THREAT REMOVAL

Article, created to show how to remove Merry Christmas ransomware and restore .MERRY files encrypted by the malware.

A ransomware virus, detected in mid-January, named Merry Christmas has been reported by malware researchers to use a very sophisticated techniques to operate, infect and encrypt files of compromised computers. This ransomware threat may use a advanced encryption ciphers to encode the data on the computers it attacks, making the files no longer able to be opened. To give the victim access back to the files, .MERRY Virus demands a payment from a well-designed ransom note page. If you have become infected by the Merry Christmas virus, we suggest reading the following material.

UPDATE! Decryption is now available for the .MERRY file extension ransomware.Please try decrypting your files using the following instructions from the related article below:

Threat Summary

NameMerry X-Mas
TypeRansomware Virus
Short DescriptionThis variant of Merry X-Mas virus encrypts files with strong encryption and asks a hefty ransom of .MERRY to be paid to the crooks to get the files back.
SymptomsEncrypted files will have the ..MERRY extension appended to them. Also adds a ransom note, named MERRY_I_LOVE_YOU_BRUCE.HTA and changes the wallpaper with a Robot-santa.
Distribution MethodSpammed e-mail attachments, URLs, JavaScript or Exploit Kit files posted all over the web.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss Merry X-Mas.
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.

.MERRY Virus – Further Information

This virus has been deemed to be from the file encryption type. It aims to infect the user in multiple ways and then modify Windows to allow the encoding process to take place.

Infection Methods of Merry Christmas .MERRY Ransomware

In order to cause an infection that is successful, good deception Is required, because most users already have had experience with ransomware and other malware and how it infects. This is why the ones behind .MERRY use different methods and techniques to cause an infection. One of those is to make up different phishing e-mails on which the crooks pretend to be a legitimate organization have worked on a request and this is the reworked file. Ofcourse, this is just one example of the spam, distributed by .MERRY ransomware. These e-mails may contain an .hta file in a .zip archive which is the one that is causing the actual infection.

This file appears to be heavily obfuscated, due to the fact that average antivirus programs tend to skip rendering it as an actual malicious file. This means that the virus uses an expensive obfuscation software which conceals it’s actual identification of being malicious.

One of those tools is a similar exploit kit that is very expensive and not sold to just any random hacker. This replication malware is usually a more sophisticated version than the average ones sold on the deep web.

.MERRY X-Mas Ransomware- Infection Activity

As soon as the malicious file has been opened, it immediately introduces itself by adding it’s distinctive ransom note, which is not only a note, but a whole system, containing different aspects of “customer support” to the victims as shown below:

But this is not where the terror caused by the .MERRY file virus ends. The ransomware also appends a unique file extension to the encrypted files. The files which have been encrypted by this ransomware virus appear like the following:

This is primarily because .MERRY ransomware appends a sophisticated encryption algorithm which actually replaces bytes of information of those files. These bytes are enough to make the files unable to be opened again.

The types of files which this iteration of .MERRY ransomware hunts for are of various character, but one thing is in common – they are often used. These files include:

  • Documents.
  • Photos.
  • Music and other audio.
  • Videos.
  • Other files associated with often used Software.

.MERRY file ransomware is very careful not to encrypt the system Windows folders crucial to the working process of the OS, since this might damage it.

The .MERRY file virus also drops a ransom note, named MERRY_I_LOVE_YOU_BRUCE.HTA which has the following content:

ALL COMPUTER DATA ENCRYPTED
TIME AFTER ALL FILES WILL BE DELETED
YOUR ID
NOW YOU NEED TO PAY TO RECOVER YOUR DATA
AFTER MONEY TRANSFER YOU WILL RECIEVE THE DECRYPTOR
CONTACTS
TELEGRAM @comodosecunty
EMAIL comodosec@yandex.com
Any attempts to return your files with the third-party tools can be fatal for your encrypted files! The most part of the third-party software change data within the encrypted file to restore it but this causes damage to the files.
Finally it will be impossible to decrypt your files! There are several plain steps to restore your files but if you do not follow them we will not be able to help you!

The primary goal of this ransom note is to scare off the user and give him or her instructions on how to pay the .MERRY file virus’s ransom which is in BTC.

In addition to this, the .MERRY ransomware virus does not fool around when it comes to “not getting your files back”. The virus may actually delete the shadow volume copies of the infected computer, by using the privileged vssadmin command in Windows command prompt.

After this has been completed, the virus may either have modified the Windows Registry Editor to add custom keys in the Run or RunOnce registry sub-keys or may have dropped files in the %Startup% folder of Windows. These files may run on System Startup every time.

Remove .MERRY File Virus and Get Your Files Back

In case your computer has become infected by the MERRY ransomware virus, there is one thing that you should not do and that is to pay the ransom. The primary reasons for that is paying the ransom may not result in getting the files back and supporting cyber-crooks to spread .MERRY ransomware further is not a good idea in general. This is why the removal of this virus is strongly suggestible.

An effective method to remove the .MERRY file virus from your computer is to follow the specific removal instructions we have designed for you below. They will make sure that you will be able to safely locate and remove the files from your computer. If you do not have experience in how to manually locate all the registry entries and modified as well as touched objects in key Windows directories of the virus, security experts always advise using an advanced anti-malware tool for the removal process. The usage of such tools not only ensures full removal of all objects but also protects your computer in the future.

After already having remove the .MERRY file ransomware from your computer, we urge you to focus on getting the files back the hard way and that is to use other alternative tools. We have suggested several of those in step “2. Restore files encrypted by .MERRY Virus” below. Bear in mind, however that the tools are not 100% effective and if you try other decryptors for other viruses they may further scramble your encrypted files. So doing a backup of the encrypted files is also a necessity.

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.

As a site that has been dedicated to providing free removal instructions for ransomware and malware since 2014, SensorsTechForum’s recommendation is to only pay attention to trustworthy sources.

How to recognize trustworthy sources:

  • Always check "About Us" web page.
  • Profile of the content creator.
  • Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
  • Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.


OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy


Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove Merry X-Mas from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Merry X-Mas

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall Merry X-Mas 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. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Merry X-Mas on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Merry X-Mas there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for Merry X-Mas with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Merry X-Mas.

Ransomware infections and Merry X-Mas aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of Merry X-Mas from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Merry X-Mas and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Merry X-Mas:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Merry X-Mas. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Merry X-Mas. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • 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 Merry X-Mas 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:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Merry X-Mas. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for Merry X-Mas:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Merry X-Mas.

Ransomware infections and Merry X-Mas aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


Merry X-Mas FAQ

What is Merry X-Mas ransomware and how does it work?

Merry X-Mas is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files.

Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithm how to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.

How does Merry X-Mas ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Merry X-Mas Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, containing virus attachment.

This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users.

After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.

Another way, you may become a victim of Merry X-Mas is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.

How to open .Merry X-Mas files?

You can't. At this point the .Merry X-Mas files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.

Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?

Do not panic and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .Merry X-Mas files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by Merry X-Mas ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.

How Do I restore ".Merry X-Mas" files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Merry X-Mas files.

These methods are in no way 100% guarantee that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.

How do I get rid of Merry X-Mas ransomware virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate Merry X-Mas ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Merry X-Mas files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Merry X-Mas ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.

What to Do If nothing works?

There is still a lot you can do. If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:

  • Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
  • Try to contact your friends, relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.
  • Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re-downloaded from the web.
  • Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.
  • You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.

More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.

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