Home > Ransomware > Horsuke Ransomware – Remove It and Restore .HORSE Files

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


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:

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:
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:
* Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
* 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:


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

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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Step 1: 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.

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 2: Uninstall Horsuke 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 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.
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.

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


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 5: Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Horsuke.

Method 1: Use STOP Decrypter by Emsisoft.

Not all variants of this ransomware can be decrypted for free, but we have added the decryptor used by researchers that is often updated with the variants which become eventually decrypted. You can try and decrypt your files using the instructions below, but if they do not work, then unfortunately your variant of the ransomware virus is not decryptable.

Follow the instructions below to use the Emsisoft decrypter and decrypt your files for free. You can download the Emsisoft decryption tool linked here and then follow the steps provided below:

1 Right-click on the decrypter and click on Run as Administrator as shown below:

stop ransomware decryptor step 1

2. Agree with the license terms:

stop ransomware decryptor step 2

3. Click on "Add Folder" and then add the folders where you want files decrypted as shown underneath:

stop ransomware decryptor step 3

4. Click on "Decrypt" and wait for your files to be decoded.

stop ransomware decryptor step 4

Note: Credit for the decryptor goes to Emsisoft researchers who have made the breakthrough with this virus.

Method 2: Use data recovery software

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 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.


What is Horsuke Ransomware?

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 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.

What Does Horsuke Ransomware Do?

Ransomware in general is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.

Ransomware viruses can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.

How Does Horsuke Infect?

Via several ways.Horsuke 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.

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 without a decryptor. At this point, the .Horsuke files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryption key for the particular algorithm.

What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?

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.

Can I Restore ".Horsuke" Files?

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% 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 To Get Rid of Horsuke 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 Horsuke ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Horsuke files.

Can I 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 Stop 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.

Can Horsuke 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.

Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?

Yes, ransomware can infect 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 use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.

Can a Ransomware Attack 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, Interpol and others 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 Horsuke Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Horsuke 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 Horsuke 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.

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.

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