NER Virus (.NER Files) — How to Remove?

Written by Brendan Smith
The Ner virus falls within the Sojusz ransomware family. Malware of such sort encrypts all the data on your computer (photos, documents, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and adds its own extension to every file, creating the !!!HOW_TO_DECRYPT!!!.txt files in each directory which contains the encrypted files.
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What is Ner virus?

☝️ A scientifically correct denomination for the Ner would be “a Sojusz family ransomware malicious agent”.

The renaming will be executed by this pattern: [victimID].[contact_email].ner. After the encryption, a file entitled, for instance, “report.docx” will be altered to “report.docx.[c5e4c3a8c7].[thetan@nerdmail.co].ner”.

In every folder with the encrypted files, a !!!HOW_TO_DECRYPT!!!.txt file will appear. It is a ransom money note. It contains information about the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other remarks. The ransom note usually contains instructions on how to purchase the decryption tool from the Ner developers. You can get this decoding tool after contacting thetan@nerdmail.co by email. That is it.

Ner summary:
NameNer Virus
Ransomware family1Sojusz ransomware
Extension.ner
Ransomware note!!!HOW_TO_DECRYPT!!!.txt
Contactthetan@nerdmail.co
Detection2Ransom:Win32/TeslaCryptPacker!MTB, Trojan:Win32/VirLock.RPO!MTB, Ransom:Win32/Gandcrab.RPS!MTB
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) get a .ner extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Ner virus

The !!!HOW_TO_DECRYPT!!!.txt document coming in package with the Ner malware states the following:

All your valiable data has been encrypted!
 -
 Hello! Sorry, but we have inform you that your order has been blocked due to the issue of securities. Make sure your data is not blocked.
 All your valuable files were encrypted with strong encryption algorithms and renamed.
 Your unique encryption key is stored securely on our server and your data can be decrypted quickly and securely.
 -
 We can prove that we can decrypt all of your data. Please just send us 3 small encrypted files which are randomly stored on your server.
 We will decrypt these files and send them to you as a proof. Please note that files for free test decryption should not contain valuable information.
 -
 All of your confidential data was uploaded to our servers.
 If you will not start a dialogue with us in 72 hourswe will be forced to publish your files in the public domain. Your customers and partners will be informed about the data leak by email or phone.
 This way, your reputation will be ruined. If you will not react, we will be forced to sell the most important information such as databases to interested parties to generate some profit.
 -
 If you want to resolve this situation, please write to ALL of these 2 email addresses:
 * thetan@nerdmail.co
 * thetan@jitjat.org
 In subject line please write: |your MachineID: -
 ------------------------------|and LaunchID: -
 -
 Important!
 * We asking to send your message to ALL of our 2 email adresses because for various reasons, your email may not be delivered.
 * Our message may be recognized as spam, so be sure to check the spam folder.
 * If we do not respond to you within 24 hours, write to us from another email address. Use Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or any other well-known email service.
 * Please don\'t waste the time, it will result only additinal damage to your company!
 * Please do not try to decrypt the files yourself. We will not be able to help you if files will be modified.

In the picture below, you can see what a folder with files encrypted by the Ner looks like. Each filename has the “.ner” extension added to it.

Ner Virus - encrypted .ner files

An example of encrypted .ner files.

How did Ner ransomware end up on my PC?

There is a huge number of possible ways of ransomware injection.

There are currently three most exploited ways for evil-doers to have ransomware settled in your system. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer-to-peer file transfer.

If you open your mailbox and see emails that look like familiar notifications from utility services companies, postal agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose addresser is strange to you, beware of opening those emails. They are most likely to have a harmful item attached to them. Thus it is even more dangerous to download any attachments that come with letters like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan virus scheme3. A Trojan is a program that infiltrates into your machine pretending to be something different. Imagine, you download an installer of some program you want or an update for some service. However, what is unpacked reveals itself a harmful agent that encrypts your data. As the update wizard can have any title and any icon, you have to make sure that you can trust the resource of the things you’re downloading. The best thing is to trust the software developers’ official websites.

As for the peer file transfer protocols like torrents or eMule, the threat is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Web. You can never guess what you download until you get it. So you’d better be using trustworthy resources. Also, it is reasonable to scan the directory containing the downloaded files with the antivirus as soon as the downloading is finished.

How do I get rid of the Ner virus?

It is crucial to inform you that besides encrypting your data, the Ner virus will most likely deploy the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned spyware4 can extract your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.

Sometimes criminals would unblock few of your files so you know that they do have the decryption program. Since Ner virus is a relatively recent ransomware, security software engineers have not yet found a way to undo its work. Nevertheless, the decoding tools are constantly upgraded, so the effective countermeasure may soon arrive.

Sure thing, if the tamperers succeed in encrypting someone’s critical data, the desperate person will most likely fulfill their demands. Despite that, paying to criminals does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your data back. It is still dangerous. After obtaining the money, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption code to the victim. There were reports about racketeers just vanishing after getting the ransom without even writing back.

The best countermeasure to ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud disk or at least on an external disk. Obviously, that might be insufficient. Your most crucial thing could be that file you were working on when it all went down. But at least it is something. It is also advisable to scan your PC for viruses with the anti-malware utility after the system restoration.

There are other ransomware products, besides Ner, that work similarly. For instance, Bbyy, Bbzz, Bnrs, and some others. The two basic differences between them and the Ner are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: documents become inaccessible, their extensions changed, ransom notes appear in every folder containing encoded files.

Some fortunate victims were able to decode the arrested files with the help of the free tools provided by anti-malware specialists. Sometimes the hackers mistakenly send the decoding key to the victims in the ransom readme. Such an extraordinary fail allows the victim to restore the files. But of course, one should never expect such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a criminals’ technology to pull the money out of their victims.

How do I avoid ransomware attack?

Ner ransomware has no endless power, so as any similar malware.

You can defend your system from its injection within several easy steps:

  • Never open any letters from unknown senders with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are expecting (can you win in a lottery without participating in it?). If the email subject is more or less something you are waiting for, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious email with caution. A fake letter will always have a mistake.
  • Avoid using cracked or unknown programs. Trojans are often distributed as a part of cracked software, most likely under the guise of “patch” which prevents the license check. But dubious programs are very hard to distinguish from trustworthy ones, as trojans sometimes have the functionality you need. 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, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a perfect defense for your system.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft5

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft6.

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.

Run Setup.exe

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.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Setup

Press “Install” button.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Install

Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Splash-Screen

Wait for the Anti-Malware scan to complete.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your computer for Ner 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.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scanning

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.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

Frequently Asked Questions

🤔 Are the “.ner” files accessible?

Unfortunately, no. You need to decipher the “.ner” files first. Then you will be able to open them.

🤔 What should I do to make my files accessible as fast as possible?

Hopefully, you have made a copy of those important files. Otherwise, you might try to employ System Restore. The only question is whether you have saved any Restore Points that would be helpful now. There are other ways to beat ransomware, but they take time.

🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to get rid of the Ner virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?

No way! Unlike the ransomware program itself, the encrypted files do not jeopardize your system.

With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your PC off the actual viruses. The malware that has attacked your device is probably still functional and it scans your system from time to time to encode any new files you might create on your PC after the initial attack. As it has been mentioned above, the Ner malware does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide malefactors with easy access to your PC after some time.

🤔 What actions should I take if the Ner virus has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation key.

If that happened, you need to prepare a flash memory drive with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to perform the procedure. You see, the ransomware starts automatically as the system boots and encrypts any new files created or brought into your machine. To block this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital applications to run upon system start. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.

🤔 What can I do right now?

Some of the encrypted data can be found elsewhere.

  • If you sent or received your critical files by email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
  • You may have shared photographs or videos with your friends or relatives. Simply ask them to give those images back to you.
  • If you have initially got any of your files from the Web, you can try to do it again.
  • Your messengers, social networks pages, and cloud drives might have all those files as well.
  • Maybe you still have the needed files on your old PC, a notebook, phone, flash memory, etc.

USEFUL TIP: You can use file recovery programs7 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware arrests the copies of your files, deleting the original ones. In the video below, you can learn how to use PhotoRec for such a restoration, but be advised: you won’t be able to do it before you kill the virus with an anti-malware program.

Also, you can contact the following official fraud and scam sites to report this attack:

To report the attack, you can contact local executive boards. For instance, if you live in USA, you can have a talk with FBI Local field office, IC3 or Secret Service.

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Brendan Smith
How to Remove NER Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: NER Virus

Description: NER Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .ner extension. So, you can't use them at all.

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
  2. Encyclopedia of threats.
  3. You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
  4. You can read more on spyware variants and nature in the respective section of GridinSoft official website.
  5. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  6. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
  7. Here are the best 10 file recovery tools of 2021.

About the author

Brendan Smith

Journalist, researcher, web content developer, grant proposal editor. Efficient and proficient on multiple platforms and in diverse media. Computer technology and security are my specialties.

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