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MasterBuster Virus Removal – Restore .hcked Files


The malware researcher Karsten Hahn has discovered the MasterBuster ransomware. The virus will encrypt your files with the .hcked extension and display a ransom note with payment instructions afterward. The ransomware is based on the open-source EDA2 project. To see how to remove the ransomware and how you can try to restore your files, read the article in full.

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Threat Summary

Threat Summary

Name MasterBuster
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description The ransomware will encrypt your files and then display a ransom note with payment instructions.
Symptoms All encrypted files get the extension .hcked appended to them.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware


Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss MasterBuster.
Data Recovery Tool Windows Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix Notice! This product scans your drive sectors to recover lost files and it may not recover 100% of the encrypted files, but only few of them, depending on the situation and whether or not you have reformatted your drive.

MasterBuster Virus – How Does It Infect?

The MasterBuster ransomware might get inside your computer machine by using multiple ways. The payload file could be spread via spam e-mails. The spam mail tactic is designed to make you think that the email and its attached file are important. If you fall for that, you might open the attachment. Then, the malicious content from the file releases the payload and your computer becomes infected. You can see an example of a payload file and its detections from malware vendors on the VirusTotal website right here:


MasterBuster ransomware might infect your PC using different methods. For example, the malware creators could distribute the malware file via social media and file-sharing platforms. The file could be presented as a useful or needed application. Refrain from just opening files from unknown sources, especially if they come in the form of e-mails or a link you know nothing about. First, you should do a scan with a security tool and check the size and signatures of the file. You should read the ransomware prevention tips from the thread in the forum section.

MasterBuster Virus – What Does It Do?

The MasterBuster ransomware is a cryptovirus that is targeting users from Bangladesh and India. The malware researcher Karsten Hahn from G Data has found a malware sample in the wild. The ransomware is written on the open-source EDA2 (Hidden Tear) project.

Your files will get encrypted and afterward the extension .hcked will be appended to every one of them. The instructions with demands are written in two different files, one of which launches as a screen on your desktop.

MasterBuster connects to the following remote locations:

  • https://decrypt.ez.lv/ddrt/writ[redacted]
  • https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dUrtnhlouJBZKyJjPU4x_nvbXO2jkd8vf7nkI_7DOl0/view[redacted]

Information such as your computer name, user name, password and the current date can be sent to those two locations.

When the MasterBuster ransomware launches its payload, it can create entries in the Windows Registry. That could make the ransomware more sustainable as it can spread it on more than one place on your computer. Furthermore, the registry entries can make the virus start automatically with every load of the Windows operating system.

There is a ransom note notifying victims that their computer devices have been infected with the ransomware and the note is written in the Bengali language (targeting people from India and Bangladesh). You can preview the screen with the ransom note below:


There is also a ransom message in the file READ_THIS_FILE_IMPORTANT.txt which reads the following:


Apnar Computer er shokol gurottopurno file encrypt kora hoyeche.
Amra shokol file recover kore dibo.

Jebhabe apnar file recover korben: –
1) Ei link e jan:- https://goo.gl/forms/vftoBRppkJ

2) Form fill-up korun.

3) 24 hours er moddhe apnar email + mobile SMS a shokol dhoroner instructions chole jabe.

Thank you!


Here is how that text looks in the document:


A rough translation in English:


The files on your computer were encrypted securely.
We can recover your files using a decoder.

To obtain a decoder you must do the following steps:
1) Open the link:- https://goo.gl/forms/vftoBRppkJ

2) Fill up the form.

3) Wait 24 hours to confirm payment via email + SMS and follow the instructions sent to you

Thank you!


You are given a deadline of 10 days to pay the sum of 3,500 Indian Rupees. In case you surpass that period, your sum will increase to 5,000 or 10,000 rupees. In the worst case scenario – you will need to pay an equivalent of 150 US dollars. However, you should NOT even be thinking of contacting the cybercriminals or supporting their criminal activity financially. No one can guarantee that your files will become accessible after paying. What’s more, the criminals will probably use the money for making new ransomware.

The MasterBuster ransomware encrypts files and appends the .hcked extension to them. Here you can see a list with file extensions which the ransomware searches to encrypt:

.3dm, .3ds, .3gp, .7z, .accdb, .apk, .app, .asp, .aspx, .avi, .bat, .bin, .bmp, .css, .csv, .dmg, .doc, .docx, .dwg, .dxf, .fla, .flac, .flv, .gem, .html, .ipa, .iso, .jar, .jpeg, .jpg, .js, .m4a, .mdb, .mdf, .mov, .mp3, .mp4, .mpeg, .mpg, .odt, .ogg, .pdf, .php, .png, .pps, .ppt, .pptx, .psd, .py, .rar, .rom, .rtf, .sav, .sln, .sql, .swf, .swift, .txt, .vb, .wav, .wmv, .xls, .xlsx, .xml, .zip

It encrypts files in the following locations:

  • %DriveLetter%
  • %SystemDrive%\users\public
  • %UserProfile%\Documents
  • %UserProfile%\Downloads
  • %UserProfile%\Desktop

The MasterBuster cryptovirus is more than likely to erase the Shadow Volume Copies from the Windows operating system by using the following command:

→vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /Quiet

Read more to see what ways you can implement to try and restore some of your data, even if the restoration is only partial.

Remove MasterBuster and Restore .hcked Files

If your computer got infected with the MasterBuster ransomware virus, you should have some experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this ransomware as fast as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect more computers. You should remove the ransomware and follow the step-by-step instructions guide given below. To see ways that you can try to recover your data, see the step titled 2. Restore files encrypted by MasterBuster.

Berta Bilbao

Berta is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space. Her fascination with IT security began a few years ago when a malware locked her out of her own computer.

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  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4
  • Step 5

Step 1: Scan for MasterBuster with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.

It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.

2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 2

3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 3

4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 4

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Ransomware Automatic Removal - Video Guide

Step 2: Uninstall MasterBuster and related malware from Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:

1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.
delete ransomware from windows step 1

2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
delete ransomware from windows step 2

3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
delete ransomware from windows step 3Follow the instructions above and you will successfully delete most unwanted and malicious programs.

Step 3: Clean any registries, created by MasterBuster on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by MasterBuster there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
delete ransomware virus registries step 1

2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
delete ransomware virus registries step 2

3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
delete ransomware virus registries step 3 Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove MasterBuster


Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows Key + R.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 1

2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 2

3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
remove ransomware in safe mode step 3
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.

4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 4

5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 5

Step 5: Try to Restore Files Encrypted by MasterBuster.

Method 1: Use STOP Decrypter by Emsisoft.

Not all variants of this ransomware can be decrypted for free, but we have added the decryptor used by researchers that is often updated with the variants which become eventually decrypted. You can try and decrypt your files using the instructions below, but if they do not work, then unfortunately your variant of the ransomware virus is not decryptable.

Follow the instructions below to use the Emsisoft decrypter and decrypt your files for free. You can download the Emsisoft decryption tool linked here and then follow the steps provided below:

1 Right-click on the decrypter and click on Run as Administrator as shown below:

stop ransomware decryptor step 1

2. Agree with the license terms:

stop ransomware decryptor step 2

3. Click on "Add Folder" and then add the folders where you want files decrypted as shown underneath:

stop ransomware decryptor step 3

4. Click on "Decrypt" and wait for your files to be decoded.

stop ransomware decryptor step 4

Note: Credit for the decryptor goes to Emsisoft researchers who have made the breakthrough with this virus.

Method 2: Use data recovery software

Ransomware infections and MasterBuster aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the recommended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on the top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


What is MasterBuster Ransomware?

MasterBuster is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files. 

Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithms to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.

What Does MasterBuster Ransomware Do?

Ransomware in general is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.

Ransomware viruses can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.

How Does MasterBuster Infect?

Via several ways.MasterBuster Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, containing virus attachment. This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users.

Another way you may become a victim of MasterBuster is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.

How to Open .MasterBuster files?

You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the .MasterBuster files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryption key for the particular algorithm.

What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?

Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .MasterBuster files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

Can I Restore ".MasterBuster" Files?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .MasterBuster files. 

These methods are in no way 100% guaranteed that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.

How To Get Rid of MasterBuster Virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program.

It will scan for and locate MasterBuster ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .MasterBuster files.

Can I Report Ransomware to Authorities?

In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer.

Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:

Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:

Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei

United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre

United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police

France - Ministère de l'Intérieur

Italy - Polizia Di Stato

Spain - Policía Nacional

Netherlands - Politie

Poland - Policja

Portugal - Polícia Judiciária

Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)

India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell

Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center

Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.

Can You Stop Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?

Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files.

Can MasterBuster Ransomware Steal Your Data?

Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it.

In many cases, the malware authors or attackers will threaten to delete the data or publish it online unless the ransom is paid.

Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?

Yes, ransomware can infect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.

Should I Pay Ransomware?

No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.

What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?

If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.

Can a Ransomware Attack Be Detected?

Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine.

It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.

Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?

Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and others have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.

About the MasterBuster Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this MasterBuster how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.

How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?

Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.

Furthermore, the research behind the MasterBuster ransomware threat is backed with VirusTotal and the NoMoreRansom project.

To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

As a site that has been dedicated to providing free removal instructions for ransomware and malware since 2014, SensorsTechForum’s recommendation is to only pay attention to trustworthy sources.

How to recognize trustworthy sources:

  • Always check "About Us" web page.
  • Profile of the content creator.
  • Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
  • Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.

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