What is Checkmate Ransomware
Checkmate is a new ransomware infection that encrypts large volumes of office data and demands victims to pay 15,000 USD for its decryption. The virus uses secure algorithms to encipher important pieces of data (e.g., documents, tables, databases, photos, etc.). During this process, all affected files get visually changed with the .checkmate extension. For instance, a file named
1.xlsx will change to
1.xlsx.checkmate and reset its original icon to blank. As a result, the data will become no longer accessible. Lastly, developers create a text note called !CHECKMATE_DECRYPTION_README.txt to explain how files can be decrypted.
You was hacked by CHECKMATE team.
All your data has been encrypted, backups have been deleted.
Your unique ID: bc75c72[edited] You can restore the data by paying us money.
We have encrypted 267183 office files.
We determine the amount of the ransom from the number of encrypted office files.
The cost of decryption is 15000 USD.
Payment is made to a unique bitcoin wallet.
Before paying, you will be able to make sure that we can actually decrypt your files.
1) Download and install Telegram Messenger https://telegram.org/
2) Find us https://t.me/checkmate_team
3) Send a message with your unique ID and 3 files for test decryption. Files should be no more than 15mb each.
4) In response, we will send the decrypted files and a bitcoin wallet for payment. Bitcoin wallet is unique for you, so we can find out what you paid.
5) After the payment is received, we will send you the key and the decryption program.
The text note states how many files have been encrypted and what can be done to reclaim them. As mentioned above, extortionists require victims to pay an equivalent of 15,000 USD in Bitcoin to their crypto wallet address. Additionally, swindlers also offer to try free decryption – by sending 3 encrypted files (no more than 15MB each) through the Telegram Messenger. They will afterwards supply the victim with free decrypted samples and provide the wallet address for the ransom payment. After transferring money, cybercriminals promise to respond back with decryption tools to unlock access to data. Unfortunately, at the moment of writing this article, there are no third-party tools that could allow free decryption without the direct help of cybercriminals. Means of encryption used by ransomware are usually very strong making independent tools oftentimes useless with regard to decryption. The good news is only about media-type files, which can be partially decrypted using the JpegMedic Arwe and Media Repair tools. For this, victims will need to have both encrypted and original (unencrypted) file samples to perform the method. You can read this article to learn more information about it. Readers of this guide can also use some recovery and decryption instruments presented below, however, there is no guarantee that they will actually work. It can be possible to capitalize on third-party tools in case a ransomware infection did not succeed in what it was intended to do (e.g., delete all shadow copy snapshots, add an extension but fail to encrypt files, not fully encrypt large-size files, and so forth). Unfortunately, such errors rarely happen. You can also save the encrypted files and wait for a possible solution to be released in the future. For now, the best option to get over decryption problems is to recover files from backup copies. If such copies are available on some other uninfected device, you can easily use them to regain the lost data. Note that before trying any recovery method, it is important to get rid of the infection. Use our guide to perform full and trace-free deletion of Checkmate Ransomware from your computer.
How Checkmate Ransomware infected your computer
- Download Checkmate Ransomware Removal Tool
- Get decryption tool for .checkmate files
- Recover encrypted files with Stellar Data Recovery Professional
- Restore encrypted files with Windows Previous Versions
- Restore files with Shadow Explorer
- How to protect from threats like Checkmate Ransomware
Download Removal Tool
To remove Checkmate Ransomware completely, we recommend you to use SpyHunter 5 from EnigmaSoft Limited. It detects and removes all files, folders, and registry keys of Checkmate Ransomware. The trial version of SpyHunter 5 offers virus scan and 1-time removal for FREE.
Alternative Removal Tool
To remove Checkmate Ransomware completely, we recommend you to use Norton Antivirus from Symantec. It detects and removes all files, folders, and registry keys of Checkmate Ransomware and prevents future infections by similar viruses.
Checkmate Ransomware files:
Checkmate Ransomware registry keys:
How to decrypt and restore .checkmate files
Use automated decryptors
Download Kaspersky RakhniDecryptor
Use following tool from Kaspersky called Rakhni Decryptor, that can decrypt .checkmate files. Download it here:
There is no purpose to pay the ransom because there is no guarantee you will receive the key, but you will put your bank credentials at risk.
Dr.Web Rescue Pack
Famous antivirus vendor Dr. Web provides free decryption service for the owners of its products: Dr.Web Security Space or Dr.Web Enterprise Security Suite. Other users can ask for help in the decryption of .checkmate files by uploading samples to Dr. Web Ransomware Decryption Service. Analyzing files will be performed free of charge and if files are decryptable, all you need to do is purchase a 2-year license of Dr.Web Security Space worth $120 or less. Otherwise, you don’t have to pay.
If you are infected with Checkmate Ransomware and removed from your computer you can try to decrypt your files. Antivirus vendors and individuals create free decryptors for some crypto-lockers. To attempt to decrypt them manually you can do the following:
Use Stellar Data Recovery Professional to restore .checkmate files
- Download Stellar Data Recovery Professional.
- Click Recover Data button.
- Select type of files you want to restore and click Next button.
- Choose location where you would like to restore files from and click Scan button.
- Preview found files, choose ones you will restore and click Recover.
Using Windows Previous Versions option:
- Right-click on infected file and choose Properties.
- Select Previous Versions tab.
- Choose particular version of the file and click Copy.
- To restore the selected file and replace the existing one, click on the Restore button.
- In case there is no items in the list choose alternative method.
Using Shadow Explorer:
- Download Shadow Explorer program.
- Run it and you will see screen listing of all the drives and the dates that shadow copy was created.
- Select the drive and date that you want to restore from.
- Right-click on a folder name and select Export.
- In case there are no other dates in the list, choose alternative method.
If you are using Dropbox:
- Login to the DropBox website and go to the folder that contains encrypted files.
- Right-click on the encrypted file and select Previous Versions.
- Select the version of the file you wish to restore and click on the Restore button.
How to protect computer from viruses, like Checkmate Ransomware , in future
1. Get special anti-ransomware software
Use ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware
Famous antivirus brand ZoneAlarm by Check Point released a comprehensive tool, that will help you with active anti-ransomware protection, as an additional shield to your current protection. The tool provides Zero-Day protection against ransomware and allows you to recover files. ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware is compatible with all other antiviruses, firewalls, and security software except ZoneAlarm Extreme (already shipped with ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware) or Check Point Endpoint products. The killer features of this application are: automatic file recovery, overwrite protection that instantly and automatically recovers any encrypted files, file protection that detects and blocks even unknown encryptors.
2. Back up your files
As an additional way to save your files, we recommend online backup. Local storage, such as hard drives, SSDs, flash drives, or remote network storage can be instantly infected by the virus once plugged in or connected to. Checkmate Ransomware uses some techniques to exploit this. One of the best services and programs for easy automatic online backup is iDrive. It has the most profitable terms and a simple interface. You can read more about iDrive cloud backup and storage here.
3. Do not open spam e-mails and protect your mailbox
Malicious attachments to spam or phishing e-mails are the most popular method of ransomware distribution. Using spam filters and creating anti-spam rules is good practice. One of the world leaders in anti-spam protection is MailWasher Pro. It works with various desktop applications and provides a very high level of anti-spam protection.