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Horsia ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware

Horsia ransomware – a new strain of the infamous Scarab ransomware virus

Horsia Ransomware

Horsia ransomware is a file-encrypting malware[1] that belongs to the group of Scarab. It renders AES cryptography and appends a .horsia@airmail.cc file extension to targeted data. The attacked PC users are provided with a HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT file, which contains contact information and payment instructions. Criminals urge victims to email them asap via horsia@airmail.cc or saviour@airmail.cc addresses and transfer an indicated sum of money in Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Name Horsia
Type of malware Ransomware
Contact information horsia@airmail.cc or saviour@airmail.cc
File extension appended .horsia@airmail.cc
Ransom note HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT
Distribution Necurs botnet, malicious spam email attachments, fake software installers, etc. 
Elimination Download Reimage and run a full system scan to eliminate all ransomware components.

Most of the Scarab ransomware versions, including Scarab-Amnesia, and Scarab-Crypto, Scarab-Please, Scarab-Decrypts, and others are disseminated on the Internet via Necurs botnet,[2] 7Zip files attached to spam email messages, fake Java, Adobe Flash Player updates, hacked RPD, and other misleading ways. Horsia ransomware is not an exception. Its developers can try to distribute it using one or several methods. Therefore, protect yourself by installing a professional anti-malware program and keeping the OS up-to-date.

For the ransomware to get inside, PC's owner's interference is needed. In other words, the user has to run Horsia ransomware virus payload, which may be named as horsia.exe or another randomly named .exe file.

Once activated, the ransomware runs malicious scripts to install itself to the system and then runs through system's files to detect compatible file extensions. Based on the data collected about Scarab, Horsia virus is expected to lock most of the file types with the .horsia@airmail.cc file extension. Subsequently, the icons of the encrypted files are greyed featuring no file-presenting image.

The ransomware generates the ransom note called HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT by default. Typically, it can be found on the desktop, but crooks often inject it in each system's folder to make sure that the victim sees it. The ransom note contains the following information:

=======================================
________________________________
/ __/ / / __ / / __ / / __/ / __/ / __ /
/ __ / / /_/ / / _/ /__ / _/ /_ / __ /
\/ __/ \___/ \/\__\ \___/ \___/ \/ __/
=======================================
Your files are now encrypted!
Your personal identifier:
6A02000000000000***C4BFD00
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC.
Now you should send us an email with your personal identifier.
This email will be as confirmation you are ready to pay for a decryption key.
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us.
After payment, we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Contact us using this email address: horsia@airmail.cc
If you don't get a reply or if the email dies, then contact us to saviours@airmail.cc
Free decryption as a guarantee!
Before paying you can send us up to 3 files for free decryption.
The total size of files must be less than 10Mb (non-archived), and files should not contain valuable information (databases, backups, large excel sheets, etc.).

How to obtain Bitcoins?
* The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click 'Buy bitcoins,' and select the seller by payment method and price:
https://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
* Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins

Attention!
* Do not rename encrypted files.
* Do not try to decrypt your data using third-party software; it may cause permanent data loss.
* Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our), or you can become a victim of a scam.
=======================================

Although crooks try to prove to be credible, do not fall for the trick. They claim to decrypt three files encrypted by Horsia ransomware virus for free. These files should not exceed 10Mb and should not be archived. We believe that they will send those three files for you. However, there's still no guarantee that paying the ransom will save the rest of your files.

To protect yourself from both file and money loss, we strongly recommend you to remove Horsia from the system right after the attack. You can do that with the help pf Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes or another reputable anti-virus program.

Upon Horsia removal, try to retrieve your files using alternative methods. First of all, we would strongly recommend you to contact Doctor Web[3] via emte@adc-soft.com. In April 2018, the company officially announced being able to decrypt some of the Scarab ransomware versions. For this purpose, the owner of the compromised PC should send a ransom note and 3-4 encrypted files.

In case Horsia decryptor suggested by Doctor Web did not work, you still have many possibilities to get your files back. For more information, refer to the data decryption section at the end of this post.

Developers rely on spam in particular

Just like the original version, this ransomware relies on spam (7Zip and similar attachments), fake Java and Adobe Flash installers, unprotected remote desktop services, and other stealthy malware distribution strategies.

The most successful campaign to deliver the malicious file to potential victims is spam. Crooks present the infected email attachments directly into people's inboxes and resent them in a tricky manner impersonating authorities or well-known companies.

Typically, crypto-malware developers do not confine their programs to one distribution mean. Thus, cybersecurity experts[4] recommend people to mind online security tips to keep yourself safe. First of all, do not take every email for granted. Second of all, bypass doubtful pop-up ads and avoid installing software and updates from unconfirmed sources.

Get rid of Horsia ransomware

The only one possibility to initiate Horsia removal – run a full system scan with a reputable anti-virus. Before the scan, don't forget to update your anti-virus to the latest version available. Besides, restart your PC into Safe Mode with Networking.

Upon successful removal, follow data recovery instructions that are given down below. You can use third-party data recovery tools, exploit Volume Shadow Copies or Previous Windows versions.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Horsia virus, follow these steps:

Remove Horsia using Safe Mode with Networking

As we have already pointed out, ransomware can block anti-virus scanner. To prevent this from happening, restart your PC into Safe Mode with Networking.

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    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 Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    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 Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove Horsia

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete Horsia removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove Horsia 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 Horsia. 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 Reimage and make sure that Horsia removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Horsia 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 Horsia, you can use several methods to restore them:

Data Recovery Pro

One of the possibilities to retrieve the data encrypted by Horsia ransomware is to scan the system with Data Recovery Pro. If possible, it will present you will the whole list of files that can be decrypted. 

  • 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 Horsia ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use Previous Windows version feature

Individual files can be recovered using the previous Windows versions. To try this out, please follow these steps:

  • 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”.

Exploit Volume Shadow Copies

ShadowExplorer is a tool capable of detecting Volume Shadow Copies. 

  • 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.

Contact Doctor Web

Doctor Web claims being able to recover files (at least some of them) encrypted by Scarab ransomware. In case you opt for trying this method, email Doctor Web on emte@adc-soft.com and send the support the ransom note and 3-4 encrypted files.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Horsia and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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References