THREAT REMOVAL

Horsuke Ransomware – Remove It and Restore .HORSE Files

remove Horsuke ransomware restore .HORSE horsuke@nuke.africa files sensorstechforum

This is an article that provides specific details on Horsuke ransomware infection as well as a step-by-step removal followed by alternative data recovery approaches.

Horsuke is a new strain of Scarab ransomware that is now being actively distributed via different attack vectors. The threat is still intended for file encryption as afterward, it can blackmail victims into paying a ransom for a specific decryption solution. At this point Horsuke ransomware is known to change the desktop background with a specially crafted picture and append the extension .HORSE to all encrypted files. Another trait of this new strain is the ransom note file HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.txt that appears on infected hosts.

Threat Summary

Name Horsuke
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description Encrypts valuable files stored on the compromised computer and then blackmails victims to pay a ransom in order to get them back.
Symptoms Encrypted files have the extension .HORSE appended to them. A ransom note file named HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT appears on the screen. Desktop background is changed.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Horsuke.
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.

Horsuke Ransomware – Distribution

Necurs botnet may be used to spread spam emails that infect user systems with Horsuke ransomware. The same technique was detected to be utilized for the initial Scarab ransomware version back in November 2017. This botnet is responsible for the biggest malware spam campaigns that provide either malicious attachments with malware downloaders or links to compromised websites that host the payloads of Horsuke.

The emails that deliver Horsuke could impersonate representatives of well-known organizations and institutions in order to make you more prone to infect your PC with the ransomware. The malicious payload may be disguised as an archive file that according to the message presented in the text message is of great importance and should be reviewed as soon as possible.

For the distribution of Horsuke may be also used various freeware available across the Web. You may find them helpful but along with them you might have unnoticeably installed the malicious script that plagues the system with this nasty cryptovirus. Such unwanted effects could be prevented with a scan of all newly downloaded files with a security tool. After the scan you could decide whether it is a good idea to open them or not at all. At our forum, you could find more safety tips that will help you to prevent infections with severe ransomware threats like Horsuke.

Horsuke Ransomware – Attack Overview

Horsuke ransomware is a type of threat that could compromise some essential system settings in order to establish its persistent presence, remain undetected during the attack, and run its encryption module. To achieve persistence Horsuke is likely to drop some files that are able to access the Registry Editor. There the ransomware could add malicious values under specific registry sub-keys that manage the execution process of all important system files. Such keys are Run and RunOnce. Once Horsuke set its malicious values there, it becomes able to run automatically on each system start. The functionalities of the same keys are possibly used at the moment when the crypto virus replaces your preferred desktop wallpaper with the one associated with it. You can see how it looks like in the picture below:

horsuke ransomware desktop background sensorstechforum

The image depicts a short message that reads:

Congratulations!
All your files have been encrypted!
If you want to restore them, write us to horsuke@nuke.africa

Sure enough is the fact that Horsuke ransomware primarily aims to generate revenue to hackers that stand behind the release of its attack campaigns. For the purpose it drops a ransom note message that instructs victims how to act further in case that they want to restore .HORSE files. According to the text contained in a file with name HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.txt, the first step that hackers expect you as a victim to take is to contact them at the email address horsuke@nuke.africa so they can provide you further details on the ransom payment. The only sure thing is that they demand the ransom to be in Bitcoin. And below you can read the complete ransom message text:

=======================================
Your files are now encrypted!
Your personal identifier:
6A020********000***C4BFD00
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC.
Now you should send us email with your personal identifier.
This email will be as confirmation you are ready to pay for 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: horsuke@nuke.africa
If you don’t get a reply or if the email dies, then contact us to saviours@airmail.cc
Free decryption as 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:
http
s://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
* Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
https://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.
=======================================

HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.txt horsuke ransomware ransom note file sensorstechforum com

Apparently, they are attempting to provoke a sense of urgency in you in order to trick you into paying the ransom immediately after infection. By stating that the ransom amount depends on the contact time frame they mislead you that you will pay less for the decryption key in case that you transfer the amount right after the attack. Beware that no matter when you contact them, which we strongly advise you to avoid, there is no guarantee that the code of their nasty ransomware is working correctly and eventually they may only trick you into paying for an ineffective decryption key that won’t restore your .HORSE files.

An evidence that we noticed is that one of the previous Scarab ransomware iterations Horsia provides the same contact email address as Horsukesaviours@airmail.cc, so the guesses are that either the same hackers stand behind the distribution of this new version or they work in partnership with other malicious intenders who use their ransomware code as a service. It is possible that in future we could expect new strains of the Scarab family to appear in the wild.

Horsuke Ransomware – Encryption Process

As a part of the Scarab family, Horsuke ransomware is likely to use the strong AES cipher algorithm for file encryption purposes. The encryption is triggered by its in-built module that first scans all system drives for predefined types of files among which are believed to be:

→ “PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX .INI .PRF Encoded Files .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJ R.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG .CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG”Source:fileinfo.com

After the Advanced Encryption Standard is applied to the original code of all target files they remain out of order and only a solution that is able to revert back their code could decrypt them. One of the characteristics of all corrupted files is the specific extension .HORSE that stands at the end of their names.

Don’t get scammed to pay the ransom as there is no guarantee that you will obtain a working decryption key. Instead, try all you can do by yourself in order to overcome the problem. You can start with the guide that follows. It will help you to remove all malicious files and objects from the infected computer so you can use it in a secure manner again. As regards the restore of .HORSE data navigate to the second part of the guide where you will find some alternative data recovery methods. Good luck! And don’t forget that we are here to help. Write us in case that you have any further questions.

Remove Horsuke Ransomware and Restore .HORSE Files

The removal of Horsuke ransomware demands a bit of technical experience and ability to recognize malware files. Since there is no doubt that you should remove this nasty threat from the infected PC as quickly as possible we put down for you a step-by-step removal guide with both manual and automatic steps. Beware that Horsuke is a severe threat that plagues the whole system. And that’s why security researchers recommend the help of advanced anti-malware tool for maximum efficiency.

Once you remove Horsuke ransomware make sure to check the step “Restore Files” listed in the guide below. But before any further steps, back up all encrypted files to an external drive in order to prevent their irreversible loss.

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana has a bachelor's degree in Marketing. She has been with the STF team for five years, researching malware, reporting on the latest computer infections, and following digital marketing trends.

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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.


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


Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove Horsuke from Windows.


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

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


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
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.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall Horsuke and related software 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.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


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"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Horsuke 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 Horsuke there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


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


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
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 Horsuke 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.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


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

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


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.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

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

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

Ransomware infections and Horsuke 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 reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

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


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of Horsuke from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Horsuke and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Horsuke:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Horsuke. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Horsuke. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove Horsuke via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Horsuke. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for Horsuke:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Horsuke.

Ransomware infections and Horsuke 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 reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

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


Horsuke FAQ

What is Horsuke ransomware and how does it work?

Horsuke 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 algorithm how 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.

How does Horsuke ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Horsuke Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, 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 Horsuke 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 .Horsuke files?

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

Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?

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

One way to restore files, encrypted by Horsuke ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, 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.

How Do I restore ".Horsuke" files (Other Methods)?

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

These methods are in no way 100% guarantee 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 Horsuke ransomware virus?

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Horsuke ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an 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 nothing works?

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.

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