A ransomware infection, known as HERMES ransomware has been detected by malware researchers to heavily modify computer settings and encrypt the files using an AES encryption algorithm to render files on the compromised machine no longer able to be opened. The virus also ads it’s distinctive HERMES file extension to the encrypted files and then leaves an .html file which is named DECRYPT_INFORMATION.html. In case you have become an unfortunate victim of this ransomware infection, advices are to read this article and learn how to remove this virus and restore encrypted files.
|Short Description||The malware encrypts users files using a strong AES encryption algorithm, making direct decryption possible only via a unique decryption key available to the cyber-criminals.|
|Symptoms||The user may witness ransom notes and “instructions” called DECRYPT_INFORMATION.html linking to a web page and a decryptor. Changed file names and the file-extension HERMES has been used.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware |
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|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss Hermes.|
|Data Recovery Tool||Windows 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 Ransomware – How Is It Spread
This particular virus uses malicious e-mail spam campaigns to spread either malicious web links or malicious executable files that cause the infection. The e-mails are accompanied by multiple deceptive messages that aim for one thing only – to convince potential victims to open the attachment. The attachments may be Microsoft Office documents or Adobe Reader files with malicious macros. But they may also be direct executable files such as:
To learn how to protect yourself from malicious e-mails, we advise visiting the following related article:
Hermes Ransomware – Post-Infection Analysis
After the user becomes infected by opening the malicious e-mail attachment, there is no going back from this. The ransomware drops it’s malicious files amongst which is the hermes.exe file which is responsible for the file encryption procedure. Then, the virus may heavily modify the Windows Registry Editor with the one and only purpose of doing this is to run the malicious executable every time Windows starts up. There are many sub-keys that may be targeted by Hermes ransomware, but the primary ones are the Run and RunOnce sub-keys, located in the following keys:
After it’s preparation phase is over, the Hermes virus may begin to encrypt files on the compromised computer. To encode files, the virus uses several different configuration settings of pre-set file types to corrupt. The files targeted by Herpes ransomware are often used by everyone and may be the following:
→ “PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX ..INI .PRF Encoded Files .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJ R.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG ..CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG”Source:fileinfo.com
The virus may also connect to various domains to send information about the unlock key of the encrypted files. Hermes not only uses the AES encryption algorithm but the malware also ads its HERMES file extension to the files which are no longer openable. They may look like the following:
The Herpes ransomware does not stop it’s terror there. It also has to make sure the victim is made known of its presence. The malware leaves behind a DECRYPT_INFORMATION.html file which contains the ransom instructions. The file looks like the following when opened:
Remove Hermes Ransomware and Restore Encrypted Files
For the removal of Hermes ransomware, advices are to follow the instructions below. In case you lack the experience to perform the removal manually, experts always recommend using an advanced anti-malware program. Such software will also make sure that your system is protected in the future, besides removing Hermes virus completely.
After the removal of the virus, advices are to take into consideration multiple other options to restore your files, several of which we have mentioned in the removal instructions below in step “2. Restore files encrypted by Hermes” below.
- Guide 1: How to Remove Hermes from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of Hermes from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove Hermes from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase Hermes from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall Hermes from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove Hermes from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate Hermes from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove Hermes from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Hermes
Step 2: Uninstall Hermes and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Hermes on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Hermes there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of Hermes from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall Hermes and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove Hermes via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove Hermes from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase Hermes from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall Hermes from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove Hermes from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Hermes will be removed.
Eliminate Hermes from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.