Mole extortion virus hacks computer systems to keep their data locked for ransom. The infection has been around long since. However, it updates both in its own scripts and in the infection vectors. That enables the ransomware to remain a top threat for computer users worldwide.
Currently, Mole00 ransomware is the most advanced version of the plague. This version has just surfaced and owes its name to the .MOLE00 string appended to each item it encrypts. The infection chiefly targets Windows, but Mac and other devices are not on a safe side either.
The attack by Mole targets data stored on a device. If possible, of course, it tries to reach files stored in the memory accessible from the device it has affected. The operating system itself remains safe. Therefore, one may rather safely and with minimal damages recover from the Mole ransomware, if properly backups to where the rogue cannot reach.
Meanwhile, excluding the risk of Mole encryptor invasion for good is a real challenge. The infection is very flexible and inventive in terms of infiltration tactics. For instance, Windows users too often get the ransomware onboard as they land on a fake Microsoft website. The fake page prompts the visitors to download and install an update. Needless to say, the so-called update installation launches the ransomware encryption payload on a PC concerned.
The fake Microsoft update drops item named pluginoffice.exe. This file, when launched, actually involves users into the malicious routine. The Trojan shows a tab titled Color Calibration. It looks like a genuine User Account Control window asking user’s permit to apply some reasonable changes. Most of the users click Yes or OK button. Since then, the ransom invader enjoys Administrator privileges. It connects to the remote server that triggers the malicious encryption workflow.
Prior to the encryption itself, the ransomware discards certain essential system file formats and may omit some rare formats. The exemptions are not likely to spare a single really important piece of data that undergoes the strongest blend of AES and RSA encryption. Apart from encrypting the data contained in the files, the infection also turns filenames into a gibberish of 32 characters. Mole00 extension follows the weird sequence. Mole generates a ransom note named _HELP_INSTRUCTION.txt. Previous versions of Mole malware are known to name the same differently.
The instruction basically says that all your important files have been hacked. You are expected to pay, the amount varies from 0.5 to 1 BTC; otherwise, the data remains encrypted for good.
The sum claimed by the crooks is quite substantial, yet paying the ransom does feed the troll, so he grows bigger.
There is no ultimate way to ensure the post-ransomware data recovery. However, the workarounds below are worth trying.
Automatic removal of Mole00 ransomware
The benefits of using the automatic security suite to get rid of this infection are obvious: it scans the entire system and detects all potential fragments of the virus, so you are a few mouse clicks away from a complete fix.
- Download and install recommended malware security suite
- Select Start Computer Scan feature and wait until the utility comes up with the scan report. Proceed by clicking on the Fix Threats button, which will trigger a thorough removal process to address all the malware issues compromising your computer and your privacy.
Restore files locked by Mole00 ransomware
Mole00 represents a unique category of malicious software whose attack surface reaches beyond the operating system and its components, which is why removing the virus itself is a part of the fix only. As it has been mentioned, it encrypts one’s personal information, so the next phase of the overall remediation presupposes reinstating the files that will otherwise remain inaccessible.
Launch data recovery software
Similarly to the rest of its fellow-infections, Mole00 most likely follows an operational algorithm where it erases the original versions of the victim’s files and actually encrypts their copies. This peculiarity might make your day, because forensics-focused applications like Data Recovery Pro are capable of restoring the information that has been removed. As the virus further evolves, its modus operandi may be altered – in the meanwhile, go ahead and try this.
Take advantage of Volume Shadow Copy Service
This technique is based on using the native backup functionality that’s shipped with Windows operating system. Also referred to as Volume Snapshot Service (VSS), this feature makes regular backups of the user’s files and keeps their most recent versions as long as System Restore is on. Mole00 virus hasn’t been found to affect these copies therefore the restoration vector in question is strongly recommended. The two sub-sections below highlight the automatic and manual workflow.
- a) Use Shadow Explorer
Shadow Explorer is an applet that provides an easy way of retrieving previous versions of files and folders. Its pro’s include an intuitive interface where the computer’s entire file hierarchy is displayed within one window. Just pick the hard disk volume, select the object or directory to be restored, right-click on it and choose Export. Follow the app’s prompts to get the job done.
- b) Use file properties
Essentially, what the above-mentioned Shadow Explorer tool does is it automates the process that can otherwise be performed manually via the Properties dialog for individual files. This particular approach is more cumbrous but just as effective as its software-based counterpart, so you can proceed by right-clicking on a specific file, which has been encrypted by Mole00 ransomware, and selecting Properties in the context menu. The tab named Previous Versions is the next thing to click – it displays available versions of the file by date of the snapshot creation. Pick the latest copy and complete the retrieval by following the prompts.
Data backups work wonders
Ransomware like Mole00 isn’t nearly as almighty and destructive in case you run regular file backups to the cloud or external data media. The virus itself can be completely removed in a matter of minutes, and the distorted information can then be just as easily recovered from the backup. Luckily, this is a growing trend, so ransom Trojans are hopefully going to become less subversive in the near future.
Verify thoroughness of the removal
Having carried out the instructions above, add a finishing touch to the security procedure by running an additional computer scan to check for residual malware activity