Severity scale:  
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Horsuke ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Ransomware

Horsuke – a new version of Scarab ransomware infection

Horuske ransomware changes background

Horsuke (also known as Scarab-Horsia) is a ransomware[1] type virus is designed to infiltrate the system, encrypt files and force people into paying for the decryption. The virus is a new version of Scarab and uses “.horsuke@nuke.africa” extension for encrypted data. Once compromised files instantly becomes unusable.

Summary
Name Horsuke
Type Ransomware
Family Scarab
Release date May 2018
File extension .horsuke@nuke.africa
Ransom note  HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT
Symptoms Inability to open files due to a suspicious extension, unknown processes running on the system, an appearance of new files or programs, general sluggishness of the computer
Distribution Malicious spam emails, bogus downloads or updates
Decryption Impossible without backups
To uninstall Horsuke, install Reimage and run a full system scan

After the virus has encrypted the files, Horsuke creates a text file “HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT.” This file is spread in copies all over the computer and virus often changes users' desktop picture for the ransom message.

The generated text file contains message informing users that the system is infected and files are now encrypted “due to a security problem with our PC.” Horsuke virus developers encourage to contact them if a victim wants to purchase decryption key. Preferred payment method is bitcoin and developers in the file has provided information on how to get this currency and where.

Unfortunately, the information on the file about needing to pay for decryption of data is true. In order to restore these data developers need to generate individual and unique keys for each of the victim.

The biggest problem is that malicious cyber criminals control those keys, and victims are forced to pay a ransom in order to get them. The specific price of file decryption key is not specified in the message, but it is stated that the amount of bitcoin needed depends on how fast victim contacts the developers. But there is a typical $500-1500 amount of any cryptocurrency, ransomware developers ask for.

Developers of crypto-malware detail allow the victim to send three files for free decryption, even before paying them. Although, Horsuke ransomware stated that those files must be less than 10 MB and not archived. There are other specific details about the information these files can or can not contain.

Developers could possibly restore those files you sent, but any cybercriminals should not be trusted. These persons could ignore victims after payment. So, files remain encrypted and Horsuke removal is still needed.

For this reason, we recommend not to trust any people like these and instead remove Horsuke from the computer. You can get rid of it by purchasing certified tools for malware removal like Reimage.

Five ways malicious ransomware spreads

There are various ways for malware to spread around the system. However, there are five most common:

  • trojans – a virus that creates an entrance for other malicious users' access to your system;
  • fake tools for software updates;
  • spam emails containing infected attachments;[2]
  • peer-to-peer networking;
  • unofficial software sources.

The key to computer safety is caution, so these infections happen because of reckless users’ behavior and lack of knowledge. If you want to prevent ransomware infections you need to be very careful while browsing the internet. Always keep installed applications updated in time and do not believe every updater ad. Always choose certified and knowledgeable software providers. Horsuke virus can come from fake websites promoting freeware.

Security specialists from senzavirus.it[3] also suggest creating backups of the most important files. In case of the ransomware attack, you won't even consider paying the ransom for the possibility to retrieve your files.

Horsuke removal requires extreme caution and professional knowledge

In order to remove Horsuke, you need to obtain a reputable malware removal tools like Reimage, Malwarebytes or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareNorton Internet Security. Please, do not try to eliminate ransomware-related components manually. This may lead to irreparable damage to the system.

Ransomware might install numerous files and programs or affect legitimate system processes. So, fixing the damage is a complicated job. For this reason, it's better to dedicate Horsuke removal for a reputable security program.

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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.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

If you decided to select another anti-spyware, uninstall Reimage from your computer.
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Alternate Software
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Alternate Software
Malwarebytes

To remove Horsuke virus, follow these steps:

Remove Horsuke using Safe Mode with Networking

Follow these steps if you cannot run automatic Horsuke removal:

  • 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 Horsuke

    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 Horsuke removal.

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

Remove Horsuke 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 Horsuke. 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 Horsuke removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Try to restore files encrypted by Horsuke using Data Recovery Pro

This program might help to get back access to some of the encrypted files.

  • 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 Horsuke ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use Windows Previous Versions feature

This method allows recovering individual files if System Restore was enabled before ransomware attack.

  • 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”.

Take advantage of Shadow Explorer

If ransomware failed to delete Shadow Volume Copies of the targeted files, you should try this tool:

  • 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.

The official Horsuke decryptor is not available yet

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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References