MARS virus Removal Guide
What is MARS ransomware?
MARS ransomware – a virus that asks for $500 to unlock your files that are changed to .mars or .vyb extensions
MARS ransomware is a data-locking computer infection that asks to transfer criminals ransom in bitcoin
MARS ransomware is a malicious program that can be devastating for each of its victims. Malware attacks Windows systems after the malicious payload is executed, it begins scanning the system for vulnerable files. Its target – mostly MS Office documents. Each of the files is then marked with .mars or .vyb extension after encryption and can no longer be accessed by victims anymore.
After the encryption process is completed, a ransom note named “!!!MARS_DECRYPT.txt” can be found with the cybercriminals' demands. Users are asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com which should include a unique ID and 3 files for test decryption. As an alternative means of communication, MARS virus authors also provide Telegram username “mars_dec” that can also be used if no reply is received via the email. To restore .mars files, users are asked to pay $500-worth of Bitcoin.
Unlike other malware of this type, MARS ransomware virus encrypts only a set number of file types, including xls, xlsx, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, odt, ods, pdf, dwg, psd, dbf, fpt, php, cdr, mdb, and accdb. Cybercriminals choose this data since it might hold the most sensitive information, such as schoolwork or important corporate data. Paying cybercriminals is risky, as they might never fulfill their promises, so we recommend checking for alternative solutions we provide below.
|Name||MARS ransomware, .mars virus, MARS malware|
|Type||Malware, Cryptovirus, Ransomware|
|appended Extension||All affected files are appended with .mars or .vyb extension|
|Files vulnerable for encryption||MARS virus doesn't encrypt all users' data, it locks only 17 types of files: xls, xlsx, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, odt, ods, pdf, dwg, psd, dbf, fpt, php, cdr, mdb, accdb|
|ransom amount||Cybercriminals are asking for $500 to be paid in Bitcoins for file decryption|
|Criminal contact details||Two emails firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and a Telegram Messenger user name mars_dec is provided to make contact|
|Distribution||Spam email attachments, Torrent sites, Mischievous hyperlinks|
|Removal||To remove MARS virus victims should use a trusted antimalware tool|
|System fix||To eradicate the aftermath of MARS ransomware, users are recommended to use ReimageIntego tool to automatically detect system changes made by the virus|
As soon as the MARS ransomware lands on victims' devices, it scans for frequently used documents and encrypts them right away. It appends .mars extension, and removes the regular file icon typical to the type. Although buying the decryption tool from the cybercriminals might seem like the only viable option to retrieve access to your files, but victims should be aware that they might not get what they're promised.
These days, a powerful anti-malware software should stand in-between the computer user and the internet. To automatically remove MARS virus from an infected device, use SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. These trustworthy apps will delete the virus and find all its pieces spread out through the computer system.
After successful MARS ransomware removal from a contaminated device it's highly recommended to do a system tune-up because such malware often altercates system files. A tool like ReimageIntego will automatically scan, find, and fix any modifications done to victims' devices.
Ransom note, in file !!!MARS-DECRYPT.txt, contains this message:
All your files have been encrypted with MARS Virus.
Your unique id:
Our virus encrypted 231 of your office files (xls, xlsx, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, odt, ods, pdf, dwg, psd, dbf, fpt, php, cdr, mdb, accdb).
You can buy decryption for 500$ in Bitcoins.
But before you pay, you can make sure that we can really decrypt any of your files.
The encryption key and ID are unique to your computer, so you are guaranteed to be able to return your files.
To do this:
1) Send your unique id – and max 3 files for test decryption to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
2) After decryption, we will send you the decrypted files and a unique bitcoin wallet for payment.
3) Be careful! Fakes are possible in Telegram, never pay until you receive test files after decryption!
4) After payment ransom for Bitcoin, we will send you a decryption program and instructions. If we can decrypt your files, we have no reason to deceive you after payment.
or do this(If you have not received a reply by email):
1) Download and install Telegram Messanger: hxxps://desktop.telegram.org/ (for Windows, Linux, macOS)
2) Find user mars_dec
3) Send your unique id – and max 3 files for test decryption.
4) After decryption, we will send you the decrypted files and a unique bitcoin wallet for payment.
5) Be careful! Fakes are possible in Telegram, never pay until you receive test files after decryption!
6) After payment ransom for Bitcoin, we will send you a decryption program and instructions. If we can decrypt your files, we have no reason to deceive you after payment.
Can I get a discount?
No. The ransom amount is calculated based on the number of encrypted office files and discounts are not provided. All such messages will be automatically ignored.
What is Bitcoin?
Where to buy bitcoins?
or use google.com
Where is the guarantee that I will receive my files back?
The very fact that we can decrypt your random files is a guarantee. It makes no sense for us to deceive you.
How quickly will I receive the key and decryption program after payment?
As a rule, within a few hours, but very rarely there may be a delay of 1-2 days.
How does the decryption program work?
It's simple. You need to copy the key and select a folder to decrypt. The program will automatically decrypt all encrypted files in this folder and its subfolders.
I will complain about your Telegram account and mailbox's..
God help you. You won't find us anyway. But many people will be deprived of any opportunity to recover their files.
Got your files locked with .mars virus or are they named .vyb now? Here's what to do
In many cases, users who get their systems infected with ransomware have never encountered such an infection before. This is why they believe that anti-malware software can return .mars files back to normal as soon as a full system scan is completed. Unfortunately, this is not how ransomware works – all files remain locked even after the infection is terminated. Your .vyb file virus is there as long as you are not able to decrypt your files.
Once MARS ransomware locks all files, it is very difficult to return them to normal if no ransom is paid
The only secure way to remove .mars extension and make data usable again is by using backups, although many victims fail to use this precautionary measure prior to malware attack. Thus, if you have no backups, it is indeed true that only cybercriminals could provide a unique key that would unlock your files. As previously mentioned, doing so is risky, as malware authors might fail to keep their promises, and you might lose your money as well.
If you are wondering what to do next and how to recover .mars files or .vyb files, not all is lost. You have a few options available, and some of them might just work:
- Use third-party recovery software
- Employ built-in Windows resources such as Windows Previous Versions
- Wait till security researchers find software bugs within the ransomware and provide a free, working decryption tool.
If you want to try the aforementioned methods, please check our recovery section below for details.
Ingenious methods used by cybercriminals to distribute their creations
Cybercriminals are using diverse ways to find their victims. Internet is full of malicious ads, mischievous hyperlinks, infected spam email attachments, and other deceptive wrongdoings, sitting and waiting for unaware computer users to click on them. People should stay attentive to what sites they're visiting and what files they're about to download.
During the so-called spam campaigns, developers of ransomware send out thousands of emails with infectious attachments. When such a file finds its way into a device, the contamination process is started immediately. A good way to prevent this is to always scan email attachments with powerful anti-malware tools prior to downloading.
Another popular platform for cybercriminals to hide their creations is torrent sites. Files disguised as game cheat codes, “cracks”, valid software installers could actually contain malware. Computer users should only use genuine software and should download it only from developers' websites.
Instructions for MARS virus removal
Threats, such as malware, should immediately be isolated and deleted from computer systems. The longer they're in the system, the more harm it could do. To safely remove MARS virus, use established anti-malware software like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, and Malwarebytes; these apps will automatically remove the threat and protect from such risks in the future.
MARS ransomware is a data locking virus that encrypts 17 different file types on a Windows computer
Viruses, such as the MARS ransomware, is known for messing up the computers' system files. This could lead to devices' performance implications, such as overheating, lag, and so on. To revert whatever changes the virus might have done to the system, we strongly advise using the ReimageIntego tool as it will automatically find all modified files and settings and restore them to a standard, pre-contamination state. Your device will work as efficiently as brand new.
Getting rid of MARS virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
Access Safe Mode with Networking if the virus preventing you from using your security software normally:
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
- Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
- 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.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
- Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
- Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Select Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Press Restart.
- Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
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:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check program Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Go to Startup tab.
- Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
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:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- 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).
- Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):
After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.
Remove MARS using System Restore
Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Command Prompt from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
- Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
- Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window.
Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
- Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.
- Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again..
- When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of MARS. After doing that, click Next.
- Now click Yes to start system restore.
Bonus: Recover your dataGuide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove MARS from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.
If your files are encrypted by MARS, you can use several methods to restore them:
Make use of Data Recovery Pro
Data Recovery Pro might sometimes retrieve working copies of some of your lost files.
- 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 MARS ransomware;
- Restore them.
Windows Previous Versions feature might be helpful in some cases
If you had System Restore enabled, try this method to recover files one-by-one.
- 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”.
ShadowExplorer might rescue all of your data
If MARS ransomware virus failed to delete Shadow Copies, you can use ShadowExplorer to restore all files.
- Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
- Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
- Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
- Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.
No decryptor is currently available
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from MARS and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are
There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.
Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.
Data backups are important – recover your lost files
Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.
While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.