Saturn ransomware (Removal Instructions) - updated Feb 2018

Saturn virus Removal Guide

What is Saturn 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:

  • #KEY-[id].KEY,

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:

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
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 FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner 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.

The picture of Saturn ransomware virusSaturn ransomware virus asks to pay $300 for data recovery in seven days.

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[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 FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. 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.

do it now!
Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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 Saturn virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

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

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.
  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.
  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.

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
    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):


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

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 FortectIntego 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 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.

  • 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 Saturn ransomware;
  • Restore them.

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 FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.


Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 


About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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