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Marnet ransomware


Marnet virus Removal Guide

What is Marnet ransomware?

Marnet ransomware encrypts users’ personal files using the RSA and AES algorithms

Marnet ransomwareRansomware infections can result in permanent data loss if there are no backups

Marnet ransomware is a file-locking virus that infiltrates the machine and encrypts users’ personal files, including photos, videos, and documents. It belongs to the MedusaLocker ransomware family that emerged in 2022. The affected files get appended with the .marnet2 extension. It is important to note, that the number in the extension may vary. If a file was previously named picture.jpg, it will now be named picture.jpg.marnet2 after the encryption process is completed.

The icons also change to blank pages, preventing users from viewing the content even in preview mode. When users attempt to open the damaged files, a message appears stating that Windows is unable to open the file. Such an infection can be extremely damaging and result in permanent data loss, which is why it is critical to always keep backups.

NAMEMarnet
TYPERansomware, cryptovirus, data locking malware
MALWARE FAMILYMedusaLocker ransomware
FILE EXTENSION.marnet2
RANSOM NOTEhow_to_back_files.html
DISTRIBUTIONInfected email attachments, peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms, torrents, malicious ads
FILE RECOVERYIt is next to impossible to recover the files if you do not have backups or the decryption keys were not leaked; in some cases, recovery is successful with third-party software
ELIMINATIONScan your machine with anti-malware software to eliminate the virus safely; this will not recover the locked files
SYSTEM FIXYou can avoid windows reinstallation with ReimageIntego maintenance tool, which can fix damaged files and system errors

The ransom note

Marnet ransomware drops a ransom note file how_to_back_files.html after the encryption is complete. The message reads as follows:

YOUR PERSONAL ID:

/!\ YOUR COMPANY NETWORK HAS BEEN PENETRATED /!\
All your important files have been encrypted!

Your files are safe! Only modified. (RSA+AES)

ANY ATTEMPT TO RESTORE YOUR FILES WITH THIRD-PARTY SOFTWARE
WILL PERMANENTLY CORRUPT IT.
DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES.
DO NOT RENAME ENCRYPTED FILES.

No software available on internet can help you. We are the only ones able to
solve your problem.

We gathered highly confidential/personal data. These data are currently stored on
a private server. This server will be immediately destroyed after your payment.
If you decide to not pay, we will release your data to public or re-seller.
So you can expect your data to be publicly available in the near future..

We only seek money and our goal is not to damage your reputation or prevent
your business from running.

You will can send us 2-3 non-important files and we will decrypt it for free
to prove we are able to give your files back.

Contact us for price and get decryption software.

qd7pcafncosqfqu3ha6fcx4h6sr7tzwagzpcdcnytiw3b6varaeqv5yd.onion
* Note that this server is available via Tor browser only

Follow the instructions to open the link:
1. Type the addres “hxxps://www.torproject.org” in your Internet browser. It opens the Tor site.
2. Press “Download Tor”, then press “Download Tor Browser Bundle”, install and run it.
3. Now you have Tor browser. In the Tor Browser open qd7pcafncosqfqu3ha6fcx4h6sr7tzwagzpcdcnytiw3b6varaeqv5yd.onion
4. Start a chat and follow the further instructions.
If you can not use the above link, use the email:
[email protected]
[email protected]
* To contact us, create a new free email account on the site: protonmail.com
IF YOU DON’T CONTACT US WITHIN 72 HOURS, PRICE WILL BE HIGHER.

The ransom note informs victims that their company’s network has been compromised and that all important files have been encrypted using RSA and AES encryption. It states that attempts to restore the files with third-party software will permanently corrupt them and that the only way to retrieve the files is through a ransom demand.

The note also mentions that the attackers have gathered confidential and personal data and will release it to the public or resell it if the ransom is not paid. The attackers offer to decrypt a few non-important files for free as proof of their ability to restore the files. They provide a Tor link and an email address for contact and warn that the ransom price will be higher if they are not contacted within 72 hours.

To pay or not to pay?

Paying the ransom is not recommended for several reasons. Firstly, there is no guarantee that the attackers will actually decrypt the files and return them to the victim once the ransom is paid. In some cases, victims have paid the ransom but still did not receive the decryption key[1] or had their files permanently lost.

Secondly, paying the ransom encourages and funds the attackers to continue their malicious activities and potentially target other victims. It also creates a financial incentive for other cybercriminals to engage in similar tactics. Additionally, paying a ransom may also be illegal in some countries and may be against company policy.

Also, if the company is publicly traded, it may be required to disclose the ransom payment, which could have a negative impact on the company’s reputation and stock price. Instead, it is recommended to have a backup of your data and regularly update it, to have a cyber incident response plan in place, and to inform authorities so they can track and stop these cyber criminals.

Marnet ransom note

Victims should not pay the ransom because cyber criminals cannot be trusted

Distribution methods

Most ransomware is spread via an executable file (.exe) that may have been in a zip folder, embedded within the macros of a Microsoft Office document, or disguised as a fax or other viable attachment. This is usually due to user error and a lack of awareness of security risks.

Many people enjoy using unsafe download sites and installing “cracked” software.[2] Torrent sites, peer-to-peer file-sharing networks,[3] and freeware platforms are ideal breeding grounds for all types of malware. It is impossible to know whether the program you are installing is safe when using these sites. Use official web stores and developer websites whenever possible. Even though it may be costly, keeping your system running smoothly may save you money in the long run.

Social engineering is also used by cybercriminals to spread malicious programs. They frequently disguise malware as a legitimate and “useful” program. Crooks can also create emails that appear to be urgent messages from well-known companies. Typically, they will include a malicious link or an infected attachment that, when opened, will launch the infection.

Another common way for users to become infected with ransomware is by failing to install the most recent security patches for their operating system and software. Threat actors can use software flaws to deliver malicious programs. To avoid this, software developers release updates on a regular basis.

Start the removal process

The most important thing to do is disconnect the affected machine from the local network. For home users, disconnecting the ethernet cable should do the job. If this happened at your workplace, doing that might be complicated, so we have instructions for corporate environments at the bottom of this post.

If you try to recover your data first, it can result in permanent loss. It can also encrypt your files the second time. It will not stop until you remove the malicious files causing it first. You should not attempt removing the malicious program yourself unless you have experience.

Use anti-malware tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes to scan your system. This security software should find all the related files and entries and remove them automatically for you. In some cases, malware is not letting you use antivirus in normal mode, so you need to access Safe Mode and perform a full system scan from there:

Windows 7 / Vista / XP

  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.Windows XP/7

Windows 10 / Windows 8

  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.Update & Security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.Recovery
  6. Select Troubleshoot.Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options.
  8. Select Startup Settings.
  9. Click Restart.
  10. Press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.Press F5 to enable Safe Mode with Networking

Is your operating system damaged?

Performance, stability, and usability issues, to the point where a full Windows reinstall is required, are expected after malware infection. These types of infections can alter the Windows registry database, damage vital bootup, and other sections, delete or corrupt DLL files, etc. Once a system file is damaged by malware, antivirus software is not able to repair it.

This is why ReimageIntego was developed. It can fix a lot of the damage caused by an infection like this. Blue Screen errors, freezes, registry errors, damaged DLLs, etc., can make your computer completely unusable. By using this maintenance tool, you could avoid Windows reinstallation.

  • Download the application by clicking on the link above
  • Click on the ReimageRepair.exe
  • If User Account Control (UAC) shows up, select Yes
  • Press Install and wait till the program finishes the installation process
  • The analysis of your machine will begin immediately
  • Once complete, check the results – they will be listed in the Summary
  • You can now click on each of the issues and fix them manually
  • If you see many problems that you find difficult to fix, we recommend you purchase the license and fix them automatically.Reimage results

Try recovering data with third-party software

Only hackers hold the decryption key, which can unlock your files, so if you did not back them up previously, you possibly lost your files forever. You can try using data recovery software, but third-party programs cannot always decrypt the files. We suggest at least trying this method. Before proceeding, you have to copy the corrupted files and place them in a USB flash drive or another storage. And remember – only do this if you have already removed the Marnet ransomware.

Before you begin, several pointers are important while dealing with this situation:

  • Since the encrypted data on your computer might permanently be damaged by security or data recovery software, you should first make backups of it – use a USB flash drive or another storage.
  • Only attempt to recover your files using this method after you perform a scan with anti-malware software.

Install data recovery software

  1. Download Data Recovery Pro.
  2. Double-click the installer to launch it.
  3. Follow on-screen instructions to install the software.Install program
  4. As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
  5. Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from.Select what to recover
  6. Press Next.
  7. At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned.Select Deep scan
  8. Press Scan and wait till it is complete.
  9. You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don’t forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
  10. Press Recover to retrieve your files.Recover files
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.

Alternative Software

Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Malwarebytes

Alternative Software

Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of Marnet virus. Follow these steps

Isolate the infected computer

Some ransomware strains aim to infect not only one computer but hijack the entire network. As soon as one of the machines is infected, malware can spread via network and encrypt files everywhere else, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. If your computer is connected to a network, it is important to isolate it to prevent re-infection after ransomware removal is complete.

The easiest way to disconnect a PC from everything is simply to plug out the ethernet cable. However, in the corporate environment, this might be extremely difficult to do (also would take a long time). The method below will disconnect from all the networks, including local and the internet, isolating each of the machines involved.

If you are using some type of cloud storage you are connected to, you should disconnect from it immediately. It is also advisable to disconnect all the external devices, such as USB flash sticks, external HDDs, etc. Once the malware elimination process is finished, you can connect your computers to the network and internet, as explained above, but by pressing Enable instead.

Find a working decryptor for your files

File encryption is a process that is similar to applying a password to a particular file or folder. However, from a technical point of view, encryption is fundamentally different due to its complexity. By using encryption, threat actors use a unique set of alphanumeric characters as a password that can not easily be deciphered if the process is performed correctly.

There are several algorithms that can be used to lock data (whether for good or bad reasons); for example, AES uses the symmetric method of encryption, meaning that the key used to lock and unlock files is the same. Unfortunately, it is only accessible to the attackers who hold it on a remote server – they ask for a payment in exchange for it. This simple principle is what allows ransomware authors to prosper in this illegal business.

While many high-profile ransomware strains such as Djvu or Dharma use immaculate encryption methods, there are plenty of failures that can be observed within the code of some novice malware developers. For example, the keys could be stored locally, which would allow users to regain access to their files without paying. In some cases, ransomware does not even encrypt files due to bugs, although victims might believe the opposite due to the ransom note that shows up right after the infection and data encryption is completed.

Therefore, regardless of which crypto-malware affects your files, you should try to find the relevant decryptor if such exists. Security researchers are in a constant battle against cybercriminals. In some cases, they manage to create a working decryption tool that would allow victims to recover files for free.

Once you have identified which ransomware you are affected by, you should check the following links for a decryptor:

No More Ransom Project

If you can’t find a decryptor that works for you, you should try the alternative methods we list below. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that it sometimes takes years for a working decryption tool to be developed, so there are always hopes for the future.

Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future

One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.

Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:

  • Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
  • Use cloud storage services.

The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.

Using Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here’s how to setup backups for OneDrive:

  1. Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
  2. Select Help & Settings > Settings.Go to OneDrive settings
  3. If you don’t see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.Add OneDrive account
  4. Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.Manage backup
  5. Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
  6. Press Start backup.Pick which folders to sync

After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).

Using Google Drive

Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.

You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.

  1. Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.Install Google Drive app
  2. Wait a few seconds for it to be installed.Complete installation
  3. Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.Google Drive Sign in
  4. Click Get Started.Backup and sync
  5. Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password.Enter email/phone
  6. Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
  7. Once done, pick Next.Choose what to sync
  8. Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
  9. Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.

Report the incident to your local authorities

Ransomware is a huge business that is highly illegal, and authorities are very involved in catching malware operators. To have increased chances of identifying the culprits, the agencies need information. Therefore, by reporting the crime, you could help with stopping the cybercriminal activities and catching the threat actors. Make sure you include all the possible details, including how did you notice the attack, when it happened, etc. Additionally, providing documents such as ransom notes, examples of encrypted files, or malware executables would also be beneficial.

Law enforcement agencies typically deal with online fraud and cybercrime, although it depends on where you live. Here is the list of local authority groups that handle incidents like ransomware attacks, sorted by country:

Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3

If your country is not listed above, you should contact the local police department or communications center.

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users’ data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author

Linas Kiguolis

Linas Kiguolis
– Expert in social media

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