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How to Remove HORSELIKER Virus (.HORSELIKER Files)

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The article presents detailed information about HORSELIKER virus as well as a step-by-step guide on how to remove malicious files from the infected system and how to potentially recover encrypted files.

HORSELIKER virus is a severe crypto infection. The activation of HORSELIKER on your computer leads to system and data corruption. Primarily, the threat is designed to locate certain types of personal files and encodes them by utilizing strong cipher like AES and RSA. To make encrypted files more recognizable, HORSELIKER virus appends the extension .HORSELIKER to their names. Finally, the ransomware drops a ransom message file on the infected system to extort a ransom fee for .HORSELIKER files decryption. You can find a copy of the content of this file downward.

Threat Summary

Name HORSELIKER
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description A malware that is designed to encrypt valuable files stored on infected computers and then extort a ransom from victims.
Symptoms Important files are encrypted and renamed with the extension .HORSELIKER
A ransom message forces victims to contact hackers in order to receive instructions on how to pay a ransom fee probably in cryptocurrency.
Distribution Method Spam Emails; Email Attachments; Corrupted Websites; Software Installers
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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss HORSELIKER.
Data Recovery Tool Windows Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix Notice! This product scans your drive sectors to recover lost files and it may not recover 100% of the encrypted files, but only few of them, depending on the situation and whether or not you have reformatted your drive.

HORSELIKER Ransomware — October 2019 Update

In October 2019 a new release of the HORSELIKER ransomware has been identified in an ongoing campaign. According to the available security reports this is probably the work of another criminal collective as a new contact email email and ransomware note design is being used. The analysis of the captured samples shows that some of the infections happen through malware-infected files which are sent to the intended recipients. They can be both executables, application installers or macro-infected documents.

Some of the infected files that have been confirmed to carry the malware bear the following file name AntiRecuvaAndDB.ex_ which is a double extension file which is in fact an EXE. When the users click on it they will start the proper virus deployment sequence. This includes some of the following modules:

  • Command Execution — The criminals can embed commands that will be run using the command prompt or the PowerShell environment on the infected computer.
  • Security Applications Bypass — The malware will search the system for any installed security applications and services. If such are found they will be disabled. This includes firewalls, anti-virus software, virtual machine hosts and other applications which might interfere with the proper HORSELIKER ransomware installation.
  • Data Harvesting — Advanced forms of the virus may also be used to hijack sensitive information that may reveal additional information about the identity of the victims and/or their machine. This can be done in order to generate an unique ID for each host.

Some of the HORSELIKER ransomware can be used to deploy additional malware on the infected computer.

HORSELIKER Ransomware – More About the Infection

HORSELIKER virus is a data locker ransomware that has been detected in active attack campaigns. The attack campaigns that are spreading HORSELIKER ransomware are liely to be realized with the help of spam emails, email attachments, hacked web pages, and corrupted freeware installers.

The attack begins when the HORSELIKER virus is executed on your system. Threats of this kind are usually designed to perform lots of complex malicious activities that seriously disrupt system security and eventually lead to encryption of personal files.

For the encryption of target files HORSELIKER virus launches a built-in cipher module that scans selected folders for predefined types of files that are known to be used for the storage of valuable personal data. Every time the module detects a target file, it applies changes that transform its original code. Like other data locker ransomware ([wplinkpreview url=”https://sensorstechforum.com/remove-hese-virus/”] STOP Hese, [wplinkpreview url=”https://sensorstechforum.com/pdf-file-virus-dharma-remove/”] Dharma .pdf, etc.) HORSELIKER is likely to utilize sophisticated cipher algorithms (AES and RSA) to transform files’ code.

Unfortunately, the threat is likely to corrupt all of the following files:

  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Document files
  • Image files
  • Backup files
  • Banking credentials, etc

Following encryption, corrupted files cannot be opened. In addition, they have the extension .HORSELIKER appended to their names. In fact, the main goal of this ransomware is to blackmail you into paying a ransom to hackers. That’s why HORSELIKER drops a ransom message with instructions on how to complete the ransom payment process.

Here is a copy of HORSELIKER virus’ ransom message:

Want return your files?Write to our xmpp account – horsesecret@xmpp. jp
The easiesy way – register here https://www.xmpp.jp/signup
After download pidgin client https://pidgin.im/
Press Add account, choose protocol xmpp and put username from xmpp.jp where are you sign up
Domain – xmpp.jp
Put your passowd and press add
When you log in press Buddies –> Add Buddy–>and in Buddys username put beautydonkey xmpp.
After you will see added account beautydonkey@xmpp.jp, click twice on it an write your mess
You can send us 1-3 test files. The total size of files must be less than 10Mb (non archive) we will decrypt them and send to you that we are real

HORSELIKER-ransomware-extortion-message-sensorstechforum-removal-guide

You should NOT under any circumstances contact cybercriminals or pay any ransom sum to them. This action does not guarantee the recovery of your .HORSELIKER files.

How to Remove HORSELIKER Virus

The so-called HORSELIKER ransomware is a threat with a highly complex code that disrupts system security in order to encrypt personal files. Hence the infected system could be used in a secure manner again only after the complete removal of all malicious files and objects created by HORSELIKER ransomware. That’s why it is recommendable that all steps presented in the HORSELIKER virus removal guide below should be completed. Beware that the manual ransomware removal is suitable for more experienced computer users. If you don’t feel comfortable with the manual steps navigate to the automatic part of the guide.

How to Recover .HORSELIKER Files

There are several alternative methods that may be efficient for the recovery of .HORSELIKER files, but note that there is no guarantee they would work. You could find them listed under Step 5 from our HORSELIKER ransomware removal guide. Beware that you should make copies of all encrypted files and save them on a flash drive for example. This additional step will prevent the permanent loss of encrypted .HORSELIKER files.

Ransomware Removal Instructions

Gergana Ivanova

Highly motivated writer with 5+ years of experience writing for ransomware, malware, adware, PUPs, and other cybersecurity-related issues. As a writer, I strive to create content that is based on thorough technical research. I find joy in the process of creating articles that are easy to understand, informative, and useful. Follow me on Twitter (@IRGergana) for the latest in the field of computer, mobile, and online security.

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OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy

Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove HORSELIKER

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows Key + R.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 1


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 2


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
remove ransomware in safe mode step 3
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 4


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 5


Step 2: Uninstall HORSELIKER and related malware from Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.
delete ransomware from windows step 1


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
delete ransomware from windows step 2


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
delete ransomware from windows step 3Follow the instructions above and you will successfully delete most unwanted and malicious programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by HORSELIKER on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by HORSELIKER there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
delete ransomware virus registries step 1


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
delete ransomware virus registries step 2


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
delete ransomware virus registries step 3 Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for HORSELIKER with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 2


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 3


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 4

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Ransomware Automatic Removal - Video Guide

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by HORSELIKER.

Ransomware infections and HORSELIKER aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the recommended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on the top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


HORSELIKER FAQ

    

What is HORSELIKER Ransomware?

HORSELIKER is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files. 

Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithms to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.

Can HORSELIKER Ransomware Damage My Computer?

Yes, ransomware can damage your computer. Ransomware is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid. It can encrypt your files and make them inaccessible, preventing you from using your computer or accessing your data. Ransomware can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.

Should I Ignore Ransomware, like HORSELIKER?

No, you should never ignore ransomware. Ransomware can encrypt your data and block access to your computer, making it impossible to access your files until you pay a ransom. Ignoring ransomware could lead to the permanent loss of your data, as well as the potential for the ransomware to spread to other computers on your network. Additionally, paying the ransom does not guarantee that your data will be recovered. The best way to protect yourself is to invest in robust cyber security measures, such as backup solutions and anti-malware software.

How Does HORSELIKER Ransomware Infect My Computer?

Via several ways.HORSELIKER Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, containing virus attachment

This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users. 

After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.

Another way you may become a victim of HORSELIKER is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.

How to Open .HORSELIKER files?

You can't. At this point, the .HORSELIKER files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.

         

What to Do If Ransomware Decryptor Does Not Work?

Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .HORSELIKER files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by HORSELIKER ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, be advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.

Can I Restore ".HORSELIKER" Files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .HORSELIKER files. 

These methods are in no way 100% guaranteed that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.

How Do I Get Rid of HORSELIKER Ransomware Virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program. It will scan for and locate HORSELIKER ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .HORSELIKER files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like HORSELIKER ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.

What to Do If I Cannot Recover Ransomware Encrypted Files?

There is still a lot you can do. If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:

-Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
 
-Try to contact your friends, relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.

-Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re-downloaded from the web.

-Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.

-You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.

More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.

 

How to Report Ransomware to Authorities?

In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer. Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:

Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:

Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei

United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre

United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police

France - Ministère de l'Intérieur

Italy - Polizia Di Stato

Spain - Policía Nacional

Netherlands - Politie

Poland - Policja

Portugal - Polícia Judiciária

Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)

India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell

Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center

Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.

Can You Prevent HORSELIKER Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?

Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files. In addition, it is also important to keep your passwords secure and to avoid visiting websites or downloading applications from untrusted sources. Finally, ensure you have adequate backup and recovery procedures in place to restore your system to its pre-attack state, should a ransomware attack occur.

Can HORSELIKER Ransomware Steal Your Data?

Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it. In many cases, the malware authors or attackers will threaten to delete the data or publish it online unless the ransom is paid. This means that if a user is infected with ransomware, their data can be stolen and held for ransom. It is important to be aware of this threat and take precautions to protect yourself and your data.

Can Ransomware Affect WiFi?

Yes, ransomware can affect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.

Should I Pay Ransomware?

No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.

What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?

If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even to use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.

Why Is the Ransom Paid in Crypto?

Cryptocurrency is a secure and untraceable form of payment, making it the ideal choice for ransom payments. It is difficult to trace, and the transactions are almost instantaneous. This means it is nearly impossible for authorities to track the payment and recover the money.

Can Ransomware Be Detected?

Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.

Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?

Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.

       

 

About the HORSELIKER Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this HORSELIKER how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.

How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?

Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.

Furthermore, the research behind the HORSELIKER ransomware threat is backed with VirusTotal and the NoMoreRansom project.

To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

References

1. How to Recognize Spam Emails with Ransomware
2. How Does Ransomware Encryption Work?
3. How to Decrypt Ransomware Files
4. Ransomware Getting Greedier and Bigger, Attacks Increase by 40%
5. 1 in 5 Americans Victim of Ransomware


Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.

As a site that has been dedicated to providing free removal instructions for ransomware and malware since 2014, SensorsTechForum’s recommendation is to only pay attention to trustworthy sources.

How to recognize trustworthy sources:

  • Always check "About Us" web page.
  • Profile of the content creator.
  • Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
  • Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.
2 Comments
  1. John Agar

    Stellar want me to buy a licence before they will recover the data. The licence is expensive. How do I know that the data will be recovered? Is this just another extension of the same trap?

    John

    Reply
    1. Milena Dimitrova

      Hi John,

      This is a data recovery program not a decrypter. There is a huge possibility that the program won’t succeed in restoring the data. That is why it is mentioned as an alternative approach with no guarantee in our article.

      Reply

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