Remove MZQW Ransomware Virus (+DECRYPT .mzqw Files)

Mzqw ransomware is a sort of computer virus that infiltrates your PC, encrypts your files, and then asks to pay the money for file decryption. Besides these bad activities, that malware also changes some important settings and can even suspend your antivirus program.

Mzqw Ransomware Summary

NameMzqw virus
TypeSTOP/Djvu Ransomware
DamageAll files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password-stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.
Mzqw Removal Tool To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license. 6 days free trial available.

Mzqw virus – what is it?

Mzqw ransomware can correctly be described as a STOP/Djvu ransomware family. That sort of virus is targeted at individuals. This specification supposes that Mzqw does not carry any type of additional viruses, which sometimes helps ransomware of other families to control your system. Since the majority users do not have anything valuable on their PCs, there is no need to carry other malware that increases the risk of failure of the whole ransomware operation.

The common signs of that virus activity is the emersion of .mzqw files in your folders, instead of the document you used to have. The photo.jpg turns into photo.jpg.mzqw, report.xlsx – into report.xlsx.mzqw and so on. You cannot to prevent this action, and can’t open that documents – they are encrypted with pretty strong cipher.

Mzqw Virus - encrypted .mzqw files
Mzqw Encrypted Files

You can also spectate different other signs of virus activity. Abruptly disabled Microsoft Defender and inability to open the popular anti-malware forums or websites, where the virus removal and file decryption guides are posted. You will see how it works in the paragraph below. The removal and decryption guide are also available – read below how to remove Mzqw ransomware and get the .mzqw files back.

How did Mzqw ransomware encrypt my files?

After the malware injection, the Mzqw virus starts a connection with its command and control server. This server is commanded by malware maintainers – people who manage the distribution of this malware. Another activity which is done by these crooks is answering the emails of sufferers, who wish to get their files back.

The documents are encrypted with one of the strongest encryption algorithm – AES-256. The digit in the name of this algo means the power of two – 2^256 for this case. 78-digit number of possible decryption keys variations – it is unreal to brute force it. As cipher analysts say, it will take more time than the Earth can approximately exist, even in case if you make use of the most powerful computers. In each folder that keeps the encrypted documents, Mzqw virus leaves the _readme.txt file with the following contents:


Don't worry, you can return all your files!

All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.

What guarantees you have?

You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.

You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:

Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.

Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.

Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

Your personal ID:

However, you can still use some of your documents. The Mzqw virus encrypts only the initial 150 KB of each file, but the rest of this document can be accessed. Primarily, it works best with audio/video files, which are surely bigger than 150 kilobytes. Not each media player is capable of open these files – WinAmp is the best choice, since it is free and well-tested. First seconds of each file will be silent – this part is encrypted – but the rest of the file will be accessible like nothing happened.

Is Mzqw ransomware dangerous for my PC?

As it was mentioned several paragraphs above, ransomware is not only about encrypting the files. Mzqw malware makes the changes in your system in order to prevent looking for the malware removal and file decryption guides. Malware does not establish the software barrier – it just changes the system settings, primarily – networking and security configurations.

Through the networking configurations, the most changed item is the HOSTS configuration file. This text file keeps the DNS-address instructions, which are used by the browsers while requesting to the website server. If you add a specific DNS-address for the certain web page, your browser will connect that website through that DNS next time. Ransomware edits that file, adding the unknown DNS, so any of the web browsers will show you the “Unable to resolve the DNS-address” error.

Error 404

Other changes done by the virus are targeted on prevention of operative spotting of itself, and also disabling the installation of the majority of antivirus programs. Mzqw virus implements several changes in Group Policies – the system configuration interface which allows to alter the rights of each app. In such a way, the virus disables the Microsoft Defender and several other antivirus tools, as well as blocks the launch of antivirus installation files.

How did I get infected?

Throughout the whole term while STOP/Djvu family is active, it was using questionable applications as a primary way of ransomware injection. Under the term of dubious software I mean applications that are already not controlled by the maintainer and spread through the third-party websites. These apps may be hacked, to make them possible to use without purchasing any license. Another example of such a program type is different hacking tools – cheat engines, keygens, Windows activation tools and so on.

This sort of applications may be distributed in many methods – through the website that offers a downloading link, and also through the seeding networks – ThePirateBay, eMule and so on. All these sources are known as the biggest computer piracy sites. People use these sources to get various programs or games for free, even if these programs must be purchased. No one can stop the users who hack these programs from adding viruses of some type to the files of the hacked tool. Hacktools, meanwhile, are created for outlaw purposes, so their creators may easily embed the virus under the guise of some program element.

injecting viruses into program
when adding the jumps on license checking, hackers can easily inject malicious code into the program

These cracked programs, regardless of their source, are one of the most often sources for various viruses, and 100% the most used one for Mzqw malware. It is better to stop using of it, and not only because of virus injection risks. Avoiding the license purchase is an outlaw action, and both hackers and persons who make use of cracked apps fall under the charge of piracy.

How do I remove Mzqw malware?

The Mzqw malware is very hard to remove manually. Really, because of the number of alterations it makes into your computer, it is almost unreal to detect them all and repair. The best decision is to make use of antivirus programs. But which one to choose?

You can see the advices to use Microsoft Defender, that is already inside of your system. However, as it was mentioned before, most of STOP/Djvu malware examples block it even before the encryption procedure. Using the third-party application is the only possible option – and I can offer you the GridinSoft Anti-Malware as an option for that case. It has perfect detection abilities, so the malware will not be missed. It is also capable of system recovery, which is heavily demanded after the Mzqw virus attack.

To remove Mzqw malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software.

  • Download and install GridinSoft Anti-Malware by the button above. After the installation, you will be offered to start a 6-day free trial. In this term, the program has its full functionality, so you will definitely be able to both wipe out the virus and fix your system. To activate a free trial, you just need to type your email address.
  • Free trial activation GridinSoft Anti-Malware

  • After activating the trial, launch the full scan of your PC. It will last for about 15-20 minutes, and check each folder you have in your system. Ransomware will not hide!
  • Full scan in GridinSoft Anti-Malware

  • When the scan is over, press the Clean Now button to wipe out the Mzqw ransomware and all other malware detected by a program.
  • Clean the viruses

    After the ransomware removal, you can go to file decryption. Virus removal is needed to prevent the repeating ciphering of your files: while Mzqw ransomware is active, it will not miss any unencrypted file.

    How to decrypt the .mzqw files?

    There are two ways to decrypt your files after a Mzqw malware attack. First one and the most popular is file decryption. It is conducted with a special program, designed by Emsisoft, and called Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP/Djvu. This program is absolutely free. Analysts update its decryption keys databases as often as possible, so you will definitely get your files back, sooner or later.

    Another option to get your documents and photos back is to try to recover them from your physical disks. Since Mzqw virus deletes them and substitutes with a ciphered copy, the residue of the documents are still stored on the disk drive. After the removal, the information about them is removed from the file system, but not from a disk. Special tools, like PhotoRec, are able to recover these files. It is free, too, and may also be used for file recovery in case when you have deleted something unintentionally.

    Decrypting the .mzqw files with Emsisoft Decrypter for STOP/Djvu

    Download and install Emsisoft Decrypter tool. Agree with its EULA and continue to the interface.

    Emsisoft Decrypter EULA

    The interface of this program is extremely easy. All you have to do is to select the folder where the encrypted files are stored, and wait. If the program has the decryption key which corresponds to your ransomware case – it will decrypt it.

    Emsisoft Decrypter decryption process

    During the use of Emsisoft Decrypter for STOP/Djvu, you may observe various error messages. Don’t worry, that does not mean that you did something wrong or a program does not work properly. Each of these errors refer to a specific case. Here is the explanation:

    Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [your ID]

    The program does not have a corresponding key for your case. You need to wait for some time until the key database will be updated.

    No key for new variant online ID: [your ID]

    Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible.

    This error means that your files are encrypted with an online key. In such a case, the decryption key is unique and stored on the remote server, controlled by crooks. Unfortunately, the decryption is impossible.

    Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]

    This ID appears to be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.

    Ransomware uses the offline key to encrypt your files. This key is not unique, so you likely have it in common with another victim. Since offline keys must be collected, too, it is important to keep calm and wait until the analysts team finds one which will fit your case.

    Remote name could not be resolved

    This error indicates that the program has problems with DNS on your computer. That’s a clear sign of malicious alterations in your HOSTS file. Reset it using the official Microsoft guide.

    Recovering the .mzqw files with PhotoRec tool

    PhotoRec is an open-source tool, which is created to recover the deleted or lost files from the disk. It checks each disk sector for the residues of deleted files, and then tries to recover them. That app is able to recover the files of more than 400 different formats. Because of the described feature of ransomware encryption mechanism, it is possible to use this tool to get the original, unencrypted files back.

    Download PhotoRec from the official website. It is absolutely free, however, its developer warns that he does not guarantee that this program will be 100% effective for file recovery purposes. Moreover, even paid apps can barely give you such a guarantee, because of the chain of random factors that can make the file recovery harder.

    Unzip the downloaded archive to the folder you like. Don’t worry because of its name – TestDisk – this is the name of the utility developed by the same company. They decided to spread it together since PhotoRec and TestDisk are often used together. Among the unzipped files, search for qphotorec_win.exe file. Run this executable file.

    PhotoRec and TestDisk

    Before you can start the recovery process, you need to specify several settings. In the drop-down list, choose the logic disk where the files were stored before the encryption.

    PhotoRec recovering choose disk drive

    Then, you need to specify the file formats you need to recover. It may be difficult to scroll all 400+ formats, luckily, they are sorted by alphabetical order.

    PhotoRec file formats

    Finally, name the folder you want to use as a container for recovered files. The program will likely dig out a lot of useless files, which were deleted intentionally, so desktop is a bad solution. The best option is to use the USB-drive.

    PhotoRec recovery drive

    After these easy manipulations, you may just press the “Search” button (it turns active if you specified all required parameters). The recovery process may take several hours, so keep patient. It is recommended not to use the computer during this term, since you may overwrite some files you are intending to recover.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    ✔️Are the files encrypted by Mzqw malware dangerous?

    No. Mzqw files is not a virus, it is not able to inject its code into the files and force them to execute it. The .EXT files are just the same as regular ones, but encrypted and cannot be opened in the usual way. You may store it together with normal files without any fears.

    ✔️Is it possible that antivirus software will delete the encrypted files?

    As I have mentioned in a previous paragraph, encrypted files are not dangerous. Hence, good anti-malware programs like GridinSoft Anti-Malware will not trigger on them. Meanwhile, some of the “disk cleaning tools” may remove them, stating that they belong to the unknown format and are likely broken.

    ✔️The Emsisoft tool says my files are encrypted with the online key and cannot be decrypted. What do I need to do?

    It is very unpleasant to hear that the files you have are likely lost. Ransomware creators lie a lot in order to scare their victims, but they tell the truth in claims about the strength of the encryption. Your decryption key is stored on their servers, and it is impossible to select it because of the strength of the encryption mechanism.

    Try other recovery methods – through the PhotoRec, or using the previously created backups. Search for the previous versions of these files – getting back a part of your dissertation, for example, is better than missing it all.

    Last option is just waiting. When the cyber police caughts the crooks who create and distribute ransomware, first get the decryption keys and publish it. Emsisoft analysts will surely take these keys and add them to the Decryptor databases. In some cases, virus creators may publish the rest of the keys when they stop their activity.

    ✔️Not all of my .mzqw files are decrypted. What do I need to do?

    The situation when the Emsisoft Decryptor failed to decrypt several files usually happens when you have not added the correct file pair for the certain file format. Another case when this problem may appear is when some problem occurred during the decryption process – for example, RAM limit reached. Try to perform the decryption process once again.

    Another situation when the Decryptor app may leave your files unencrypted is when ransomware uses different keys for certain files. For example, it may use offline keys for a short period of time when it has connection issues. The Emsisoft tool is not able to check both key types simultaneously, so you need to launch the decryption again, in order to repeat the process.

    Helga Smith

    I was always interested in computer sciences, especially data security and the theme, which is called nowadays "data science", since my early teens. Before coming into the Virus Removal team as Editor-in-chief, I worked as a cybersecurity expert in several companies, including one of Amazon's contractors. Another experience: I have got is teaching in Arden and Reading universities.

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