). Manual execution of batch file has been hard coded to automatically kill antivirus solutions&wide range of other system processes& security products. It does so by comparing the list of running processes to a kill list.
2). When MegaCortex launcher is executed, it extracts 3 CMD scripts & 2 DLL files. When these CMD scripts are executed,Shadow volume copies are deleted to avoid recovery of files through backup folders.
3). When DLL files are executed, all the system files are encrypted & renamed with the new extension i.e. .m3g4c0rtx.
4). In addition, this malevolent ransomware drops in a legal notice on the encrypted machine displaying a message Locked By MegaCortex & some email id is mentioned below it. This message is displayedeven before the user logs in their respective accounts.
5). Once the user logs in, a ransom note is displayed on the desktop titled!-!_README_!-!.rtf.
The ransom note reads that all the user credentials have been changed & the files have been encrypted.
1). Once the system is rebooted, user is unable to login to their accounts. This implies that the user credentials are indeed modified.
2). Apart from changing the user credentials, the notestates that the victim’s data is copied to a secure location. Users are threatened that their data would be revealed in public if the ransom is not paid. However there is no confirmation of the fact that the user data is really copied.
3). It is also noted that with the up gradation of ransomware version the ransom demand subsequently increased from 2 Bitcoins to 600 Bitcoins or roughly $20,000 to $5.8 million.
The guarantee of file recovery from this ransomware attack is negligible. Victims are therefore recommended not to fall for it as their concerns are usually neglected once the ransom is paid. Instead they are advised to adopt a mix of cyber security safeguards and follow best practices like backup and recovery of data to mitigate the risks associated with such malware.
The cyber-criminals behind .MegaCortex virus ransomware use various strategies for malware distribution which include –
Note: The removal guidelines for .MegaCortex extension are not known at this time, however mentioned below are few common measures that victims can implement in order to restore the system to the older version.
To restart the system to Safe Mode with Networking, if already switched ON then follow the below steps:
5 Once the system restarts, click on the username and enter the password (if any) to log in.
If the system restore was enabled for both, system and user files, then you can recover your personal data through Windows Previous Version, provided the ransomware has not damaged the backup files. To restore your data follow the instructions given below –
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