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Remove Sodinokibi (REvil) Ransomware and Decrypt Files

Sodinokibi is the name of a new ransomware which is currently being distributed in aggressive campaigns. The number of infected users is rising. If you are one of them, this article will provide you with more details about Sodinokibi ransomware.

Sodinokibi / REvil

Keep in mind that Sodinokibi ransomware may be a new player in the ransomware game, but so far it has displayed well-coordinated behavior and spread campaigns. The ransomware operators have borrowed quite a few tricks from GandCrab which was shut down recently. This is an indicator that Sodinokibi may grow as big as GandCrab in terms of attacks and variants. The ransomware may quickly be adopted by a high number of affiliates.

Threat Summary

Name Sodinokibi
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description The ransomware encrypts files on your computer system and demands a ransom to be paid to allegedly recover them.
Symptoms The ransomware will encrypt your files and append a random extension to them.
Distribution Method Spam Email Campaigns, Hacked Websites, Malvertising, Exploit Kits
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware


Malware Removal Tool

Sodinokibi (REvil) Evolution and Attacks

Update September 2021: Decrypter Released

Bitdefender recently published a universal decryption tool to help REvil victims recover their encrypted files. The decrypter has been developed with a trusted law enforcement partners, according to the company’s statement. Due to the ongoing status of the law enforcement investigation, Bitdefender is not revealing further details.

It is important to note that the REvil decrypter works with files encrypted before July 13, 2021.

2020 Activities
One of the interesting factors surrounding Sodinokibi is that the attacks started shortly after the GandCrab ransomware was suddenly “retired”. Sodinokibi or REvil, as it is sometimes alternatively called, is actively maintained and developed with many derivative samples and versions.

A hacking group Unknown has even confirmed this possible link by stating publicly that they have been affiliates of GandCrab and have customized the main engine source code to create their own version of the Sodinokibi ransomware. Further information was revealed about the threat in an online hacking community. One of the fields which are customized to create a custom version of Sodinokibi is called pid and this will refer to the affiliate identity used by the current malware group.

At the moment, current versions of the Sodinokibi ransomware feature more than 1,000 hacker-controlled servers used to manage the infected computers. A network scan has shown that the ones which are operational also host WordPress sites. Apparently this is a disguise used by the hackers.

In March 2020 we saw a new strain of the Sodinokibi ransomware. One of the new extensions of the variant is reported by researchers to be .a6f2t and the new ransom note to be named with the extension included in it, which also serves as an ID. The ransomware note in this case is labeled a6f2t-PLEASE-README-THIS.txt. The crytovirus itself has not changed much in terms of structure, but there might be more attack vectors added in the near future.

In February 2020 another interesting development around the Sodinokibi ransomware family became known. A popular hacking underground community has recently announced an article writing contest for its users with a reward of $5,000 for the first place totaling an overall fund of $15,000. It appears that the price is actually sponsored by the Sodinokibi hackers. According to the available information the winners will also have an opportunity to “work” with the hacking group, by specifying that this is to be done under “mutually beneficial conditions”. There are two factors which are related to the this activity:

  • Proliferation of Attack Models — The hackers will race in order to create elaborate content giving further details on important topics when it comes into breaking into systems.
  • Current Trends Monitoring — By looking over the type of articles the users contest will generate interested parties will be able to see what are the latest trends in offensive security.
  • Sodinokibi Ransomware Development — As the winners will probably agree to work with the Sodinokibi ransomware hackers, we anticipate that newer versions are forthcoming.

Further information became available about one of the hackers or a group leader of a Sodinokibi called Lalartu. The data was provided in a closed hacker community where a lot of criminal trades are carried out. The available security research shows that the hacker can be reached using the XMPP protocol — a popular instant messaging service which allows people to be reached via a secure channel. By cross-referencing their address activity related to the Sodinokibi ransomware the analysts discovered that Lalartu has been active on other groups as well. An alternative contact mechanism is also a Skype handle and an Outlook email. Using further investigation a phone number originating from Russia has been identified as well. This means that it is very possible that the criminals are from this country. A download file leading to meta data has then lead to the discovery of a VK and Twitch profile. The nickname/profile of a hacker that is possibly behind some of a Sodinokibi ransomware attack is Alexander/Zima Taker. According to the available information so far this handle is behind virus earnings which amount to $500,000.

More information about the REvil hacking group became available in January 2020 when enough samples and behavior analyses have been collected and reviewed by multiple security specialists and vendors. The Sodinokibi ransomware is mostly being distributed in a RaaS setting — various groups are buying access to the virus components and required modules in order to distribute it by themselves. This leads to the creation of multiple samples, all of them having a different configuration. Only in a few months time more than a hundred distinct versions of the Sodinokibi ransomware have been identified — most of them acting enterprise networks. Some of the attacks are particularly dangerous infecting thousands of computers in a single release.

A Successor to GandCrab

Security researchers already established that Sodinokibi is the successor to GandCrab. As such, Sodinokibi which is also known under the REvil name, has various distribution methods across different campaigns.

Similarly to GandCrab, the creator of the ransomware made it available via the RaaS model (ransomware-as-a-service). McAffe researchers conducted a large scale analysis of these campaigns and were able to determine which affiliates played a crucial role in the success of GandCrab. They also discovered a lot of similarity between the RaaS enterprise of GandCrab and that of Sodinokibi.

2019 Activities
A full technical analysis of the Sodinokibi ransomware has been made based on the observations done on the attack campaigns so far. There have been a multitude of attacks and all of them focus on a specific spread mechanisms and intended targets. What’s particular worrying is that the criminals tend to monitor current trending vulnerabilities which is a very effective way of infecting many hosts in a single attack. One of the popular examples is the well-known Oracle WebLogic flaw, tracked in CVE-2019-2725 on which we reported earlier. Some of the Sodinokibi ransomware threats were found to take advantage of this particular flaw and use it as a conduit for spreading the virus samples.

One of the latest virus releases are being delivered in encrypted form using a strong cipher and delivered via obfuscated domain names. As soon as the infiltration is made it will exploit a specific flaw to gain privilege escalation tracked in the CVE-2018-8453 advisory which is described as the following:

An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists in Windows when the Win32k component fails to properly handle objects in memory, aka “Win32k Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability.” This affects Windows 7, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT 8.1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 10, Windows 10 Servers.

When the intrusion has been made the ransomware will start to unpack its current configuration and attempt to execute actions as a program having administrative privileges. As soon as this is done the threat will start an extensive information gathering module. The results will be stored in values in the Windows Registry. The latest versions of the Sodinokibi ransomware have been found to use a blacklist – the current version will identify if the users have enabled certain keyboard layouts. If any of them are found the virus will cease operations. The analysis of a recently captured sample will look for the following:

Romanian, Russian, Russian (Moldova), Ukrainian, Belarusian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Tajik, Persian, Armenian, Azeri, Georgian, Kazakh, Kygyz, Turkmen, Uzbek, Tatar, Syrian and Arabic (Syrian)

If none of these keyboards layouts are detected it will proceed with the removal of shadow volume copies before proceeding with the file encryption. What’s particularly worrying is that the Sodinokibi ransomware can also process network shares. The compromised files will be renamed with a pseudo-random extension.

A campaign in July, 2019 was also delivering the Sodinokibi ransomware. BSI, the German national cybersecurity authority, released a warning about a malicious spam campaign which delivers the ransomware in emails imitating the official BSI. The malicious emails are sent from an email address identified as meldung@bsi-bund.org.

It is easy to recognize these emails. First of all, the official domain of BSI is bsi.bund.de, not .org. The subject list the emails use is “Warnmeldung kompromittierter Benutzerdaten“, which is translated to “Warning message of compromised user data”. It’s obvious that the attackers are trying to trick users into opening the email. This is a well-known trick – trying to urge the user into performing an action by providing false information.

Researchers also reported that Sodinokibi is utilizing a former Windows zero-day exploit, known under CVE-2018-8453, to achieve the highest elevation of privileges on infected systems.

CVE-2018-8453 is an elevation of privilege vulnerability that is triggered in Windows when the Win32k component fails to properly handle objects in memory. This issue Windows 7, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT 8.1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 10, Windows 10 Servers.

The flaw was patched in the October 2018’s Patch Tuesday. The discovery of the current exploit of the vulnerability comes from Kaspersky researchers.

Sodinokibi Ransomware – How Is It Being Spread?

The operators of this cryptovirus are relying on aggressive malvertising (malicious advertising) campaigns that redirect to the infamous RIG exploit kit. The fact that this strategy is used means that the operators are aiming at large-scale distribution and are using a range of infection mechanisms.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Sodinokibi‘s campaigns appeared shortly after the demolition of GandCrab. Security researchers were also quick to notice that Sodinokibi’s distribution tactics are reminiscent of GandCrab’s infection vectors. These include aggressive and large-scale email spam campaigns, server exploits, hacked websites, etc.

In the case of hacked websites, the ransomware’s operators are hacking legitimate websites to replace legitimate software with the malicious, file-encrypting payload. This scheme is quite similar to the methods employed by GandCrab operators and affiliates. Another such scheme shared by the two ransomware is the attacks on MSP (Manage Service Providers) where their networks are accessed through Remote Desktop Services. The next step of the attack is the user of the MSP’s management console to push Sodinokibi’s ransomware installers to all managed endpoints.

So, to summarize, the ransomware has been using the following distribution tactics to ensure successful infections:

  • Malvertising campaigns;
  • Email spam campaigns;
  • Hacked websites and software;
  • MSP-based attacks.

Sodinokibi Ransomware – Infection Details

A recent code analysis of the threat reveals that the ransomware samples include an elaborate collection of modules. In order to hide the changes to the system, the main ransomware engine will suppress the errors and failures during the boot up procedures. This is often linked to boot modifications that start the ransomware engines as soon as the computer is powered on.

Access to certain operating system menus and options can also be blocked — startup repair for example. This is done in order to make it very hard to follow manual user removal guides. As part of Sodinokibi’s configuration, it will also delete sensitive data, including volume snapshots and backups.

An advanced intrusion tactic used by ransomware operators is to delay the startup of the infection module after it has been deployed. This means that it will bypass the typical behavior scans employed by security software. Following the ransomware installation, the threat will also read the system configuration and certain operating system variables in order to search for the presence of security software, including anti-virus programs, firewalls, sandbox environments and intrusion detection systems.

Sodinokibi ransomware may also be capable of modifying the operating system settings in order to redirect the Internet traffic through a hacker-controlled server. This will enable the hackers to spy on the victim’s activities in real-time.

This behavior effectively allows Sodinokibi operators to acquire information without the need of a Trojan horse on the local machine. Coupled with the extensive gathering of data, this ransomware proves to be a very dangerous threat.

Sodinokibi Ransomware – Ransom Note and Extension

We were contacted by a victim of the ransomware who shared that all the infected files were changed with the .7aw19n extension.

Another reported extension used by the ransomware is .bmn63. However, it is important to note that both of the extensions appear to be randomly generated, meaning that each infection would get a different combination of letters and numbers.

Here’s what the Sodinokibi ransomware note reads (a part of it):

Whats happen?
Your files are encrypted, and currently unavailable. You can check it: all files on your computer has expansion [random combination of letters and numbers].
By the way, everything is possible to recover (restore), but you need to follow our instruction. Otherwise, you cant return your data (NEVER).
What guarantees?
Its just a business. We absolutely do not care about you and your deals, except getting benefits. If we do not do our work and liabilities – nobody will not.
To check the ability of returning files, You should go to our website. There you can decrypt one file for free. This is our guarantee.

Remove Sodinokibi Ransomware

As evident by the threat analysis, Sodinokibi ransomware contains highly complex code that corrupts both system settings and valuable data. An infected system could be used in a secure manner again only after all malicious files and objects associated with the ransomware are removed. For the purpose, we recommend the help of our guide that reveals how to remove the ransomware from the computer.

In addition, the guide presents several alternative data recovery approaches that may be helpful for the file recovery. However, please note that these methods are alternative and may not work. An official decryption tool may soon be released, and we will update our article as soon as we have information.

We remind you to back up all encrypted files to an external drive before attempting recovery.

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the project started. A professional with 10+ years of experience in creating engaging content. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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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.


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 Sodinokibi from Windows.

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


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 Sodinokibi 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 Sodinokibi 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 Sodinokibi 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.

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 Sodinokibi 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.


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


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.


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

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

Ransomware infections and Sodinokibi 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 Sodinokibi from Mac OS X.

Step 1: Uninstall Sodinokibi and remove related files and objects

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 Sodinokibi:

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 Sodinokibi. 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 Sodinokibi. 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 Sodinokibi 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 Sodinokibi. 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

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

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


SpyHunter for Mac

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

Ransomware infections and Sodinokibi 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.

Sodinokibi FAQ

What is Sodinokibi ransomware and how does it work?

Sodinokibi 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 Sodinokibi ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Sodinokibi 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 Sodinokibi 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 .Sodinokibi files?

You can't. At this point the .Sodinokibi 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 .Sodinokibi files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by Sodinokibi 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 ".Sodinokibi" files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Sodinokibi 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 Sodinokibi 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 Sodinokibi ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Sodinokibi files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Sodinokibi 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.

How to 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:

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

1 Comment
  1. concerned citizen

    Too bad that GandCrab is replaced by another ransomware… Sodinokibi ransomware-as-a-service doesnt sound good at all!


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