A ransomware virus dubbed Matrix was found. The name comes from the email that is used for contacting the cybercriminals who are spreading it, namely – firstname.lastname@example.org. The malware uses the free command line tool GnuPG for encrypting your files. Malware researcher Rommel Joven has made the discovery of one of the first samples. The ransom message appears afterward, and is written in bsoth Russian and English. To see how to remove this ransomware and if you can try to restore some of your data, read the whole article.
|Short Description||The ransomware encrypts your files and deem them unusable.|
|Symptoms||The ransomware will encrypt your data while adding the extension .matrix. Then it will display a ransom note with instructions for payment in the English and Russian languages.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by Matrix Ransomware |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Matrix Ransomware.|
|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.|
Matrix Ransomware – Update May 2018
Matrix ransomware continues to evolve. The ransom note is now named “#What_Wrong_With_Files#.rtf” and is displayed right here below:
The ransom note states the following:
WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOUR FILES?
Your documents, databases, backups, network folders and other important files are encrypted with RSA-2048 and AES-128 ciphers.
More information about the RSA and AES can be found here:
It means that you will not be able to access them anymore until they are decrypted with your personal decryption key! Without your personal key and special software data recovery is impossible! If you will follow our instructions, we guarantee that you can decrypt all your files quickly and safely!
You really want to restore your files? Please write us to the e-mails:
In subject line of your message write your personal ID:
From the ransom note we gather that this Matrix variant uses RSA 2048 bit and AES 128 bit encyption algorithms, but that is not yet confirmed. No matter the algorithms, files are indeed encrypted. Another variant that looks exactly the same might not encrypt files but instead add the extension “.[RestoreFile@qq.com].MTXLOCK” to the files.
Adding to that, the virus also uses the following two new email addresses for contact:
The new version of Matrix does not keep a log console anymore. Thus, the threat is now spread in more ways than just manual distribution, such as via the Remote Desktop Protocol. In the screenshot down here you can see the detection of the new payload file of the virus on the VirusTotal service:
This new variant of the Matrix cryptovirus does not change the names of files in any way. Although a new variant has been spotted which is designed in the same way as everything detailed above, but does not encrypt files and only adds the extension “.[RestoreFile@qq.com].MTXLOCK” to all files.
Matrix Ransomware – Update April 2018
Matrix ransomware appears to have a couple new variants circling the Web. They are almost identical to the original one described in this article, but more email addresses are given to contact the cybercriminals. One can differentiate between the old and new variants according to the emails used. For the newer 2018 vriants, the emails are the following:
Some victums from Brazil were reported to have been hit around the 15th of April with different samples of the Matrix ransomware, which have the following emails given for contacting the cybercriminals inside the corresponding ransom note messages:
Matrix Ransomware – Update November 2017
Recently, the Matrix Ransomware has been seen spreading with malvertising campaigns, mainly via the RIG Exploit Kit. The following two vulnerabilities are being exploited:
- Flash (CVE-2015-8651)
- Internet Explorer (CVE-2016-0189)
Infected computers will have their files encrypted, with the .email@example.com extension appended to them.
Matrix Ransomware – Infection Spread
Matrix ransomware can spread its infection in various ways. The most common of these ways is through a payload file. If you download the file and execute it, the malicious script will get executed and will infect your computer. You can see the analysis of the executable file containing the payload on the VirusTotal website right here:
Matrix ransomware could be spreading its payload file around social media networks and services for file sharing. The malicious payload script inside might be spread in different files. Lots of freeware and bundled programs could be presented as useful but hide the entry point for this ransomware. Refrain from opening files from suspicious sources such as emails or links, especially after you download them. Beforehand, you should do a scan with a security tool and check their size and signatures for anything that seems suspicious. Read the tips for preventing ransomware from the corresponding forum topic.
Matrix Ransomware – Technical Information
The Matrix ransomware is also a cryptovirus. The malware researcher Rommel Joven has discovered one of the first samples of it in the wild.
Recently, more and more samples were discovered by another malware researcher Jakub Kroustek, which also contain the following image with ransom instructions:
The message on that image state the following:
ALL YOUR FILES HAVE BEEN LOCKED!
This operating system and all of important data was locked due to the violation of the federal laws of the United States of America! (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8; Article 202; Article 210 of the Criminal Code of U.S.A provides for a deprivation of liberty for four to twelve years.)
Following violations were detected: Your IP address was used to visit websites containing pornography, child pornography, zoophilia and child abuse. Your computer also contains video files with pornographic content, elements of violence and child pornography! This computer is aimed to stop your illegal activity.
To unlock your files you have to pay the penalty!
You have only 96 hours to pay the penalty, otherwise you will be arrested!
You must pay the penalty through Bitcoin Wallet. To pay the penalty and unlock you data, you should send the following code:
[REDACTED] to our agent e-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com You will receive all necessaryy instructions!
HURRY UP OR YOU WILL BE ARRESTED!!!
That message is very similar to one that has been seen in the past in multiple other ransomware viruses and tech support scams with the theme “YOUR COMPUTER HAS BEEN BLOCKED“.
Matrix ransomware could create entries in the Windows Registry to achieve persistence. These registry entries are designed to make the virus start automatically with each boot of the Windows Operating System.
After your files are encrypted, a ransom note will appear inside of a file named matrix-readme.rtf or matrix-readme.hta. That note contains the demands of the cybercriminals for unlocking your files.
You can see the contents from the .rtf and .hta files down here:
The ransom note in English reads the following:
Attention! All your files was encrypted!
To decrypt the files, You have to should send the following code:
ID- [Redacted] to e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Then You will receive all necessary instructions.
All the attempts of decryption by yourself will result only in irrevocable loss of your data.
If you still want to try to decrypt them by yourself please make a backup at first because the
decryption will become impossible in case of any changes inside the files.
If you did not receive the answer from the aforecited email for more thon 24 heurs (and only in this case!), use the reserve e-mail address:
The same note in the Russian language:
It reads the following:
Внимание! Все Ваши файлы были зашифрованы.
Чтобы расшифровать uх, Вам необходимо оmnравить код:
на электронный адрес: email@example.com
Далее в ответном письме вы получите все необходuмые uнструкцuu.
Попыmки расшифровать самостоятельно не прuведут ни k чему, kроме безвозвратной
Если вы всë же хоmиmе попыmаmься, то предварительно сделайте резервные коnиu
файлов, uначе в случае uх измененuя расшифровка станет невозможной ни при каkuх
Если вы не nолучили ответа по вышеуkазанному адресу в течение 24 часов (и тольkо в
этом случае!), воспользуйmесь резервной почтой:
There are two emails that are given for contacting the crooks. You should NOT even think of paying or reaching the cybercriminals. This will only support them financially, and nobody can give you a guarantee that your files will get decrypted after paying.
The Matrix ransomware encrypts files, but the encryption algorithm that is used is currently not known. A list with all file extensions that the virus searches to encrypt is not yet available. The free command line tool GnuPG is used for encrypting the files according to Rommel Joven.
All encrypted files will receive the extension .matrix to them, after the encryption process is complete.
The Matrix cryptovirus erases the Shadow Volume Copies from the Windows operating system by using the command given here:
→vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /Quiet
The ransomware also uses the following command:
→cipher /W:[Drive Letter]:\
That command is for completely erasing all data about files that were already deleted. This means that if the command is executed properly, it will erase that data and Recovery Data Software might not work into restoring it. Read further to find out what restoration methods you can try to recover some of your files.
Remove Matrix Ransomware and Restore .matrix Files
If your computer got infected with the Matrix 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 Matrix.