In this article, you will find more information about .Neptune files virus as well as a step-by-step guide on how to remove malicious files from an infected system and how to potentially recover files encrypted by this ransomware.
The so-called .Neptune files virus is yet another ransomware that has been detected by security researchers to be spread in active attack campaigns. The ransomware has its name as a derivative of the extension it uses to mark corrupted files. Another trait of this threat is a text file called !!!READ_IT!!!.txt which contains instructions on how hackers expect to receive a demanded ransom fee. If your computer has been affected by the .Neptune files virus, we recommend that you should read this article thoroughly.
|Name||.Neptune Files Virus|
|Short Description||A data locker ransomware that encodes valuable files with sophisticated cipher algorithm and demands a ransom fee for their decryption.|
|Symptoms||Important files are locked and renamed with .Neptune extension. Hackers attempt to blackmail you into paying a ransom for a decryption tool.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by .Neptune Files Virus |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss .Neptune Files Virus.|
|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.|
.Neptune Files Virus – Update April 2019
A decryption tool for the .Neptune Files Virus got released by EMSIsoft, that you can download from the link provided here – Emsisoft Decrypter for Planetary Ransomware (.mira, .pluto, .Neptune, .yum). You will need a ransom note from this ransomware in order to use the decrypter.
.Neptune Files Virus – Distribution
The main channel used for the spread of .Neptune files virus is likely to be malspam. Since it lets hackers to present their malicious code directly in the inboxes of a large number of online users, it is one of the most preferred ways for ransomware distribution. Once they create their specifically crafted messages, they release them in massive email campaigns. Emails that are part of such attack campaigns usually have some common traits. One of these traits is a presented URL address being it in the form of an in-text link, a banner, a button, an image or another clickable object. Trait number two is the presence of a file attachment of common file type. In addition, expect these emails to pose as representatives of legitimate businesses and services.
The last trick attempts to take advantage of your trust and eventually trick you into opening the infected email element on your device.
A variety of common file types such as documents, PDFs, images could be misused for the spread of .Neptune ransomware payload. These files are often presented as:
- Invoices coming from reputable sites, like PayPal, eBay, etc.
- Documents from that appear to be sent from your bank.
- An online order confirmation note.
- Receipt for a purchase.
Malware authors may also bet on compromised software installers and infected websites for their attack campaigns. These methods enable them to embed the ransomware payload to an app installer or inject it into a web page. Both cases could result in automatic and unnoticed execution of this payload directly on a target system.
.Neptune Files Virus – Overview
The Solar System theme continues to be favored by malware creators. Recently two ransomware threats with planetary names were released in active attack campaigns against online users. The first one associated with.pluto extension and the other with .Mercury. The sequence is continued by another ransomware which is known to mark the files it corrupts with the .Neptune extension.
As revealed by security researchers this threat is designed to infect computer systems in an attempt to reach files that store valuable information and encode them with sophisticated cipher algorithm.
Once the payload of this ransomware is loaded on your system, it triggers a long sequence of malicious activities. Initially, .Neptune files virus is likely to create additional malicious files in some of the following system folders:
When .Neptune ransomware finishes this process, it starts executing malicious files in a predefined order. By doing this, the threat becomes able to access some essential system components and eventually alters some of their settings. As a result of malicious changes, functionalities of certain registry keys like Run and RunOnce could be misused by the ransomware. Since they are designed to manage the automatic execution of main system files and objects, threats like .Neptune are often configured to affect them by adding malicious values there.
Soon after this is done, a ransom note which is previously dropped on the system by .Neptune cryptovirus could load on the screen to inform the following:
!!! ATTENTION, YOUR FILES WERE ENCRYPTED !!!
Please follow few steps below:
1.Send us your ID.
2.We can decrypt 1 not important file what would you make sure that we have decription tool! Do not try to cheat us, only not important file.
3.Then you’ll get payment instruction and after payment you will get your decryption tool!
Do not try to rename files!!! Only we can decrypt all your data!
Your ID:[redacted 64 uppercase hex]:[redacted 64 uppercase hex, separated by dashes] [redacted 64 uppercase hex, separated by dashes]:[redacted 64 uppercase hex, separated by dashes]
This message could be manually loaded by opening the file that contains it. This file is called !!!READ_IT!!!.txt. Apparently, it is used by hackers who stand behind .Neptune ransomware attacks as part of their extortion tactic. The contact emails may be different than the ones mentioned above but the main purpose will always be the one and the same – extortion of a ransom payment. At this point the amount of demanded ransom is not publicly available but what is likely of it is to be requested in any cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc.
Beware that even a successful ransom payment avoidance of which we highly recommend, you still have no guarantee for the efficient recovery of .Neptune files.
.Neptune Files Virus – Encryption Process
Data encryption stage is reached soon after the successful contamination of some essential system settings that support the undetected .Neptune ransomware’s presence on the system. During this stage, the ransomware activates a built-in encryption module which is designed to scan predefined drives and folders for targeted files. Whenever it registers a match, it encodes the detected file with the help of sophisticated cipher algorithm.
At the end of this process, almost all common files used for the storage of important information start to appear with the extension .Neptune appended to their original names. Unfortunately, all files that are saved in one of the following formats could remain inaccessible until the recovery of their original code:
- Audio files
- Video files
- Document files
- Image files
- Backup files
- Banking credentials, etc
Remove .Neptune Files Virus and Attempt to Restore Data
The so-called .Neptune files virus is a threat with highly complex code designed to corrupt both system settings and valuable data. So the only way to use your infected system in a secure manner again is to remove all malicious files and objects created by the ransomware. For the purpose, you could use our removal guide that reveals how to clean and secure your system step by step. In addition, in the guide, you will find several alternative data recovery approaches that may be helpful in attempting to restore files encrypted by .Neptune ransomware. We remind you to back up all encrypted files to an external drive before the recovery process.