Home > Ransomware > Russenger Virus – How to Remove & Restore .messenger-%random% Files

Russenger Virus – How to Remove & Restore .messenger-%random% Files

This article has been created in order to help you by explaining how to remove Russenger Virus virus from your computer system and how to restore .messenger-%random% encrypted files.

The Russenger virus is a newly discovered threat that contains a dangerous ransomware component. It encrypts user data and blackmails the victims to pay a ransom fee. It renames all victim files with the .messenger-%random% extension.

Threat Summary

Name Russenger
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description The main goal of the Russenger Virus is to encrypt sensitive user files and extort the victims for a ransom fee payment.
Symptoms The Russenger ransomware component processes target files and renames them with the .messenger-%random% extension.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware


Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Russenger.
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.

Russenger Virus – Infection Process

The Russenger virus is distributed using different methods. One of the primary ones involves the use of email messages containing social engineering elements that manipulate the users into infecting themselves with the malware threat. There are two primary ways of interacting with them:

  • File Attachments — The hackers can bundle the malware threats directly as files that are delivered with the message. They are usually masked as files of user interest and can also be bundled in archives – either standard ones or password-protected instances. The required passwords are inserted into the body contents.
  • Hyperlinks — In this case the Russenger virus hackers distribute the malware samples using links to offsite hosted instances. The most common way is by using text and graphics hijacked by popular web services. The messages pose as being sent by them and the links can take the form of application updates or software installers.

In relation to the above-mentioned case scenarios the hacker controllers can devise two additional methods. The first one depends on the creation of malware software installers which are send over email messages as well as hosted on malware download portals. They are made by taking the legitimate installers from the official vendors and modifying them to include the dangerous code. The other way is by sending them through scripts bundled in infected documents. They can take the form of various types: spreadsheets, presentations and rich text documents. When the victims open them up a notification prompt appears which asks them to enable the built-in scripts. If this is done the virus is downloaded from an offsite download page and the file is started.

The mentioned hacker-controlled sites are usually designed to look like legitimate web sites. They can use titles, graphics and elements that are hijacked from legitimate sites and this further confuses the intended victims into interacting with them.

Another tactic is the use of browser hijackers to spread the Russenger virus. They represent malware browser plugins that change the default settings to point to a hacker-controlled site. During the initial infection the virus can be installed on the target host. These threats are usually made compatible with the most popular browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.

Russenger Virus – Analysis and Activity

Computer security experts discovered a new ransomware threat known as the Russenger virus. The initial security analysis does not reveal a correlation with any of the known malware familes. This means that the hacker operators have devised it from scratch or have a used a previously unknown code base. It uses a malware engine that can be updated in future versions to include improved functionality.

At the moment it does not include any components other than the infection engine itself and the ransomware module. This means that updated versions can follow a several step infection process. The first stage of the Russenger virus infection can prepare the system for the encryption phase. Such behavior begins with a stealth protection feature that ensures that the engine will not be interrupted ot removed by security software. The hackers devise a special check that scans the system for any security software. If such are found they can be removed or bypassed. Advanced strains can be configured to delete themselves if they are unable to complete this step. This is done in order to prevent detection by the security software.

The next step would be to start an information stealing command that can steal sensitive information from the victims and their machines. The analysts usually classify the data into two main categories:

  • Personal Data — This information can be used by the hackers to directly expose the victim’s identity. The engine is programmed in such a way to extract strings related to their name, address, location, interests, accounts and passwords.
  • System Data — The harvested system information can include data about the operating system, the installed hardware components and other related data.

Lately advanced ransomware threats have been found to have an emphasis on the regional language settings. This is done in order to select the most appropriate ransom note. The harvested system information thereby interacts actively with the ransomware component.

Another consequence would be malware system changes. The Russenger virus engine can impact different system components that can have a lasting impact on the compromised machines. Some examples are the following:

  • Boot Options — The malware engine can disable the recovery options thereby making it impossible for the users to recover their computers on their own.
  • System Process Termination — The Russenger virus can kill certain operating system processes which can result in severe performance issues.
  • Windows Registry Modification — The virus engine can change application-specific registry values which can incapacitate them. Depending on the case this can also help the infection become a persistent threat. This means that it will be very hard for the victim users to remove it by themselves.
  • Additional Malware Delivery — The Russenger virus can be used as a first-stage delivery for other malware. This can include Trojans that can actively spy on the victims in real time as well as take over control of the affected machines.

The security trends shows that updated versions of ransomware usually include the ability to hijack the sensitive data obtained by the information engine. As this often includes personal files the hacker operators can use it to conduct crimes such as identity theft and financial abuse.

Russenger Virus – Encryption Process

As soon as all components have finished executing the ransomware engine is started. The Russenger virus uses a built-in list of target file type extensions that process the victim files with a strong cipher. Usually it is made up of the following:

  • Archives
  • Documents
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Backups
  • Databases

All processed files are renamed with the .messenger-%random% extension. When the module has completed executing a ransomware note is crafted in a file called Инструкция по дешифровке.txt (Russian for “Decryption Instructions”) which contain the following message in Russian:

Вся ваша информация на этом компьютере была зашифрована.
Зашифрованные документы имеют расширение .messenger-******
Для получения инструкций по дешифровке напишите письмо на адрес:
В теме письма укажите ваш код для разшифровки:
Если вам приходит ответ, что почтовый адрес не существует:
1. Попробуйте написать нам с других емеил, mail.ru, yandex.ru;
2. Попробуйте написать через время.

A machine-translated version of it reads the following:

All your information on this computer has been encrypted.
Encrypted documents have the extension .messenger – ******
For instructions on decryption write a letter to:
In the subject line write your code for decryption:
If you receive an answer that the mailing address does not exist:
1. Try to write to us from other emil, mail.ru, yandex.ru;
2. Try to write through the time.

How to Remove Russenger Virus and Restore .messenger-%random% Encrypted Files

In order to make sure that this malware is permanently gone from your computer, you should follow the manual or automatic removal instructions down below. If you have the experience in removing ransomware manually, we advise you to focus on the first 2 steps from the manual removal and to look for the registry files which we have explained in the analysis part above. Otherwise, if you want a more automatic and faster solution and lack the expertise in malware removal, we urge you to download an advanced anti-malware program, which aims to automatically perform the removal operation of Russenger ransomware and secures your computer against future infections in real-time.

If you want to restore files that have been encrypted by this ransomware infection, we advise you to try out the alternative tools for file recovery down below in step “2. Restore files encrypted by .messenger-%random% Files Virus”. They may not guarantee fully that you will recover all of the files, but if you haven’t reinstalled your OS already, there is a good chance that you might just restore them.

Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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Step 1: Scan for Russenger 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.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 2

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

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 3

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.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 4

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

Ransomware Automatic Removal - Video Guide

Step 2: Uninstall Russenger and related malware 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.
delete ransomware from windows step 1

2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
delete ransomware from windows step 2

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"
delete ransomware from windows step 3Follow the instructions above and you will successfully delete most unwanted and malicious programs.

Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Russenger 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 Russenger there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
delete ransomware virus registries step 1

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

3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
delete ransomware virus registries step 3 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.

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: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Russenger


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.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 1

2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 2

3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
remove ransomware in safe mode step 3
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.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 4

5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 5

Step 5: Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Russenger.

Method 1: Use STOP Decrypter by Emsisoft.

Not all variants of this ransomware can be decrypted for free, but we have added the decryptor used by researchers that is often updated with the variants which become eventually decrypted. You can try and decrypt your files using the instructions below, but if they do not work, then unfortunately your variant of the ransomware virus is not decryptable.

Follow the instructions below to use the Emsisoft decrypter and decrypt your files for free. You can download the Emsisoft decryption tool linked here and then follow the steps provided below:

1 Right-click on the decrypter and click on Run as Administrator as shown below:

stop ransomware decryptor step 1

2. Agree with the license terms:

stop ransomware decryptor step 2

3. Click on "Add Folder" and then add the folders where you want files decrypted as shown underneath:

stop ransomware decryptor step 3

4. Click on "Decrypt" and wait for your files to be decoded.

stop ransomware decryptor step 4

Note: Credit for the decryptor goes to Emsisoft researchers who have made the breakthrough with this virus.

Method 2: Use data recovery software

Ransomware infections and Russenger 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 recommended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

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


What is Russenger Ransomware?

Russenger 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 algorithms 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.

Can Russenger Ransomware Cayse Damage?

Yes, ransomware can damage your computer. Ransomware is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.

Ransomware can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.

Should I Ignore Viruses, Like Russenger?

No, you should never ignore ransomware. It can encrypt your data and block access to your computer, making it impossible to access your files until you pay a ransom.

Ignoring ransomware could lead to the permanent loss of your data, as well as the potential for the ransomware to spread to other computers on your network. Additionally, paying the ransom does not guarantee that your data will be recovered.

How Does Russenger Infect?

Via several ways.Russenger Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, 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 Russenger 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 .Russenger files?

You can't. At this point, the .Russenger files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryptionkey for the particular algorithm.

What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?

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

Can I Restore ".Russenger" Files?

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

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

How To Get Rid of Russenger Virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program.

It will scan for and locate Russenger ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Russenger files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Russenger ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts.

What to Do If I Cant Get The Files Back?

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 can be re-downloaded from the web.
  • Another clever way 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.

How to Report Ransomware to Authorities?

In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer.

Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:

Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:

Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei

United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre

United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police

France - Ministère de l'Intérieur

Italy - Polizia Di Stato

Spain - Policía Nacional

Netherlands - Politie

Poland - Policja

Portugal - Polícia Judiciária

Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)

India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell

Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center

Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.

Can You Stop Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?

Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files.

Can Russenger Ransomware Steal Your Data?

Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it.

In many cases, the malware authors or attackers will threaten to delete the data or publish it online unless the ransom is paid.

Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?

Yes, ransomware can infect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.

Should I Pay Ransomware?

No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.

What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?

If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.

Why Is the Ransom Paid in Crypto?

Cryptocurrency is a secure and untraceable form of payment, making it the ideal choice for ransom payments. It is difficult to trace, and the transactions are almost instantaneous. This means it is nearly impossible for authorities to track the payment and recover the money.

Can Ransomware Attack Be Detected?

Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine.

It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.

Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?

Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and others have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.

About the Russenger Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Russenger how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.

How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?

Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.

Furthermore, the research behind the Russenger ransomware threat is backed with VirusTotal and the NoMoreRansom project.

To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

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.

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