A new updated version of the Mole ransomware virus has been released in the wild, encrypting files with the added .MOLE00 file extension. The cyber-security experts believe that it’s code is still based on the initial ransomware it has been created from – CryptoMix ransom family. The distribution of the .MOLE00 file virus is conducted via malicious e-mails sent all over the globe carrying malicious e-mail attachments or suspicious web links. Once the malicious infection file of .MOLE00 file virus is activated, it downloads the payload of the virus and begins encrypting files. The virus then leaves behind a ransom note, asking the victim to pay a hefty ransom fee for the recovery of the files.
|Name||.MOLE00 File Virus|
|Short Description||The ransomware virus is still believed to be a variant of CryptoMix. After encryption, it will display a detailed ransom note with payment instructions.|
|Symptoms||The ransomware will encrypt your files and then place the extension .MOLE00 on each encrypted file.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss .MOLE00 File Virus.|
|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.|
How Is .MOLE00 File Ransomware Spread
The new version of Mole does not differ much by the methods of replicating itself on victim computers. The primary method for distributing .MOLE00 file virus may still be spam e-mail messages. Such e-mails may pose as shipping notification, fake invoices or other types of seemingly important notices. Inside those e-mails may be a fake Microsoft Word document, that may cause the infection via malicious macros, similar to what the graphic below displays:
If the files are downloaded and the virus is triggered, it’s payload is activated on the victim’s computer. It has been reported in VirusTotal to be with the following identification parameters:
Be advised to be careful what types of files you open when you receive an e-mail or download a torrent or a setup of a free program online. We also recommend to follow the ransomware protection tips for further safety.
.MOLE00 File Virus – More Information
The name of the virus originates from the file extension and primarily the malicious executable which it uses, called mole00.exe. It may reside in the usually targeted Windows folders, which are the following:
Besides the original payload file, the virus may also drop multiple other support files in those folders. These files have similar functions to the ransomware virus on which .MOLE00 is based on – CryptoMix.
When the malicious file is downloaded on your computer, it will immediately be ran as an administrator without you noticing and the virus will begin it’s malicious activities.
One of those activities is to possibly attack the Run and RunOnce registry sub-keys in Windows. In those keys, value strings belonging to .MOLE00 file virus may be created which aim for one thing only – to run the malicious file of the virus automatically on Windows startups. Those value strings have random names and based on them, you can find the file-encrypting malicious file’s location.
Another action that may be performed by this virus is to delete any backups on the computer. The .MOLE00 ransomware achieves this by aiming directly at the Volume Shadow Service. It may execute administrative commands in Windows Command prompt, that directly delete the shadow copies. Those commands may start with the vssadmin command:
Among the malicious activities of Mole ransomware is to drop a ransom note which contains URL’s that can only be opened via the TOR network. These URLs lead to an identification page, allowing victims to pay a hefty ransom fee to get the .MOLE00 encrypted files restored back to their working state:
The Encryption Used by .MOLE00
Similar to the MOLE02 version of the ransomware which was detected earlier this year, the .MOLE00 file virus may also employ a powerful combination of the following encryption algorithms:
- RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) cipher with bit strength of 2048 bits.
- AES Encryption (Advanced Encryption Algorithm) with a bit strength of 128 bits.
The first cipher (RSA) is likely used to generate public and private keys of the already encrypted files by the AES algorithm. This is like a doubled shield against direct file decryption. It can only be reverse-engineered if there is a master key or a bug in the code of the encryption file which may allow researchers to create a decrypter in the future.
The files which are attacked are usually often used type of files with the following file extensions:
.doc, .xls, .pub, .odt, .ods, .odp, .odm, .odc, .odb, .wps, .xlk, .ppt, .mdb, .accdb, .pst, .dwg, .dxf, .dxg, .wpd, .rtf, .wb2, .mdf, .dbf, .psd, .pdd, .eps, .ai, .indd, .cdr, .jpg, .dng, .3fr, .arw, .srf, .sr2, .bay, .crw, .cr2, .dcr, .kdc, .erf, .mef, .mrw, .nef, .nrw, .orf, .raf, .raw, .rwl, .rw2, .r3d, .ptx, .pef, .srw, .x3f, .der, .cer, .crt, .pem, .pfx, .p12, .p7b, .p7c
The virus begins the encryption process with the Favorites folder and then navigates it’s way to the other folders as well. The files are naturally added the .MOLE00 file extension after encryption, changing their appearance to the following:
Remove .MOLE00 File Virus and Restore Files
For the removal process of this ransomware infection, we strongly suggest that you focus on backing up the encrypted files beforehand. Then, it is recommended to follow the removal instructions below. Take into consideration that removing Mole ransomware may be a risky process due to the modifications in Windows it does, which may break your OS if care is not taken. This is why, experts suggest to use an advanced anti-malware software which will allow you to remove the malware automatically and safely.
If your files are encrypted, do not despair, because you can still recover some of them. This can be done with alternative methods such as the ones we have suggested in step “2. Restore files encrypted by .MOLE00 File Virus” below. Be advised to try them only after a backup and only with copies of the encrypted files.
- Guide 1: How to Remove .MOLE00 File Virus from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of .MOLE00 File Virus from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove .MOLE00 File Virus from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase .MOLE00 File Virus from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall .MOLE00 File Virus from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove .MOLE00 File Virus from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate .MOLE00 File Virus from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove .MOLE00 File Virus from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove .MOLE00 File Virus
Step 2: Uninstall .MOLE00 File Virus and related software 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.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by .MOLE00 File Virus on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by .MOLE00 File Virus there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of .MOLE00 File Virus from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall .MOLE00 File Virus and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove .MOLE00 File Virus via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove .MOLE00 File Virus from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase .MOLE00 File Virus from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall .MOLE00 File Virus from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove .MOLE00 File Virus from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the .MOLE00 File Virus will be removed.
Eliminate .MOLE00 File Virus from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.