HERMES 2.1 Ransomware - How to Remove + Restore Encrypted Files

HERMES 2.1 Ransomware – How to Remove + Restore Encrypted Files

This article is made to show you what is the HERMES 2.1 Ransomware virus variant, how to remove it and how to restore encrypted files by it.

A new 2.1 variant of Hermes ransomware has been detected out in the wild, without any file extension appended. The malware has several differences than the traditional 2.1 version which was monitored by researchers the past few months. The virus is from the file encryption ransomware infections and it’s primary purpose is to encipher the files on infected PC’s via AES-256 encryption algorithm and generate a unique decryption key for each victim, which the cyber-crooks sell for a ransom. If your computer has been infected by the Hermes 2.1 version, we recommend that you read this article and learn how to remove this malware and try to recover your encrypted files without having to pay ransom.

Threat Summary

NameHERMES 2.1
TypeRansomware, Cryptovirus
Short DescriptionEncrypts the files on the infected computer, using AES cipher. Demands a ransom payment in BitCoin to get them to open again.
SymptomsThe Hermes 2.1 ransomware encrypts the files without adding any file extension and then drops a ransom note file.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by HERMES 2.1


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss HERMES 2.1.
Data Recovery ToolWindows Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix Notice! This product scans your drive sectors to recover lost files and it may not recover 100% of the encrypted files, but only few of them, depending on the situation and whether or not you have reformatted your drive.

Hermes 2.1 – How Does It Infect

The malware has been outlined by experts to be spread with the assistance of spammed e-mail messages. Such messages may spread files or web links of the following infection characters:

  • Malicious web link, which when clicked on downloads and executes the infection file.
  • Web link which can cause an infection by simply being clicked on.
  • The infection file directly uploaded as an e-mail attachment, masked as a legitimate invoice, receipt or other forms of documents.

Furthermore, your computer can also become infected with Hermes 2.1 ransomware via tools such as RDP exploits, exploit kits, fake system updates and also fake installers of software. In addition to this, there is also a chance that you may see the virus, masked as a fake installer of a program or an infected legitimate one which triggers the infection after you run the program or game. Other cases which have been reported also include using game patches, driver installers or fake license activators for software, uploaded on torrent sites with low ratings for security.

HERMES 2.1 Ransomware – Malicious Activity

After an infection with the HERMES 2.1 ransowmare threat takes place on your computer, the malware uses an unsecured port on your PC, via which it may silently drop the following malicious files directly on your PC:

→ Reload.exe

The files of HERMES 2.1 may be dropped on system folders and Windows directories, the main of which may be the following:

→ %AppData%

After these payload files have been dropped and ran on the victim’s computer, they may also run automatically and create the following files on the victim’s computer:

→ Cversions.2.db
Computer Management.lnk
Multiple .db objects with random names, located in %Caches% directory.

As soon as this is done, the HERMES 2.1 virus may also use the Evelen method in order to bypass User Account Control (UAC) service. This may result in the malware being able to run Windows Command Prompt and execute the following commands in order to delete the shadow volume copies and disable file recovery services and all of this is usually done without the victim noticing this

→ process call create “cmd.exe /c
vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /quiet
bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled no
bcdedit.exe /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

The deletion process does not concern one backup method, since HERMES 2.1 is a bit more sophisticated than the traditional ransomware. The virus also attacks the following file formats, which represent backup copies:

→ .VHD .bac .bak .wbcat .bkf ,backup, .set, .win .dsk

As soon as all backup on your infected computer is gone, the malware may start to modify the registry editor of your computer. The modifications include adding value strings with data in them that allow the malware to run automatically when you boot your PC and also to open it’s ransom note automatically as well. The attacked registry sub-keys are as follows:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run” /v “allkeeper” /t REG_SZ /d “%USERPROFILE%\Desktop\DECRYPT_INFORMATION.html” /f
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run” /v “sysrep” /t REG_SZ /d “%PUBLIC%\Reload.exe” /f
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run” /v “allkeeper” /t REG_SZ /d
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run” /v “sysrep” /t REG_SZ /d
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\allkeeper C:\users\User\Desktop\DECRYPT_INFORMATION.html

The HERMES 2.1 ransomware also does not forget to add it’s ransom note file, which contains the following message to victims:

HERMES 2.1 – Encryption Activity

The encryption procedure of Hermes Ransomware involves the Advanced Encryption Algorithm, also known as AES and it appends this cipher with a 256-bit strenght. The malware also targets several file types that are specifically used for the encryption. Some of those files are reported by analysts to be of the following types:

→ .accdb, .agif, .awdb, .bean, .cdmm, .cdmz, .cdr3, .cdr4, .cdr6, .cdrw, .clkw, .crwl, .ddoc, .djvu, .docm, .docx, .docz, .dotm, .dotx, .dtsx, .emlx, .epsf, .fdxt, .fh10, .fh11, .fodt, .fpos, .ft10, .ft11, .fwdn, .gdoc, .gfie, .glox, .gthr, .hpgl, .html, .icon, .idea, .itc2, .itdb, .jbig, .jpeg, .jpg2, .jrtf, .kdbx, .mbox, .mell, .mgcb, .mgmf, .mgmt, .mgmx, .mgtx, .mmat, .mobi, .mrxs, .pano, .pict, .pjpg, .pntg, .pobj, .pptm, .pptx, .psdx, .psid, .rctd, .reloc, .riff, .s2mv, .save, .scad, .sdoc, .smil, .ssfn, .sumo, .svgz, .text, .tiff, .utf8, .vrml, .vsdm, .vsdx, .vstm, .vstx, .wbmp, .webp, .wmdb, .xhtm, .xlgc, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .zabw (700 more)

After HERMES 2.1 finishes the encryption process, the malware does not perform any modifications to the file names, unlike what it’s older variant, which used to add the .HRM file suffix to each of the encrypted files.

How to Remove HERMES 2.1 Ransomware and Try to Restore Files

We recommend that you make a backup copies of the encrypted files before you start any removal procedures, since your computer has already been compromised and salvaging your data is number 1 priority. After doing so, we advise following the removal steps down below. They are created so that they are separated in manual and automatic removal instructions. Such will help you erase the associated and malicious files of Hermes ransomware, based on your experience with malware removal. In case you feel uncertain to remove HERMES 2.1 manually, experts always advise that the best thing to do is to scan your computer with an advanced anti-malware software. Such will make sure that the ransomware is fully gone from your computer system in few mouse clicks and your machine remains protected actively against future infections and intrusive software as well.

If you want to restore files, that have been encrypted by HERMES 2.1 ransomware, we advise that you focus on trying out the alternative methods for file recovery in step
“2. Restore files encrypted by HERMES 2.1” instead of paying the ransom. The methods may not be 100% guarantee you will recover all the data of the encrypted files, but they may help you to recover most of the files in some situations.


Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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