Luceq Ransomware

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

Luceq ransomware removal instructions

What is Luceq?

This malicious program belongs to the Djvu ransomware family and was discovered by Michael Gillespie. Luceq is a ransomware type program that is designed to encrypt data and make files unusable unless a ransom is paid to the cyber criminals who developed it. Like most computer infections of this type, Luceq renames each encrypted file by adding a new/additional extension. In this case, it adds ".luceq". For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.luceq". Luceq generates a ransom message within a text file called "_readme.txt". This can be found in all folders that contain encrypted files.

The "_readme.txt" file/ransom message states that all files were encrypted, and to decrypt them, a specific decryption tool is required. Cyber criminals demand $980, however, if contacted within 72 hours after encryption, the cost drops to $490 (i.e. a 50% discount for people who contact them within three days). Luceq developers also mention that it is impossible to decrypt files without using their decryption tool. Therefore, users with computers infected by this ransomware and wishing to restore their files must purchase a decryption tool. As 'proof' that they have the tool, these cyber criminals offer free decryption of one file. In any case, Luceq victims are urged to contact developers via the or email address. Unfortunately, most cyber criminals cannot be trusted - they provide no decryption tools even if their ransom demands are met. People who send money (usually in a cryptocurrency) become victims of a scam. Most ransomware-type programs encrypt data using cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that make decryption impossible without using the correct tool. In most cases, the only free way to regain access to files is to restore them from a backup created prior to the ransomware infection.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:

Luceq decrypt instructions

Luceq is very similar to many other programs of this type such as P3rf0rm4, Luces, and Metan. Typically, these programs share two main similarities: they encrypt data and create ransom demand messages. Any differences are usually cryptography algorithm used to encrypt data and cost of decryption tool (or key). These ransomware-type programs usually are impossible to 'crack' and, therefore, decryption without having to contact cyber criminals and buy decryption tools is possible only if the ransomware is still in development or contains bugs/flaws. Therefore, maintain regular backups and store them on remote servers or storage devices that are not connected to computers.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is unknown exactly how cyber criminals proliferate Luceq, however, people who develop ransomware usually proliferate it through Trojans, spam campaigns/emails, untrustworthy software download channels, tools that are used to bypass paid software activation, and fake software updaters. To cause computer infections, Trojans must already be installed. They then download and install other malicious programs such as ransomware. In summary, Trojans cause chain infections. Spam campaigns are emails that cyber criminals use to cause infections through attached malicious files. If opened, they download/install ransomware or other malicious programs. Some examples of files used to proliferate viruses are Microsoft Office documents, executables (.exe files), archive files (like RAR, ZIP), PDF documents, JavaScript files, and so on. Untrustworthy software download sources that cyber criminals use to proliferate ransomware include Peer-to-Peer networks (such as torrent clients, eMule, and so on), free file hosting websites, freeware download sites, unofficial websites, third party downloaders and other similar channels. They are used to present malicious executable files as legitimate. When people download and open them, they cause computer infections. Another way to trick people into installing malicious programs is through software cracking tools. These supposedly to activate software or operating systems free of charge, however, they often download and install computer infections. Fake software updaters operate in a similar manner - they infect systems by downloading malicious programs rather than the promised updates, or by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws.

Threat Summary:
Name Luceq virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Symptoms Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand a ransom payment (usually in Bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
Damage All 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 Luceq 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?

If an email contains an attachment or web link and is received from an unknown/untrustworthy email address, or the email is irrelevant, do not open the presented attachment. All installed software should be updated using implemented functions or tools provided by official software developers. Third party updaters should not be trusted. Download software from trustworthy, official websites. Avoid third party downloaders and other sources mentioned above. Software 'cracking' tools cause computer infections and are illegal. Therefore, do not use them. Another way to keep your computer safe is to have a reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus suite installed. These tools can detect and eliminate threats before they can do any damage to the operating system or files stored on the computer. If your computer is already infected with Luceq, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Luceq ransomware text file ("_readme.txt") :


Don't worry my friend, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

Your personal ID:

Screenshot of files encrypted by Luceq (".luceq" extension):

Files encrypted by Luceq

As with most of ransomware from the Djvu family, Luceq also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during encryption:

Djvu ransomware family fake update

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also install a trojan-type virus called AZORult, which is designed to steal various account credentials. Furthermore, this malware family is designed to add a number of entries to the Windows hosts file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website ( is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).

Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

Luceq ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Luceq 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 Luceq 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 Luceq 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 Luceq 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 Luceq 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 Luceq 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 Luceq, 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 Luceq ransomware.

Note that 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 Luceq 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
Luceq 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 Luceq virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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