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.
|.MOLE00 File Virus
|The ransomware virus is still believed to be a variant of CryptoMix. After encryption, it will display a detailed ransom note with payment instructions.
|The ransomware will encrypt your files and then place the extension .MOLE00 on each encrypted file.
|Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
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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.
.MOLE00 File Virus-FAQ
What is .MOLE00 File Virus Ransomware?
.MOLE00 File Virus 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 .MOLE00 File Virus 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 .MOLE00 File Virus Infect?
Via several ways..MOLE00 File Virus 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 .MOLE00 File Virus 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 ..MOLE00 File Virus files?
You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the ..MOLE00 File Virus 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 ..MOLE00 File Virus files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore "..MOLE00 File Virus" Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore ..MOLE00 File Virus 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 .MOLE00 File Virus 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 .MOLE00 File Virus ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important ..MOLE00 File Virus 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 .MOLE00 File Virus 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.
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 .MOLE00 File Virus Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this .MOLE00 File Virus 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.
To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
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