GenoCheats Ransomware

Also Known As: GenoCheats virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

GenoCheats ransomware removal instructions

What is GenoCheats?

First discovered by MalwareHunterTeam, GenoCheats is a ransomware-type virus based on Hidden Tear. At time of research, GenoCheats was distributed as a 'crack' for Adobe Photoshop and Minecraft. Immediately after infiltration, GenoCheats encrypts most stored data using AES cryptography and appends filenames with the ".encrypted" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.encrypted"). From this point, files become unusable. Once files are encrypted, GenoCheats changes the desktop wallpaper and creates a "READ_IT.txt" file, placing it on the desktop.

There are two variants of GenoCheats wallpaper. One contains text in Italian informing victims of the encryption and encouraging them to follow instructions provided in the "READ_IT.txt" file. This file is corrupted (most of the text is missing). The second wallpaper contains text in English (also apparently contained within the text file) that informs victims of the encryption, however, it also encourages them to send $10 (equivalent in Bitcoins) to the address provided. Users are then supposedly able to restore the encrypted data. As mentioned above, GenoCheats uses AES, a symmetric encryption algorithm that generates a unique key used to encrypt/decrypt data. Therefore, restoring files without this key is impossible. Cyber criminals hide these keys on a remote server and make ransom demands for their release. These people can never be trusted. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once ransoms are paid. Paying does not guarantee that your files will ever be restored and you will probably be scammed. We strongly advise you to ignore all requests to contact these people or pay any ransom. There are no tools capable of cracking AES cryptography and, therefore, you can only restore everything from a backup.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to contact cyber criminals to decrypt their compromised data:

GenoCheats decrypt instructions

The Internet is full of ransomware-type viruses similar to GenoCheats including File-Locker, RETIS, SIGMA, and many others. Note that, although these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, all have identical behavior. As with GenoCheats, these malware infections also encrypt files and make ransom demands. In most cases, the only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Research shows that, unfortunately, most of these viruses employ algorithms that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the malware has certain bugs/flaws, restoring files manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Ransomware-type viruses such as GenoCheats present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups, however, note that backup files must be stored on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or external storage. If not, the malware encrypts those as well.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware-type viruses are often proliferated using spam emails, third party software download sources, fake software update tools, and trojans. Spam emails often contain various malicious attachments (e.g., JavaScript files, MS Office documents, etc.) that, once opened, stealthily download and install malware. Unofficial download sources proliferate malware by presenting it as legitimate software. Users are tricked into downloading and installing malware. Fake software update tools infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws. Trojans work simply - they open "backdoors" for malware to infiltrate the system. Essentially, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
NameGenoCheats virus
Threat TypeRansomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
SymptomsCan't open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension, for example my.docx.locked. A ransom demanding message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals are asking to pay a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Distribution methodsInfected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
DamageAll files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.

To eliminate GenoCheats virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet. Never open files received from suspicious email addresses. In fact, delete these emails without reading. Furthermore, download your applications from official sources only and, preferably, using a direct download link. Keep installed software updated and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite, however, since criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, use implemented an update feature or a tool provided by the official developer.

Screenshot of GenoCheats text file ("READ_IT.txt"), missing most of the text:

GenoCheats text file

Text presented in the English wallpaper and text file:

!!! Your PC has been Locked !!!
To decrypt your files
Send 10$ BTC to
and email me the transaction ID + your computer name

Screenshot of GenoCheats desktop wallpaper (Italian variant):

GenoCheats wallpaper

Text presented within this wallpaper:

Ciao Il tuo computer è stato violato. I tuoi dati sono stati appena crittografati con na chiave univoca. Non andare nel panico ma segui e eggi con attenzione le istruzioni riportate nel file READ.ME.txt sul tuo Desktop per riavere i tuoi file indietro.

Screenshot of files encrypted by GenoCheats (".encrypted" extension):

Files encrypted by GenoCheats

GenoCheats ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of GenoCheats virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of GenoCheats virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

Step 1

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the GenoCheats virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.

Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":

1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the GenoCheats ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining GenoCheats ransomware files.

To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of GenoCheats are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.

To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.

To regain control of the files encrypted by GenoCheats, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

To protect your computer from file encryption ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as GenoCheats ransomware.

Note that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.

Controll Folder Access

Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here is more information on how to get this update and add an additional protection layer from ransomware infections.

HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.

Other tools known to remove GenoCheats ransomware:

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
GenoCheats virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of GenoCheats virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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