Horros ransomware (Virus Removal Guide) - Decryption Methods Included

Horros virus Removal Guide

What is Horros ransomware?

Horros ransomware is a decryptable virus based on HiddenTear malware

Horros ransomware

Horros ransomware is a crypto-virus recently discovered by a security researcher Leo.[1] The ransomware was first noticed in early April 2018 as it started locking up various files using .horros extension using the AES-256 cipher.

Name Horros ransomware
Type Crypto-virus
Cipher used AES-256
Extension .horros
First noticed on 4th of April 2018
Distribution Spam emails, malicious sites, etc.
Elimination Download and install FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

The primary goal of this cyber threat is to extort money out of users by making them pay ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency in return for the file decryptor. Luckily, as the virus is based on HiddenTear ransomware, it is fully decryptable. Before decrypting files, users are advised to thoroughly remove Horros virus from their machine using such security tool like FortectIntego or Malwarebytes.

The malicious file that distributes the payload is called FileEncrypter.exe. It was developed using Visual Studio 2017 and does not drop ransom note, as typical to similar file-encrypting viruses do. Therefore, it is highly likely that Horros ransomware is not fully developed yet. However, it does not mean that different variants will not show up in the future.

As soon as the virus enters the machine (typically via malicious file attachment from spam email or through the RDP unprotected configuration) it changes a variety of configuration settings, including registry entries, inside Windows machines. It allows cyber threat to load up with every boot up of the PC. Afterward, the virus starts the encryption procedure.

Horros malware can encrypt a variety of files, including dd, .dd, .db, .docx, .dot, .dotm, .dotx, .dwg, .dxf, .eps, .fla, .gif, .ico, .indd, .jar, .java, .jpeg, .jpg, .js,..mdb, .mdb, .swf, .tif, .txt, .vcf, .wpd, .wps, .xlm, .xls, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xlt, .xltm, .xltx, .xml, .zip. Meaning that all your video, audio, text files and other personal files become unusable. For example, if your file was called picture.jpg, after encryption it turns into picture.jpg.horros.

As we already mentioned, the virus does not drop ransom note. Therefore it is unclear how much money cybercriminals want. Nevertheless, we advise users never to contact cybercriminals. These shady people only care about extorting money out of innocent victims. Thus, nothing is stopping them from ignoring you after the ransom is paid.

Instead, we suggest you firstly proceed with Horros ransomware removal procedure using powerful security software. Soon after that you can try HiddenTear decryptor, restore files from a backup or use alternative third-party programs that could help you with file recovery.

Horros ransomware malwareHorros ransomware is a file-encrypting virus that demands payment for decryptor key

Malware is distributed via malicious email attachments

Security researchers[2] note that users are typically quite careless when it comes to cyber safety. Therefore, they casually open emails from unknown sources and visit shady websites, even when acknowledging risks.

Therefore, be extremely careful when opening emails. Your email provider has a built-in security scanner that flags up suspicious emails. Never ignore these warnings and delete the message immediately. Another warning sign is when an attachment requires you to enable Macro[3] function. Do not allow it as the probability that it is dangerous malware is very high.

Regardless of how tempting free cracked software on the internet might be, keep in mind that it not only poses malware threat but is highly illegal and can result in fines or even lawsuits. Therefore, pick a legitimate source for your downloads and avoid torrent, porn, file-sharing and other suspicious sites.

Elimination steps of Horros ransomware

We do not advise trying to remove Horros ransomware manually. The virus is extremely complicated and embedded deep within system files. Thus, you should trust robust security software, such as FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. Currently, 27 out of 66 AV engines detect the file. Alternatively, you can use the security tool already installed on your PC, just don’t forget that it has to be up to date.

Horros virus removal is a crucial step in a full recovery of your normal system operation. Don’t forget that the virus might block a normal startup of the security program. Thus, restart your PC in Safe Mode with Networking as it is described below.

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 Horros virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Disable the virus using Safe Mode with Networking:

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 Horros using System Restore

You can also eliminate Horros ransomware using System Restore:

  • 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 Horros. 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 Horros removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Horros from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

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

Data Recovery Pro can might help you with file recovery

Data Recovery Pro was originally designed as a program that helps users to recover corrupted or accidentally deleted files. However, in some cases, Data Recovery Pro can restore files damaged by ransomware, so try it out.

  • 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 Horros ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Previous Windows Versions is an option as well

Previous Windows Versions can help you to recover separate files:

  • 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”.

Download and install ShadowExplorer

You can download ShadowExplorer and check if Horros virus did not delete Shadow Volume Copies. If that is the case, you will be able to fully restore all your files using this program.

  • Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
  • 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.

Try HiddenTear decryptor

HiddenTear decryptor might help you to fully restore all your data. Download it from here or here.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.


Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 


About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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