Remove Russenger ransomware (Decryption Steps Included) - Virus Removal Instructions

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware

Russenger virus Removal Guide

What is Russenger ransomware?

Russenger – crypto-malware oriented to English speaking users

Russenger ransomware virus

Russenger virus is malicious ransomware-type malware,[1] which has been discovered at the end of February 2018. The name of the virus it seems to be a combination of “Russian” and “Messenger,” since it has “Messenger” all over the executable, but later on, experts found out that the hackers borrowed a popular German surname Russenger. The virus spreads via spam,[2] unprotected RDP configuration, malicious ads, infected software downloads, fake updates, and similar techniques. After successful infiltration, Russenger ransomware encrypts most of the files stored on the system and appends the .messenger-% random% file extension to each of them. The second part of the extension differs for each locked file.

After the successful encryption, the computer user receives a ransom note Инструкция по дешифровке.txt. The .txt file contains a text message that instructs the victim how to pay the ransom for the unique Russenger decryptor.

All your information on this computer has been encrypted.
Encrypted documents have .messenger extensions – ******
For instructions on deciphering, write an email to:
messenger@riseup.net
In the subject of the letter, specify your code for decoding:
***
If you get the answer that the mailing address does not exist:
1. Try to write to us from other emails, mail.ru, yandex.ru;
2. Try writing over time.

Extortionists insist the victim contact them via messenger@riseup.net or mail.ru, yandex.ru in case the first email does not respond. It’s not clear yet what form and amount of ransom criminals demand, but experts consider it to be Bitcoin-related ransomware.

Although Russenger ransomware virus is focused on English-speaking users, the origin of its developer is Russia. The ransom note and other information that the ransomware provides is a direct translation from the Russian language, which is why it contains many grammar mistakes. Besides, one of the main files related to this crypto-malware is 1cv8s32-n.exe. It’s an imitation of the Russian accounting software 1C.

The ransomware cannot be decrypted for free. The only way to decrypt files encrypted by Russenger ransomware is to pay the ransom for a unique decryption key. However, cybersecurity experts from NoVirus.co[3] warn people about the danger of collaboration with cybercriminals. The latter may not even have a working decryption key, or they may not intend to send it to the victim even after the payment is transmitted. Thus, there’s no guarantee that you will get your files back.
The only trustworthy way to deal with this pest is complete removal. To remove Russenger virus from your PC employ a reputable anti-virus, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. Manual ransomware removal is not possible due to multiple malicious files that it injects into system’s folders.

Illustrating Russenger file-encrypting malwareRussenger - file encrypting malware that locks files and demands a ransom for a decryption key

The bad news is that Russenger removal will swipe all encrypted files away. Nonetheless, you can try to decrypt the using alternative methods. You can find all decryption instructions at the end of this article.

Opening spam email attachments poses the highest risk or ransomware infection

While in general there’s a variety of ransomware distribution strategies that cybercriminals employ, spam email with infected attachments if the most widespread way to disseminate viruses. Extortionists distribute genuine-looking email messages via Necurs botnet or other sources, which impersonate well-known companies or governmental institutions. Such email letters may contain a body text, but usually, it’s not professionally written and may contain many grammar or type mistakes.

Such email messages will always contain a .doc, .docx, .pdf, .jpg, .png or similar attachment, which may be indicated as an official upgrade, notification or whatnot. More gullible people fall for this trick and open the attachment. Although in most of the cases opening attachments require enabling Macros, experts recently detected a wave of Macro-less spam attachments.[4]

In addition to malspam campaigns, people should be careful with RDP configuration, suspicious downloads, and especially legitimate –looking software update offers provided on random websites while browsing on the Internet. Such updates may disguise ransomware executable, so instead of downloading a supposed update, you may enable ransomware.

Find out how to eliminate Russenger file-encrypting virus

The fastest and the only reliable way to remove Russenger malware is to use powerful security software. It will ensure the removal of all ransomware package and other malware that might have come along with it.

Manual Russenger removal is hardly possible even if you are an advanced computer user as you can leave some malicious files intact, which can proceed with file encryption. So all you have to do is to update your anti-virus and run a full system scan with it.

If Russenger virus blocks your anti-virus or prevents you from downloading one, you should reboot the system into Safe Mode with Networking. If nevertheless, you opt for manual removal, you can find a comprehensive guide down below:

Remember that Russenger removal does not decrypt your files. However, there's a couple of methods that can help you to get the most important files back.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove 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 Russenger virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

If the virus block your anti-virus, reboot the system into Safe Mode with Networking and then run a full system scan with it:

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 Russenger using System Restore

You can get rid of Russenger ransomware by booting your PC into Safe Mode with Command Prompt function

  • 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 Russenger. 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 Russenger removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Russenger 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 Russenger, you can use several methods to restore them:

Try Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a professional tool developed to recover files if you accidentally delete them or in case of ransomware attack.

  • 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 Russenger ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions might recover the most valuable files

This feature will not help to decrypt all locked files. It will help to recover separate files only. However, it will work if you have previously enabled a System Restore function before ransomware infiltration. 

  • 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”.

Get help from ShadowExplorer

You can partially recover your data encrypted by .messenger-% random% file extension virus using the method below if the ransomware didn't delete Shadow Volume Copies from your system.

  • 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.

Russenger decryptor is not available

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Russenger 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
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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