Severity scale:  
  (98/100)

Saturn ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware

Saturn ransomware encrypts personal data and urges victims to pay for the decryptor

Image of Saturn ransomware

Saturn ransomware is a file-encrypting virus that usually spreads via malspam campaigns, encrypts personal files, and appends .saturn file extension to each of them. The ransomware operates as a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS),[1] which means that anyone who wants to distribute it can do that by simply signing in as a volunteer on a specific domain via Tor. When all targeted files are locked, Saturn ransomware generates five ransom notes, which are installed in folders with the locked files and named as follows:

  • DECRYPT_MY_FILES#.html,
  • #DECRYPT_MY_FILES#.txt,
  • #KEY-[id].KEY,
  • #DECRYPT_MY_FILES#.vbs,
  • #DECRYPT_MY_FILES.BMP.

The first task that the virus does on the affected system is checking if the computer runs in a virtual environment. If it does, malware starts its hazardous task; if not – it won’t start data encryption. Saturn ransomware uses AES cryptography to append an unbreakable file extension to the targeted files. It targets for image, audio, and video files, databases, and other popular files to cause as much damage as possible to ensure that the victim fall for paying $300 ransom. 

Besides, Saturn malware is designed to delete Shadow Volume Copies, disable Windows startup repair, and clean Windows backup catalog. All these tasks prevent users from data recovery. Hence hackers’ chances to collect ransoms become higher. However, security experts warn not to follow the instructions provided in the above-mentioned files and do not pay the ransom. Any support for hackers will induce them to initiate further crimes, so soon after paying your files may be encrypted with another Saturn ransomware variant. 

Following the successful data encryption, malware delivers ransom notes in DECRYPT_MY_FILES#.html and #DECRYPT_MY_FILES#.txt files. Here crooks provide brief information what victims have to do. The first step is to install Tor Browser and access provided an address where users will find more information:

SATURN
the All of your files is encrypted have Been!
Decrypt your files is the To follow for These steps:
# —————————————– # —-
1. Download the install and the “the Tor Browser” from https://wivw.torproject.org
2. the Run IT.
With In the the Tor 3. Browser, the website of the open:
xxxx: //su34pwhpcafeiztt.onion
4. Classifieds Follow the instructions on the page
# ———————— ——————— # 

Additionally, Saturn ransomware virus drops a key file called #KEY-[id].KEY in each folder that contains encrypted files. This key gives access to the TOR[2] payment website. Users have to upload it, confirm provided code on the screen and pay the ransom in Bitcoins.

Victims are asked to pay $300 in Bitcoins withing seven days. After the deadline, the size of the ransom doubles. However, as soon as the payment is confirmed, users will be able to download and use Saturn Decryptor. Unfortunately, there's no proof that the decryption is functional. 

Additionally, the Saturn file-encrypting virus also drops a #DECRYPT_MY_FILES#.vbs which is an audio file that informs about ransomware attack. Malware also changes a new computer’s background picture where criminals provide the same information as in the ransom note.

Security experts do not recommend paying the ransom because this may lead to money loss only. Crooks might blackmail you into paying more than a few hundreds of dollars. Therefore, you’d better invest this money in great backup solution and remove Saturn ransomware from the computer. 

For Saturn virus removal, we recommend using professional anti-malware software like Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or [3]. These tools can not only eliminate ransomware but clean the damage which was done to Windows registry and other system's components. 

Authors of Saturn ransomware offer to participate in affiliate program

Anyone who want to join criminals can create a new version of this ransomware. Saturn raas or Ransomware-as-a-Service have been found promoted on the black market allowing all volunteers to generate revenue from this illegal business. In comparison to other RaaS, Saturn ransomware works as an affiliate program, so people don't have to pay for it. 

People who are interested in this business model only need to sing up on a specific website on the Dark Web and obtain a virus. Malware is ready to use. Thus, people can start it spreading immediately.

Developers of the Saturn virus take 30% of the ransoms collected by those who decided to participate in this RaaS affiliate program. Therefore, crooks let hacker-wannabes to keep 70% of the collected ransoms.

Distribution methods of the crypto-malware

Malicious spam emails and malvertising are the main methods how this malicious program can get into your PC. There’s no doubt that crooks might rely on other strategies too, such as drive-by downloads or exploit kits.

However, users are advised to be extremely careful with received emails. Malicious email attachments are the main ways how ransomware payload is dropped on the system. Hence, security experts from NoVirus.uk[3] remind not to rush opening receive documents. Always make sure that you can trust the sender and check the file with online scanners.

Additionally, you should avoid clicking suspicious adds, downloading unknown programs or installing software updates that arrive in the form of pop-ups. Most of the time they cover malicious content.

Removal of the Saturn ransomware virus

Saturn malware removal requires obtaining a reputable and powerful malware removal program. We recommend performing system scan with Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware. All of these tools can quickly eliminate the ransomware. However, we want to stress out that they cannot recover encrypted files.

If you have some difficulties and you cannot remove Saturn ransomware from the computer, please follow the instructions given below. Ransomware might be capable of blocking access to security software. However, there’s still a way to beat the virus.

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If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Saturn ransomware. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
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To remove Saturn virus, follow these steps:

Remove Saturn using Safe Mode with Networking

To disable the virus and run automatic elimination, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    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 Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    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 Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove Saturn

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete Saturn removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove Saturn 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 Saturn. 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 Reimage and make sure that Saturn removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Saturn ransomware virus is not decryptable. Therefore, you can fully recover your files only if you have data backups.

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

Try Data Recovery Pro to restore file with .saturn extension

Data Recovery Pro is not an official Saturn decryptor. However, this recovery software can help to restore some of the corrupted files.

Saturn Decryptor is not available yet

Nevertheless, crooks offer to purchase a decryption software, you should not accept this deal. It may lead to money loss. Therefore, the damage done by ransomware can only increase. We highly recommend remaining patient and wait for the official decryptors released by malware researchers.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Saturn and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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