Hermes 2.0 ransomware / virus (Decryption Methods Included) - Virus Removal Instructions

Hermes 2.0 virus Removal Guide

What is Hermes 2.0 ransomware virus?

The number of Hermes 2.0 ransomware attacks proliferates after the initial Hermes version gets decrypted

Today we have a sample of Hermes 2.0 virus, which we are going to describe in a minute. It is common that once malware analysts manage to crack a ransomware and release a decrypter for it, a new version of the virus emerges shortly[1]. This is exactly what happened with Hermes ransomware virus – a malware analyst Fabian Wosar analyzed a sample of Hermes and demonstrated how a decrypter is created[2]. The researcher released almost 4-hour length video[3] showing how he analyzed the virus behavior. It seems that Hermes ransomware authors have learned a thing or two from the video as well, as they rushed to release Hermes 2.0 malware shortly after Fabian’s video was publicized. The new ransomware version is improved, and it is unlikely that it will be easy to reverse this one. Just like the previous version, it seeks to collect ransoms; however, we highly recommend you not to pay it (in case this virus manages to intrude into your PC system) and remove Hermes 2.0 virus using a reliable malware removal tool such as ReimageIntego or Malwarebytes.

Hermes 2.0 ransomware is written in C++ language[4]. After invading the computer system, it encrypts files using an RSA-2048 algorithm and puts some information in a file called DECRYPT_INFORMATION.html, which it saves on the desktop and possibly some other locations in the computer system. This .html file is actually a ransom note, which cybercriminals create only to deliver information on how the victim can recover his/hers files. The ransomware also creates a file called UNIQUE_ID_DO_NOT_REMOVE, which holds victim’s unique ID number. After completing these tasks, the ransomware deletes Volume Shadow Copies[5] by running this command: vssadmin Delete Shadows /all /quietvssadmin.
Hermes 2.0 ransomware virusDECRYPT_INFORMATION.HTML file, which Hermes 2.0 ransomware leaves in all compromised computers.

The virus doesn’t inform the victim about the version of the virus – just like the previous virus, it displays HERMES RANSOMWARE at the top of the ransom note. The virus asks to contact ransomware authors via email and suggests sending them three encrypted files, which criminals “kindly” suggest decrypting because they want to convince the victim that their decryptor works. Remember that such frauds will do everything to convince you to pay them, but do not expect to get anything in return! Cyber criminal can just simply take your money and make off. Their aim is to convince you to pay, not to care about you after you pay the ransom fee. Therefore, we suggest you think about Hermes 2.0 removal because as long as it stays in the system, it becomes much more vulnerable to further computer threats.

How did Hermes 2.0 virus get into my PC?

Hermes 2.0 ransomware is likely to be distributed using traditional ransomware distribution techniques – you can get this virus via email or alongside an illegal download, so think twice before opening that email attachment sent to you by a stranger or executing keygens and other programs designed to bypass paid software registration. Cyber criminals definitely know what files or programs engage victims’ attention, so they will do their best trying to provide you with them. Be very careful because criminals might try to impersonate employees of Amazon, Paypal, or even healthcare organizations just to trick you into opening a malicious email attachment that they send out to thousands of computer users. If you opened a questionable email attachment recently, it could be the reason why Hermes malware contaminated your PC. Please, be aware of general ransomware distribution techniques and do not let cyber criminals deceive you ever again!

Hermes 2.0 removal tutorial

Although Hermes ransomware used to be a fearsome virus and despite the fact that it wasn’t that powerful (if compared to other ransomware viruses such as Locky or Cerber), you should not stop applying security patches to your computer system. As you can see, a new version of the ransomware was released, and if you are reading this line at the moment, it is likely that you are looking for instructions on how to remove Hermes 2.0 virus. Our team recommends installing and continuously updating ReimageIntego software because we believe it is one of the top anti-malware programs nowadays, which can help you with Hermes 2.0 removal. Before you let anti-malware program to do its job, run the computer in Safe Mode with Networking first.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of Hermes 2.0 virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

The first thing you need to do when you try to remove a ransomware virus is to prepare your PC for this task. To avoid any unexpected interruptions, restart your computer using instructions given below. These guidelines are meant to help you with Hermes 2.0 removal.

Important! →
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.

Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking

Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment. 

Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
    Settings
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
    Reboot
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes

Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
    Startup

Step 4. Delete virus files

Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Downloads
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove Hermes 2.0 using System Restore

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of Hermes 2.0. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with ReimageIntego and make sure that Hermes 2.0 removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Hermes 2.0 from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If Hermes 2 encrypted your files, most likely you will not be able to restore them (at least for a while). In such situations, backup is needed. We really hope that you have a backup because in terms of ransomware attacks, backup is the only way to avoid a complete data loss. However, if you do not have it, you should try one of these data recovery options.

If your files are encrypted by Hermes 2.0, you can use several methods to restore them:

Data Recovery Pro

There is no 100% guarantee that Data Recovery Pro will restore your files, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right? This program is designed to recover corrupted, deleted, or missing files, and it might help you in this situation, too.

  • Download Data Recovery Pro;
  • Follow the steps of Data Recovery Setup and install the program on your computer;
  • Launch it and scan your computer for files encrypted by Hermes 2.0 ransomware;
  • Restore them.

System Restore Point

Try this method if you are sure that you created a System Restore Point in the past.

  • Find an encrypted file you need to restore and right-click on it;
  • Select “Properties” and go to “Previous versions” tab;
  • Here, check each of available copies of the file in “Folder versions”. You should select the version you want to recover and click “Restore”.

Hermes decryptor

If Hermes 2.0 Decryptor will ever be created, we assume that the initial version, which is available to download here (Hermes Decryption Tool), will be updated, too.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Hermes 2.0 and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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