The Neon virus belongs to the STOP/DJVU family and infects computer systems with ransomware. It encrypts various files, including videos, photos, and documents, and appends the “.neon” extension to them. This virus utilizes a robust encryption method, making it nearly impossible to calculate the decryption key through any means.
I have compiled a comprehensive collection of potential solutions, tips, and techniques to actively combat the Neon virus and recover your files. While some situations offer straightforward options for retrieving files, others present significant challenges.
📌 Important Reminder!
It is crucial to note that paying the ransom does not guarantee the successful recovery of your files. The individuals behind the Neon virus are known for their untrustworthiness. There have been instances where victims have paid the ransom, only to be denied the decryption key by the cybercriminals.
When the Neon virus infects a computer’s operating system and initiates the file encryption process, it alters the file extensions of the encrypted files by appending “.neon” to them. To regain access to these encrypted files, the virus demands a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. Typically, a ransom note named “_readme.txt” is displayed, outlining the payment instructions.
Neon employs a unique identification code for each victim, except in one specific scenario:
- If the Neon virus fails to establish a connection with its command and control servers (C&C Server) prior to initiating the encryption process, it resorts to using an offline key. This offline key remains the same for all victims, potentially offering a means of decrypting files affected by the ransomware attack.
Is Neon virus?
☝️ Neon can be correctly identified as a STOP/DJVU ransomware infection.
🤔 Neon virus is ransomware that originates from the DJVU/STOP family. Its primary purpose is to encrypt files that are important to you. After that ransomware virus asks its victims for a ransom fee ($490 – $980) in BitCoin.
The Neon ransomware is a kind of malware that encrypts your documents and then forces you to pay to restore them. Note that Djvu/STOP ransomware family was first revealed and analyzed by virus analyst Michael Gillespie.
Neon virus is similar to other the same DJVU family: Weqp, Weon, Werz. This virus encrypt all popular file types and adds its particular “.neon” extension into all files. For example, the file “1.jpg”, will be changed into “1.jpg.neon“. As soon as the encryption is accomplished, the virus creates a specific text file “_readme.txt” and adds it to all folders that contain the modified files.
The image below gives a clear vision of how the files with “.neon” extension look like:
|Ransomware family1||DJVU/STOP2 ransomware|
|Ransom||From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)|
|Contact||[email protected], [email protected]|
|Detection||Trojan:Win32/Redline!ic, Trojan:Win32/Vindor!pz, Trojan:Win32/Vindor!pz|
To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:
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This _readme.txt file asking payment is for restoring files via decryption key:
The Neon ransomware is designed to execute multiple processes on a victim’s computer. One of the initial processes launched is winupdate.exe, which displays a deceptive Windows update prompt during the attack. This is intended to mislead the victim into believing that a legitimate Windows update causes a sudden system slowdown. Meanwhile, another process, usually named with four random characters, scans the system for target files and encrypts them. To eliminate any possibility of file restoration, the ransomware then proceeds to delete Volume Shadow Copies from the system using the following CMD command:
vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet
Once these copies are deleted, it becomes impossible to restore the previous state of the computer using System Restore Points. The ransomware operators intentionally remove Windows OS-based methods that could potentially aid victims in file recovery without payment. Additionally, the criminals modify the Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of domains and mapping them to the localhost IP. Consequently, when attempting to access any of the blocked websites, the victim encounters a DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.
It has been observed that ransomware aims to block websites that provide various how-to guides for computer users. By restricting access to specific domains, the criminals attempt to hinder victims from obtaining relevant and helpful information related to ransomware attacks. The virus also generates two text files on the victim’s computer containing attack-related details: the victim’s public encryption key and personal ID. These files are named bowsakkdestx.txt and PersonalID.txt.
Even after implementing these modifications, the malware does not cease its activities. Variants of the STOP/DJVU malware often deploy Vidar password-stealing Trojans on compromised systems. This particular threat boasts an extensive range of capabilities, including:
- Stealing login/password credentials for platforms like Steam, Telegram, and Skype;
- Pilfering cryptocurrency wallets;
- Downloading and executing additional malware on the infected computer;
- Extracting browser cookies, saved passwords, browsing history, and other sensitive information;
- Viewing and manipulating files residing on the victim’s computer;
- Granting hackers the ability to remotely carry out various tasks on the victim’s computer.
The DJVU/STOP virus employs the AES-256 cryptography algorithm. Therefore, if your documents have been encrypted with a unique online decryption key, it becomes practically impossible to decrypt the files without possessing that specific key.
In the event that Neon operates in online mode, obtaining access to the AES-256 key becomes unattainable. The key is securely stored on a remote server owned by the criminals responsible for distributing the Neon ransomware.
To obtain the decryption key, a payment of $980 is required. Victims are instructed to contact the fraudsters via email ([email protected]) to receive the payment details.
The message by the ransomware states the following information:
ATTENTION! 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: https://we.tl/t-WJa63R98Ku 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: [email protected] Reserve e-mail address to contact us: [email protected] Your personal ID: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Do not pay for Neon!
Please, try to use the available backups, or Decrypter tool
The ransom note, “_readme.txt,” additionally instructs computer owners to contact Neon representatives within 72 hours of their files being encrypted. By adhering to this timeframe, users are eligible for a 50% discount, reducing the ransom amount to $490. However, I strongly discourage paying the ransom.
Instead, I highly recommend exploring alternative options to recover your lost data, such as utilizing available backups or employing a Decrypter tool.
It is important to understand that most ransomware viruses follow a similar pattern in generating a unique decryption key for data recovery. Unless the ransomware is still in the developmental stage or contains significant vulnerabilities, manually decrypting the encrypted data is not feasible. Regularly creating backups of your critical files is the most effective way to prevent data loss.
Remember that even if you maintain regular backups, they should be stored in a separate location disconnected from your primary workstation. For example, you can store backups on a USB flash drive, an external hard drive, or utilize online (cloud) storage solutions.
It is worth noting that keeping your backup data on your main device may also be susceptible to encryption, just like other data. Therefore, it is not advisable to store backups on your primary device.
How I was infected?
Ransomware has a various methods to built into your system. But it doesn’t really matter what concrete method was used in your case.
Neon attack following a successful phishing attempt.
However, these are the common vulnerabilities through which the Neon ransomware may infiltrate your PC:
- Hidden installation bundled with other apps, particularly utilities that are offered as freeware or shareware;
- Dubious spam emails with malicious links that lead to the installation of the virus;
- Utilizing online free hosting resources;
- Engaging in the use of illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms for downloading pirated software.
There have been instances where the Neon virus was disguised as a legitimate tool, such as messages urging users to initiate unwanted software or browser updates. This is a common tactic employed by online fraudsters to manipulate users into manually installing the Neon ransomware, essentially tricking them into actively participating in the process.
Naturally, the bogus update alert will not disclose that you are actually installing the virus. Instead, the installation process will be camouflaged under an alert claiming that you need to update Adobe Flash Player or some other suspicious program.
Certainly, the usage of cracked apps also poses a significant risk. Engaging in peer-to-peer (P2P) activities is not only illegal but can also lead to the infiltration of severe malware, including the Neon ransomware.
To summarize, what can you do to prevent the intrusion of the Neon ransomware into your device? While there is no foolproof method to guarantee complete protection for your PC, there are certain tips I would like to share to help mitigate the risk of Neon infection. It is crucial to exercise caution when installing free software nowadays.
Always take the time to read what additional components the installers may offer alongside the main free program. Avoid opening suspicious email attachments and refrain from opening files sent by unknown senders. Furthermore, ensure that your security program is consistently updated.
Malware does not openly disclose its presence. It will not be listed among your installed programs. Instead, it remains disguised as a malicious process running discreetly in the background, starting from the moment you boot up your computer.
How To Remove Neon Virus?
In addition to encode a victim’s files, the Neon infection has also started to install the Vidar Stealer on system to steal account credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, desktop files, and more.3
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft4
There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft5.
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 system.
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 complete.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your PC for Neon 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 completed, 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.
Trojan Killer for special instances
In some certain instances, Neon ransomware can block the running of setup files of different anti-malware programs. In this situation, you need to utilize the removable drive with a pre-installed antivirus tool.
There are very few security tools available that can be installed on USB drives, and most antivirus software that offers this feature often requires an expensive license. In this case, I can suggest using an alternative solution called Trojan Killer Portable by GridinSoft. It offers a 14-day free trial mode that provides all the features of the paid version. This trial period should be sufficient to completely eliminate malware from your system. You can find a review of Trojan Killer at https://howtofix.guide/trojan-killer/.
How To Decrypt .neon Files?
Restore solution for big “.neon files“
Try removing .neon extension on a few BIG files and opening them. Either the Neon virus read and did not encrypt the file, or it bugged and did not add the filemarker. If your files are very large (2GB+), the latter is most likely. Please, let me know in comments if that will work for you.
As a result of the changes made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer supported. It has been removed and replaced with the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu Ransomware developed by Emsisoft.
You can download free decryption tool here: Decryptor for STOP Djvu.
Download and run decryption tool.
Start downloading the decryption tool.
Make sure to launch the decryption utility as an administrator. You need to agree with the license terms that will come up. For this purpose, click on the “Yes” button:
As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:
Select folders for decryption.
Based on the default settings, the decryptor will automatically populate the available locations in order to decrypt the currently available drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. Extra (optional) locations can be selected with the help of the “Add” button.
Decryptors normally suggest several options considering the specific malware family. The current possible options are presented in the Options tab and can be activated or deactivated there. You may locate a detailed list of the currently active Options below.
Click on the “Decrypt” button.
As soon as you add all the desired locations for decryption into the list, click on the “Decrypt” button in order to initiate the decryption procedure.
Note that the main screen may turn you to a status view, letting you know of the active process and the decryption statistics of your data:
The decryptor will notify you as soon as the decryption procedure is completed. If you need the report for your personal papers, you can save it by choosing the “Save log” button. Note that it is also possible to copy it directly to your clipboard and to paste it into emails or messages here if you need to do so.
The Emsisoft Decryptor might display different messages after a failed attempt to restore your neon files:
✓ Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [your ID]
✓ No key for New Variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
✓ Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
It can take a few weeks or months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. Please follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here.
✓ Remote name could not be resolved
How to Restore .neon Files?
In some case Neon ransomware is not doom for your files…
Neon ransomware encryption mechanism feature is next: it encrypts every file byte-by-byte, then saves a file copy, deleting (and not overriding!) the original file. Hence, the information on the file location on the physical disk is lost, but the original file is not deleted from the physical disk. The cell, or the sector where this file was stored, can still contain this file, but the file system does not list it and can be overwritten by data loaded to this disk after the deletion. Hence, it is possible to recover your files using special software.
Anyway, after realizing it was an online algorithm, it is impossible to retrieve my encrypted files. I also had my backup drive plugged in at the time of the virus, and this was also infected, or so I thought. Every folder within my backup drive had been infected and was encrypted. However, despite losing some important files, I retrieved almost 80% of my 2TB storage.
When I started going through the folders, I noticed the readme.txt ransom note in every folder. I opened some of the folders and found that all files that were not in a subfolder within that folder had been encrypted. However, I found a flaw and glimmer of hope when I went into the subfolders in other folders and found that these files had not been encrypted. Every folder within my c and d drives, including subfolders, had been encrypted, but this was not the case with the backup drive. Having subfolders created within a folder has saved 80% of my data.
As I said, I believe this to be only a small loophole on a backup drive. I’ve since found a further 10 % of my data on another hard drive on a different pc. So my advice is if you use a backup drive, create subfolders. I was lucky, I guess. But I was also unlucky that the virus hit as I was transferring some files from my backup.
Hopefully, this can help some other people in my situation.Jamie Newland
Recovering your files with PhotoRec
PhotoRec is an open-source program, which is originally created for files recovery from damaged disks, or for files recovery in case if they are deleted. However, as time has gone by, this program got the ability to recover the files of 400 different extensions. Hence, it can be used for data recovery after the ransomware attack
At first, you need to download this app. It is 100% free, but the developer states that there is no guarantee that your files will be recovered. PhotoRec is distributed in a pack with other utility of the same developer – TestDisk. The downloaded archive will have TestDisk name, but don’t worry. PhotoRec files are right inside.
To open PhotoRec, you need to find and open “qphotorec_win.exe” file. No installation is required – this program has all the files it need inside of the archive, hence, you can fit it on your USB drive, and try to help your friend/parents/anyone who was been attacked by DJVU/STOP ransomware.
After the launch, you will see the screen showing you the full list of your disk spaces. However, this information is likely useless, because the required menu is placed a bit higher. Click this bar, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.
After choosing the disk, you need to choose the destination folder for the recovered files. This menu is located at the lower part of the PhotoRec window. The best desicion is to export them on USB drive or any other type of removable disk.
Then, you need to specify the file formats. This option is located at the bottom, too. As it was mentioned, PhotoRec can recover the files of about 400 different formats.
Finally, you can start files recovery by pressing the “Search” button. You will see the screen where the results of the scan and recovery are shown.
Neon files recovery guide
Frequently Asked Questions
🤔 How can I open “.neon” files?
No way. These files are encrypted by ransomware. The contents of .neon files are not available until they are decrypted.
🤔 Neon files contain important information. How can I decrypt them urgently?
If your data remained in the .neon files are very valuable, then most likely you made a backup copy.
If not, then you can try to restore them through the system function – Restore Point.
All other methods will require patience.
🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove Neon. Does this mean that the program will delete my encrypted files?
Of course not. Your encrypted files do not pose a threat to the computer. What happened has already happened.
You need GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove active system infections. The virus that encrypted your files is most likely still active and periodically runs a test for the ability to encrypt even more files. Also, these viruses install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions (for example, theft of passwords, credit cards) often.
🤔 Neon virus has blocked infected PC: I can’t get the activation code.
In this situation, you need to prepare the memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer.
🤔 Decryptor did not decrypt all my files, or not all of them were decrypted. What should I do?
Have patience. You are infected with the new version of STOP/DJVU ransomware, and decryption keys have not yet been released. Follow the news on our website.
We will keep you posted on when new Neon keys or new decryption programs appear.
🤔 What can I do right now?
The Neon ransomware encrypts only the first 150KB of files. So MP3 files are rather large, some media players (Winamp for example) may be able to play the files, but – the first 3-5 seconds (the encrypted portion) will be missing.
You can try to find a copy of an original file that was encrypted:
- Files you downloaded from the Internet that were encrypted and you can download again to get the original.
- Pictures that you shared with family and friends that they can just send back to you.
- Photos that you uploaded on social media or cloud services like Carbonite, OneDrive, iDrive, Google Drive, etc)
- Attachments in emails you sent or received and saved.
- Files on an older computer, flash drive, external drive, camera memory card, or iPhone where you transferred data to the infected computer.
How to use GridinSoft Anti-Malware and Emsisoft Decryptor for fix ransomware infections.
If the guide doesn’t help you to remove Neon infection, please download the GridinSoft Anti-Malware that I recommended. Do not forget to share your experience in solving the problem. Please leave a comment here! This can help other victims to understand they are not alone. And together we will find ways to deal with this issue.
I need your help to share this article.
It is your turn to help other people. I have written this article to help users like you. You can use buttons below to share this on your favorite social media Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.Brendan Smith
NEON Virus Ransomware — How To Restore & Decrypt Files?
Name: NEON Virus
The NEON Virus belongs to the STOP/DJVU family of ransomware. It is a type of malicious software that encrypts various types of files on a victim's computer, including videos, photos, and documents. The encrypted files can be identified by the specific ".neon" extension added to their filenames. Once the encryption is complete, the files become inaccessible and unusable.
The NEON ransomware then displays a ransom note, usually in the form of a text file, demanding a payment in Bitcoin from the victims. The ransom amount typically ranges from $490 to $980, and the cybercriminals behind the ransomware provide instructions on how to make the payment in order to receive the decryption key.
It's important to note that paying the ransom does not guarantee that the decryption key will be provided or that the files will be restored. It is generally advised not to pay the ransom, as it encourages the activities of cybercriminals and there is no guarantee of a positive outcome. Instead, victims are recommended to explore alternative options for file recovery, such as utilizing backups or seeking assistance from cybersecurity professionals.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
User Review( votes)
- My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
- About DJVU (STOP) Ransomware.
- Windows passwords vulnerability (Mimikatz HackTool): https://howtofix.guide/mimikatz-hacktool/
- GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
- More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products