The Merlin virus belongs with the ransomware type of malicious agent. Ransomware of this type encrypts all the data on your computer (images, text files, excel tables, music, videos, etc) and adds its extra extension to every file, creating the Merlin_Recover.txt text files in every folder with the encrypted files.
What is Merlin virus?
☝️ A scientifically correct denomination for the Merlin is “a ransomware infection”.
Merlin will add its specific .Merlin extension to the title of every encrypted file. For example, an image entitled “photo.jpg” will be turned into “photo.jpg.Merlin”. Likewise, the Excel table named “table.xlsx” will end up as “table.xlsx.Merlin”, and so forth.
In every directory that contains the encoded files, a Merlin_Recover.txt text document will be found. It is a ransom money memo. Therein you can find information about the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other remarks. The ransom note most probably contains instructions on how to buy the decryption tool from the tamperers. You can obtain this decoding tool after contacting M[email protected], [email protected], [email protected] via email. That is pretty much the scheme of the crime.
|Contact||M[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]|
|Detection||MSIL/GenKryptik.GGWL, Doina.48214, Win32:Teerac-BX [Trj]|
|Symptoms||Your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .Merlin extension and you can’t open them.|
|Fix Tool||See If Your System Has Been Affected by Merlin virus|
The Merlin_Recover.txt document accompanying the Merlin malware provides the following dispiriting information:
Your ID is: - Q: How to contact us? A: Install session messenger from this link : hxxps://getsession.org/download And chat with us. This is our sessions ID: 05752759728f65ca92b3d98fc72500cdb7c5b11eb7b17f7d8afc6b8ecdcbdedf6d OR Contact with these email addresses: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] ** Make sure to include the ID in the first line of massages or subject of email, otherwise we won’t answer your massages. Q: What's Happened? A: Your files have been encrypted and now have the \"Merlin\" extension. The file structure has been changed to unreadable format, so they are inaccessible. Your critical information has been downloaded, including databases, financial/developmental, accounting, and strategic documents. Q: How to recover files? A: If you want to decrypt all of your data and return your systems to operative state, you require a decryption tool. We are the only ones who own it, and also, if you want your stolen data will be wiped out from our systems, you better contact us. Q: What about guarantees? A: we decrypt 2 non_important files under 5MB for free (they should not include sensitive information). We will decrypt them and send them back to you. They can be from different computers on your network to be sure that one key can decrypts your whole systems. That is our guarantee. It's just a business and we don't pursue any political objectives. We absolutely do not care about you and your data except the money and our reputation are the only things that matters to us. if we do not do our work and liabilities, nobody will cooperate with us which is not in our interests. Q: How will the decryption process proceed after payment? A: After payment, we will send you our decryption program + detailed instructions for use. With this program, you will be able to decrypt all your encrypted files. *** Important *** 1- certain files that were encrypted but not renamed to \"Merlin\" extension, they will also be recovered by the decryption tool. 2- If you want the decryption procedure to be effective, DO NOT delete or modify the encrypted files, it will cause issues with the decryption process. 3- Beware Any organization or individual who asserts they can decrypt your data without paying us should be avoided. They just deceive you and charge you much more money as a consequence; they all contact us and buy the decryption tool from us. Q: If you don't want to pay to us? A: it does not matter to us, but you have to accept its consequences: 1- Your data will be leaked for free on TOR darknet and your competitors can have access to your data. 2- We know exactly what vulnerabilities exist in your network and will inform google about them. The money we asked for is nothing compare to all of these damages to your business so we recommend you to pay the price and secure your business. If you pay we will give you tips for your security so it can’t be hacked in the future besides you will lose your time and data cause we are the only ones that have the private key.
In the picture below, you can see what a directory with files encrypted by the Merlin looks like. Each filename has the “.Merlin” extension appended to it.
How did Merlin ransomware end up on my PC?
There are many possible ways of ransomware injection.
Nowadays, there are three most popular ways for malefactors to have ransomware working in your system. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer networks.
If you access your mailbox and see emails that look just like notifications from utility services providers, postal agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose mailer is strange to you, beware of opening those letters. They are most likely to have a malware file attached to them. So it is even riskier to download any attachments that come with letters like these.
Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan virus model1. A Trojan is a program that gets into your machine disguised as something different. For example, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some program. But what is unboxed turns out to be a harmful agent that encodes your data. Since the update package can have any name and any icon, you have to make sure that you can trust the source of the stuff you’re downloading. The best way is to use the software companies’ official websites.
As for the peer networks like BitTorrent or eMule, the danger is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Internet. You can never guess what you download until you get it. So you’d better be using trustworthy websites. Also, it is a good idea to scan the directory containing the downloaded objects with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is finished.
How to remove the Merlin virus?
It is important to inform you that besides encrypting your data, the Merlin virus will most likely install the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That spyware2 can extract your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.
Sometimes criminals would decode several of your files to prove that they indeed have the decryption tool. As Merlin virus is a relatively new ransomware, safety measures developers have not yet found a method to undo its work. However, the decoding instruments are frequently upgraded, so the solution may soon arrive.
Of course, if the hackers do the job of encrypting someone’s critical files, the hopeless person will most likely comply with their demands. Nevertheless, paying a ransom gives no guarantee that you’re getting your files back. It is still dangerous. After obtaining the money, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption key to the victim. There were reports of criminals simply vanishing after getting the money without even bothering to reply.
The best solution against ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your essential files in the cloud drive or at least on an external disk. Surely, that might be not enough. The most crucial thing could be that file you were working on when it all went down. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also advisable to scan your PC for viruses with the antivirus program after the OS restoration.
Merlin is not the only ransomware of its kind, since there are other specimens of ransomware out there that act in the same manner. For instance, Qotr, Coaq, Cosw, and some others. The two main differences between them and the Merlin are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: documents become blocked, their extensions altered, ransom notes are found in each directory containing encrypted files.
Some fortunate people were able to decode the arrested files with the aid of the free tools provided by anti-malware developers. Sometimes the criminals mistakenly send the decryption key to the wronged in the ransom note. Such an epic fail allows the user to restore the files. But naturally, one should never expect such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a tamperers’ instrument to lay their hands on the money of their victims.
How сan I avoid ransomware infection?
Merlin ransomware has no superpower, so as any similar malware.
You can armour yourself from its injection in three easy steps:
- Never open any letters from unknown mailers with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (how can you win in a money prize draw without even taking part in it?). If the email subject is likely something you are expecting, check all elements of the dubious email with caution. A fake email will always have mistakes.
- Do not use cracked or untrusted programs. Trojans are often spreaded as a part of cracked products, most likely under the guise of “patch” which prevents the license check. Understandably, dubious programs are very hard to distinguish from trustworthy software, because trojans may also have the functionality you seek. Try to find information on this program on the anti-malware forums, but the best solution is not to use such programs at all.
- And to be sure about the safety of the files you downloaded, scan them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software will be a powerful defense for your system.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft3
There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft4.
Download Removal Tool.
You can download GridinSoft Anti-Malware by clicking the button below:
Run the setup file.
When setup file has finished downloading, double-click on the setup-antimalware-fix.exe file to install GridinSoft Anti-Malware on your PC.
An User Account Control asking you about to allow GridinSoft Anti-Malware to make changes to your device. So, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
Press “Install” button.
Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.
Wait for the Anti-Malware scan to complete.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your system for Merlin infections and other malicious programs. This process can take a 20-30 minutes, so I suggest you periodically check on the status of the scan process.
Click on “Clean Now”.
When the scan has finished, you will see the list of infections that GridinSoft Anti-Malware has detected. To remove them click on the “Clean Now” button in right corner.
Frequently Asked Questions
🤔 How can I open “.Merlin” files?Is it possible to open“.Merlin” files?
Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.Merlin” files first. Then you will be able to open them.
🤔 I really need to decrypt those “.Merlin” files ASAP. How can I do that?
If the “.Merlin” files contain some really important information, then you probably have them backed up. In case you haven’t, there is still a chance that you do have a Restore Point from some time ago to roll back the whole system to the moment when it had no virus yet, but already had your files. All other solutions require time.
🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to get rid of the Merlin virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?
Absolutely not! Unlike the ransomware program itself, the encrypted files do not jeopardize your system.
With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your computer off the actual viruses. The virus that has attacked your computer is probably still active and it scans your system periodically to encrypt any new files you might create on your computer after the attack. As it has already been said, the Merlin malware comes with the company. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can take your account passwords by trespass and provide criminals with easy access to your computer after some time.
🤔 What to do if the Merlin virus has blocked my computer and I can’t get the activation code.
In such an unfortunate situation, you need to prepare a flash memory drive with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the cleaning. The point is that the ransomware runs automatically as the system boots and encodes any new files created or brought into your machine. To block this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential applications to run upon system start. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.
🤔 What could help the situation right now?
Some of the blocked data can be found elsewhere.
- If you exchanged your critical files via email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
- You may have shared images or videos with your friends or relatives. Just ask them to give those images back to you.
- If you have initially got any of your files from the Web, you can try doing it again.
- Your messengers, social networks pages, and cloud storage might have all those files too.
- It might be that you still have the needed files on your old PC, a notebook, mobile, flash memory, etc.
HINT: You can use file recovery utilities5 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware arrests the copies of your files, removing the authentic ones. In the tutorial below, you can see how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but be advised: you won’t be able to do it before you eradicate the virus with an anti-malware program.
Also, you can contact the following governmental fraud and scam sites to report this attack:
- In the United States: On Guard Online;
- In Canada: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre;
- In the United Kingdom: Action Fraud;
- In Australia: SCAMwatch;
- In New Zealand: Consumer Affairs Scams;
- In France: Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information;
- In Germany: Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik;
- In Ireland: An Garda Síochána;
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How to Remove MERLIN Ransomware & Recover PC
Name: MERLIN Virus
Description: MERLIN Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .Merlin extension. So, you can't use them at all.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
User Review( votes)
- You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
- You can read more on spyware variants and nature in the respective section of GridinSoft official website.
- GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
- More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
- Here are Top 10 Data Recovery Software Of 2023.