Gotcha ransomware (Virus Removal Instructions) - Free Guide

Gotcha virus Removal Guide

What is Gotcha ransomware?

Gotcha ransomware is the cryptovirus that encrypts files using AES-256 and RSA-2048 algorithms and marks files with .gotcha appendix

Gotcha ransomwareGotcha ransomware virus is the threat that demands ransom after encryption in the ransom note file named !GOTCHA!.txt.

Gotcha ransomware is the cyber threat that requires ransom in Bitcoin because the main goal of the developers is to gain profit from victims. Criminals who develop such malware demand for cryptocurrency payment after victims' files get locked and encoded. The ransom demand appears in the note file named !GOTCHA!.txt that gets placed in every folder with affected data. Often threats like this target huge companies besides everyday users and, in most cases, focus on English-speaking users what allows spreading the virus all over the world.[1]

Although the primary purpose of Gotcha ransomware virus is to make users documents, photos or archives useless this threat also changes various parts of the system files or adds new programs, files, registry entries. This additional activity allows the virus to keep running on the system and disable some security functions or even AV programs. For this reason, we recommend entering the Safe Mode and scanning the machine with reputable anti-malware tools to get rid of all associated files and secretly installed malicious programs.

Name Gotcha ransomware
Type Cryptovirus[2]
Ransom note !GOTCHA!.txt
Encryption method AES256 and RSA2048
File extension .gotcha
Distribution Spam email attachments infected with malicious macros[3]
Main danger Makes files useless, demands a ransom. Files can get damaged or deleted permanently
Elimination tips For the proper Gotcha ransomware removal, you should get a reputable anti-malware program and scan the machine fully. Use FortectIntego for virus damage and Windows optimization

Since Gotcha ransomware is one of the most serious and harmful cyber threats, you shouldn't even consider paying the ransom, no matter how small it appears or how important your files are. Contacting these criminals can lead to more severe damage to your system or permanent data, money loss.

Gotcha ransomware virus developers haven't stated much about themselves or the encryption process besides the details about encryption method in the ransom note file. Based on that information your data gets encoded using both RSA and AES algorithms. The ransom note also includes the unique ID that is generated for each victim.

Gotcha ransomware ransom note is placed in !GOTCHA!.txt file and reads the following:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!! IMPORTANT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We gotcha files encrypted using encryption AES256-bit and RSA2048-bit. It is impossible to use private key. If you are interested in getting your files, contact immidiately!
Send your email to:
[redacted 16 uppercase AZ]
– Team GOTCHA!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!= IMPORTANT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gotcha ransomware affects files found on the infected device and, in most cases, focuses on photos, documents, videos or archives for this encryption process. Unfortunately, your data cannot be easily recovered from the encoding. For that, you need either the tool that virus developers offer or the official decryptor that often can be developed by malware researchers.

Gotcha ransomware virusGotcha ransomware is the cryptovirus that makes files useless by changing the original code.

However, trusting Gotcha ransomware developers is not recommended. Experts[4], in most cases, advise removing the virus first and then restoring files from data backups stored on external devices or cloud services. But many users need alternate methods for this process so we have a few suggestions for data recovery software down below.

Remove Gotcha ransomware using professional anti-malware tools and then clean possible virus damage with FortectIntego which can improve the performance of your Windows device. Then, you can be sure that the PC is malware-free and your recovered files cannot get encrypted again.

Automatic Gotcha ransomware removal is the best choice because all executables, payloads and additional programs get deleted this way. When ransomware is not properly terminated other files can get encrypted and this way you lose your data permanently.

Beware of the infected MS documents on the email

Ransomware remains the most harmful threat in the cyber world, and it is a virus that spreads using various deceptive techniques that involve spam email campaigns or even security vulnerabilities. Protecting a computer, employing reputable security tools can be crucial when it comes to ransomware infiltration. In most cases, AV tools block deceptive sites, malicious domains or even infected files before opening or visiting them. However, the tool should be running on the machine all the time to protect the device from cyber threats.

When not protected, the system can easily get ransomware or other malware infection from one users' click. Spam email campaigns include various file attachments on the emails. When you open MS word or excel file, a PDF or executable malicious payload can get loaded directly on the machine.

Often those files include content enabling link, and malicious macros get triggered this way when you open the file, download it on the computer and allow the additional content. Clean the email box more often if you want to avoid this cyber threat or even more severe malware infection. At least pay closer attention to received emails and avoid downloading random files from the notification.

Get rid of Gotcha ransomware and make your device clean and working properly again

Gotcha ransomware virus is the threat that requires more help for the termination processes. It is a persistent threat and can affect more crucial parts like system files or even security programs. Based on this information and common cryptovirus symptoms we have a few additional tips for the process.

You should focus on the complete Gotcha ransomware removal and then worry about your files because cryptovirus that is not terminated correctly can get your data encrypted again or even damage those files permanently. So double check if needed or use a few different tools to make sure.

Remove Gotcha ransomware with anti-malware tool like FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, or Malwarebytes and clean the system fully. You should benefit from Safe Mode or System Restore feature, so check our tips below too.

do it now!
Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, try running SpyHunter 5.
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 Gotcha virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Since Gotcha ransomware removal might get difficult due to additional changes on the system, enter the Safe Mode with Networking for additional help when cleaning the machine with AV tool:

Important! →
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.

Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking

Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment. 

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

Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes

Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.

Step 4. Delete virus files

Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):


After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove Gotcha using System Restore

Try System Restore for the virus termination. This is the Windows feature that allows recovering the computer in the previous state

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of Gotcha. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with FortectIntego and make sure that Gotcha removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Gotcha from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by security experts.

If your files are encrypted by Gotcha, you can use several methods to restore them:

A great alternative for file backups – Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro can be used for encrypted files or accidentally deleted data

  • Download Data Recovery Pro;
  • Follow the steps of Data Recovery Setup and install the program on your computer;
  • Launch it and scan your computer for files encrypted by Gotcha ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature helps in data recovery when Gotcha ransomware encrypts important files

However, this method for file recovery can only work when System Restore gets enabled before that

  • Find an encrypted file you need to restore and right-click on it;
  • Select “Properties” and go to “Previous versions” tab;
  • Here, check each of available copies of the file in “Folder versions”. You should select the version you want to recover and click “Restore”.

ShadowExplorer restores encrypted or damaged files

When Gotcha ransomware is not affecting Shadow Volume Copies, ShadowExplorer can get used

  • Download Shadow Explorer (;
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
  • Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.

Decryption tool is not developed yet

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Gotcha and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

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