THREAT REMOVAL

Moth Ransomware – Remove It and Restore .m0th Encoded Files

shutterstock_278999798Ransomware, named Moth, because it uses the file extension .m0th is the sole reason of users complaining in online forums. The ransomware uses an extremely strong AES-256 encryption algorithm to encipher the files of users, rendering them unusable and unable to be accessed via any software. More to it Moth ransomware leaves a ransom note which aims to scare users into paying the ransom. Security experts firmly believe that exactly the opposite of paying should be done – removing the virus and attempting to restore the files via any possible method besides this one. Unfortunately, direct decryption is not available at the moment, and this is why we advise you to read this article to delete Moth Ransomware and try to revert your files.

Threat Summary

NameMoth
TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionThe ransomware encrypts files with the AES-256 cipher and asks a ransom for decryption.
SymptomsFiles are encrypted and become inaccessible. A ransom note with instructions for paying the ransom shows as a READMEPLEASE.TXT file.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, File Sharing Networks.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss Moth Ransomware.
Data Recovery ToolWindows 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.

Moth Ransomware – How Does It Spread

To be widespread, Moth Ransomware’s creators may have used a combination of several tools to assure successfully undetected infection to as many users as possible for them:

  • Spam bots or spamming services.
  • Program joiners.
  • Crypters otherwise known as obfuscators.
  • Malicious macros.
  • Exploit Kits.
  • Malicious .JS (JavaScript).

Such tools may be used to replicate spam e-mails under the pretext they come from a legitimate sender, like a well-respected company or other organizations and institutions. The e-mails may either contain malicious web links or other malicious files that may infect your computer.

Another possibility of infection which is less likely but still an option for crooks is to take advantage of a shady advertising platforms and programs, like ad-supported browser hijacking software which displays browser redirects on the user PC. One of those redirects may carry the malicious drive-by download script for Moth Ransomware.

Moth Ransomware – In-Depth Analysis

As soon as Moth Ransomware has been initiated on the user’s PC, it may create malicious files in several key Windows folders:

  • %AppData%
  • %Temp%
  • %Local%
  • %LocalRow%
  • %User’s Profile%

After it has created the malicious files, Moth Ransomware may also begin to modify Windows settings. The Moth virus may create registry values to run whenever the user boots up Windows:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run {value with the location of the malicious file in Windows}

To encrypt files, Moth Ransomware supports a scanning encryptor which may go through a wide variety of file extensions associated with videos, music, adio files, databases and other file types, for example:

“PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX ..INI .PRF Encoded Files .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJ R.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG ..CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG”Source:fileinfo.com

After it detects the extensions it is preconfigured to encrypt Moth ransomware begins applying an AES-256 cipher on the files, generating a unique private key which is sent to the cyber-criminals’ C&C (Command and Control) center so that they can later ask BitCoins for them.

The encrypted files have the .m0th file extension, for example:

encrypted-file-Moth-Ransowmare-sensorstechforum

Furthermore, files encoded by Moth ransomware cannot be opened by any other software and fast and 100% direct decryption is only possible in case the user has obtained the private AES encryption key.

After encryption, Moth creates the READMEPLEASE.TXT file which contains the demands of the black hat hackers:

“Hello.
All your files have been encrypted using our extremely strong private key. There is no way to recover them without our assistance. If you want to get your files back, you must be ready to pay for them. If you are broke and poor, sorry, we cannot help you. If you are ready to pay, then get in touch with us using a secure and anonymous p2p messenger. We have to use a messenger because standard emails get blocked quickly and if our email gets blocked your files will be lost forever.
Go to http://bitmessage.org/, download and run Bitmessage. Click Your Identities tab > then click New > then click OK (this will generate your personal address, you need to do this just once). Then click Send tab.
TO:{Cyber-criminals’ BitCoin address}
Subject: name of your PC or your IP address or both.
Message: Hi, I am ready to pay.
Click Send button.
You are done.
To get the fastest reply from us with all further instructions, please keep your Bitmessage running on the computer at all times, if possible, or as often as you can because Bitmessage is a bit slow and it takes the time to send and get messages. If you cooperate and follow the instructions, you will get all your files back intact and very, very soon. Thank you.” Source: Affected User

As visible from the ransom note above, it is almost identical to another ransomware variant, known under the nickname BitMessage suggesting that Moth ransomware may be a variant of BitMessage virus. This particular threat is known to take advantage of the anonymous messaging service BitMessage to communicate with the victims of the virus undetected and in the same time faster and easier. Clever move from the cyber-criminals since they realize that “customer support” is important as well.

Moth Ransomware – Conclusion, How to Remove It and Restore the Files

To summarize and conclude, Moth Ransomware appears to be a variant of BitMessage ransomware – It uses the same AES-256 cipher, leaves the same ransom note and maybe has, even more, similarities. This is a strong indicator that this virus may have been sold on the black markets as a service (RaaS Scheme) or the same gang behind it created another virus with improvements, although it is way less likely because there is no working decryptor for BitMessage as well.

To remove Moth ransomware, we advise you to carefully follow the removal steps at the bottom of this page. In case you are having difficulties or are not sure that the manual removal instructions will help you, we advise following the automatic removal solution and download an advanced anti-malware program. It will swiftly find all files associated with Moth ransomware, remove them and protect your computer in the future as well.

To try and gain back access to your files, we advise you to be very careful, since this virus may have a CBC mode, which essentially “breaks” the files you are trying to decrypt with another decrypter directly. This is why we advise avoiding direct decryption and trying some of the alternative methods in step “3.Restore files encrypted by Moth” below. They may not be fully effective, but they may also help you recover little portion of the data you lost.

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.

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.


OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy


Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove Moth from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Moth

OFFER

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


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
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.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall Moth 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. To do that:


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


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


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"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Moth 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 Moth there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


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


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
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.

IMPORTANT!
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: Scan for Moth 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.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


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

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


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.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

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

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Moth.

Ransomware infections and Moth 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 reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

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


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of Moth from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Moth and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Moth:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Moth. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Moth. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • 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 Moth 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:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Moth. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for Moth:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Moth.

Ransomware infections and Moth 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 reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

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


Moth FAQ

What is Moth ransomware and how does it work?

Moth 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 algorithm how 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.

How does Moth ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Moth Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, 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.

After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.

Another way, you may become a victim of Moth 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 .Moth files?

You can't. At this point the .Moth files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.

Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?

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

One way to restore files, encrypted by Moth ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.

How Do I restore ".Moth" files (Other Methods)?

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

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

How do I get rid of Moth ransomware virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate Moth ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Moth files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Moth ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.

What to Do If nothing works?

There is still a lot you can do. If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:

  • Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
  • Try to contact your friends, relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.
  • Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re-downloaded from the web.
  • Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.
  • You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.

More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.

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