Heran ransomware removal instructions
What is Heran?
First discovered by malware researcher, Michael Gillespie, Heran is one of many ransomware-type infections from the Djvu family. The purpose of Heran is to encrypt most stored files and keep them in that state unless a ransom is paid. During encryption, Heran appends each filename with the ".heran" extension (hence its name). For example, "1.jpg" is renamed to "1.jpg.heran". Additionally, Heran generates a text file ("_readme.txt") and stores copies in most existing folders.
The new text file contains a ransom-demand message stating that files are compromised and that recovery requires a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. Heran encrypts data using an algorithm that generates an individual decryption key for each victim. All keys are stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals and that victims cannot access - they can supposedly obtain their keys if they pay a ransom of $980. To receive payment/decryption instructions, victims must contact cyber criminals via email or telegram. It is also stated that victims will receive a 50% discount if they contact these people within 72 hours of encryption. Criminals also offer free decryption of one file as 'proof' that data can be restored and that Heran's developers can be trusted. In fact, you should ignore all requests to submit payments or even contact these people. Cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Thus, paying usually gives no positive results and users are scammed. Note that Heran does have a flaw: it encrypts data using an "offline key" (which is hard-coded) whenever the infected machine has no Internet connection or the server is unresponsive. Therefore, try restoring data with a decryption tool developed by Michael Gillespie. If that does not work, the only possible solution is to restore everything from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
The internet is full of ransomware-type infections that share many similarities with Heran including Pox, Peekaboo, and Lanset - the list goes on. Unfortunately, most of these viruses employ cryptographies such as RSA, AES, and similar, that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the virus is still in development or has certain bugs/flaws, restoring data manually (without developers' involvement) is impossible. Ransomware-type infections present a strong case for maintaining regular backups, however, store them on a remote server/unplugged storage device, since locally stored backups are compromised together with regular data. Bear in mind that there is always a chance that servers/storage devices can be damaged. Therefore, have multiple backup copies stored in different locations.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
The exact way in which developers proliferate Heran is currently unknown, however, popular tools/methods are trojans, fake software 'cracks' and updaters, unofficial download sources, and spam email campaigns. Trojans are essentially malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and inject them with additional malware. Most fake updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware rather than updates. The same applies to fake cracks, which inject malware rather than activating paid applications free of charge. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks (freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, etc.), free file hosting websites, freeware download sites, and other third party software download sources are used to present malware as legitimate software. In this way, users end up downloading and installing malware. Spam email campaigns are used by cyber criminals to send hundreds of thousands of emails containing malicious attachments together with deceptive messages that encourage recipients to open them. To increase the chance of tricking recipients, criminals present malicious attachments as 'important documents' such as invoices, bills, receipts, and similar. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior.
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32156477), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Injector.EGRE), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.bj), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.heran|
|Ransom Demanding Message||_readme.txt|
|Cyber Criminal Contactemail@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, @datarestore (Telegram)|
|Symptoms||Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand payment of a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.|
|Additional Information||This malware is designed to show fake a Windows Update window, modify the Windows "hosts" file (to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites) and inject AZORult trojan into the system.|
|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 Heran virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the internet and downloading, installing and updating software. Never open email attachments that are received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses. The same applies to attachments that seem irrelevant or do not concern you. We strongly recommend that you download programs from official sources only and, if possible, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue applications, and thus these tools should never be used. Similar rules apply to software updates. Keep installed programs and operating systems up-to-date, however, only using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Bear in mind that software piracy is a cyber crime and the risk of infection is extremely high. Furthermore, many cracks are fake. Therefore, using illegal/third party tools to activate installed programs should never be considered. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running, since these tools detect and eliminate malware before the system is harmed. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with Heran, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Heran ransomware text file ("_readme.txt"):
Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.
To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
Our Telegram account:
Mark Data Restore
Your personal ID:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Heran (".heran" extension):
Malware researcher Michael Gillespie has developed a decryption tool that might restore your data if it was encrypted using an "offline key". As mentioned, each victim gets a unique decryption key, all of which are stored on remote servers controlled by cyber criminals. These are categorized as "online keys", however, there are cases whereby the infected machine has no Internet connection or the server is timing out/not responding. If this is the case, Heran will use an "offline encryption key", which is hard-coded. Cyber criminals change offline keys periodically to prevent multiple encryptions with the same key. Michael Gillespie continually gathers offline keys and updates the decrypter, however, the chances of successful decryption are still very low, since only a very small proportion of "offline keys" have so far been gathered. You can download the decrypter by clicking this link (note that the download link remains identical, even though the decrypter is being continually updated). Your files will be restored only if the list of gathered keys includes the one that was used to encrypt your data.
Screenshot of STOP/Djvu decrypter by Michael Gillespie:
As with most ransomware from the Djvu family, Heran also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during the encryption:
IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also install a trojan-type virus called AZORult, which is designed to steal various account credentials. Moreover, this malware family is designed to add a number of entries to the Windows hosts file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website (PCrisk.com) is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).
Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:
Heran ransomware removal:
Instant automatic removal of Heran 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 Heran virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Heran?
- STEP 1. Heran virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Heran 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 Heran 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 Heran 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 Heran 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 Heran 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 Heran 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 Heran ransomware: