Mercury ransomware removal instructions
What is Mercury?
Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Mercury is malicious software (ransomware) that encrypts data and prevents victims from accessing it. Once encryption is finished, all infected files are renamed by adding the ".Mercury" extension. For example, a file with the filename "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.Mercury". Mercury also generates the "!!!READ_ME!!!.txt" text file containing a ransom-demand message. This file is placed in each folder containing encrypted data.
Within the "!!!READ_ME!!!.txt" ransom-demand message, cyber criminals (Mercury's developers) inform victims that all files were encrypted, and to retrieve them, affected users must send their assigned unique IDs using one of the provided email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. After making contact, users receive instructions on how to make payments for the decryption tool, associated cost, and so on. Mercury's developers offer free decryption of one file to prove that they are capable of this and can be trusted. They also urge victims not to rename encrypted files and claim that only they can decrypt them. Typically, ransomware developers use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that create/generate unique decryption keys individually for each victim. Furthermore, they store these keys on remote servers accessible only by them. These actions make data decryption without their involvement virtually impossible, however, most cyber criminals who use ransomware-type infections attempt to blackmail victims and cannot be trusted. They often ignore victims even if they receive the ransom payment in the required cryptocurrency. At present, there are no tools capable of free decryption. If you become a victim of Mercury ransomware, the best free solution is to restore data using a backup (if you have one).
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
There are many different ransomware-type infections (some examples are Forma, Gerber, and Doubleoffset), however, most share the same objectives: to encrypt data and to make ransom demands. The main differences are size of ransom and cryptography algorithm. Unfortunately, most cyber criminals design their ransomware-type infections to be 'uncrackable'. Therefore, in most cases, decryption without their interference is impossible. Files can only be restored if the virus is still in development or contains unfixed bugs/flaws. In any case, maintain data regular backups and store them on unplugged storage devices or remote servers. This will prevent them from being encrypted together with other data stored on the computer.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
It is difficult to determine how Mercury's developers proliferate this malicious program, however, most cyber criminals spread ransomware (and other viruses) using spam email campaigns, trojans, unofficial software download channels, and fake/unofficial software updating tools. Spam email campaigns proliferate computer infections by sending emails that contain malicious attachments. These can be Microsoft Office documents, PDF files, archive files, executables, and so on. The main purpose of these campaigns is to trick users into downloading and opening the attachments. Opening them leads to installation of various high-risk viruses. Trojans (malicious program) cause chain infections. When installed, malware of this type proliferates various other threats. Untrustworthy, dubious software download sources such as freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, peer-to-peer networks (torrents, eMule and so on) might be used to present infected (malicious) software or files as legitimate. By using any of these sources, users risk installation of computer infections. Fake software updating tools/updaters cause damage by downloading malware rather than the promised updates or by exploiting bugs or flaws of the outdated software.
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Symptoms||Can't open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension, for example my.docx.locked. A ransom demanding message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals are asking to pay a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.|
|Distribution methods||Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.|
|Damage||All files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.|
To eliminate Mercury virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
To keep computers safe from ransomware or other viruses, download, install, update software, and browse the web responsibly and carefully. Avoid using third party software downloaders/installers and other tools. Download software using official and trustworthy websites (or other channels). It is also important to update installed software using implemented functions or tools provided by official software developers only. Think twice before opening attachments that are presented in emails received from unknown/suspicious email addresses. The same applies to web links. Have reputable anti-spyware/anti-virus software installed and keep it enabled at all times. These tools are usually capable of detecting and eliminating threats before they can proliferate or do any damage. If your computer is already infected with Mercury, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Mercury ransomware text file:
!!! ATTENTION, YOUR FILES WERE ENCRYPTED !!!
Please follow few steps below:
1.Send us your ID.
2.We can decrypt 1 file what would you make sure that we have decription tool!
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!
Screenshot of files encrypted by Mercury (".Mercury" extension):
Mercury ransomware removal:
Instant automatic removal of Mercury virus:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Mercury virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Mercury?
- STEP 1. Mercury virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Mercury ransomware removal using System Restore.
Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the Mercury virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.
If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.
Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":
1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the Mercury ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining Mercury ransomware files.
To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of Mercury are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.
To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.
If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.
To protect your computer from file encryption ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as Mercury ransomware.
Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.
Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here is more information on how to get this update and add an additional protection layer from ransomware infections.
HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.
Other tools known to remove Mercury ransomware: