Gotcha ransomware removal instructions
What is Gotcha?
Gotcha is a ransomware-type program discovered by Michael Gillespie. Like most programs of this type, it is used by cyber criminals to encrypt files stored on a victim's computer and keep them unusable unless a ransom is paid. It adds the ".gotcha" extension to every encrypted file. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.gotcha". It also creates a ransom message within a text file called "!GOTCHA!.txt", which it places in each folder that contains encrypted files.
The ransom note is created mostly to provide victims with information about how to contact the cyber criminals. It states that Gotcha encrypts files using AES-256 and RSA-2048 cryptography algorithms and that they are impossible to decrypt without using the correct decryption key. To receive their keys, victims are encouraged to send an email to cyber criminals (address provided), which must include a personal ID. As with most cyber criminals, however, Gotcha's developers provide no decryption tools free of charge. The cost of a key is unknown, however, this should be provided after contacting the criminals. Despite this, the people who proliferate these computer infections cannot be trusted. They send no decryption tools or keys, even if their demands are met (ransoms are paid). Therefore, do not contact the developers of Gotcha ransomware. Most cyber criminals use cryptographies that cause strong encryptions that can only be decrypted using tools/keys held by specific ransomware developers. Furthermore, they usually demand ransom payments first. The only way to recover files free of charge in such cases is to use a backup and restore files from there.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Gotcha is similar to many other programs of this type such as SDEN, SadComputer, and Browec. Their main purpose is to encrypt files and demand a ransom payment. Main differences are cost of decryption and cryptography algorithms used for encryption. Unfortunately, most encryptions caused by ransomware-type programs are impossible to crack without the involvement of cyber criminals, unless they are not complete (have bugs/flaws). Therefore, we recommend that you maintain regular backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices. Otherwise, they can be decrypted with other files stored on the computer.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.gotcha|
|Ransom Demanding Message||!GOTCHA!.txt text file.|
|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 payment of a ransom (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 Gotcha virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
Files attached to emails that are sent from unknown/suspicious addresses should not be opened. These are often irrelevant, however, they are presented as 'official', 'important', and so on. Open files only when you are sure that they are trustworthy. Download all software using official, trustworthy sources. Any other, third party tools or dubious pages should not be trusted. Keep installed programs up-to-date, however, do this correctly using tools or functions provided by official software developers, and not other third party tools. Also activate software correctly. Note that 'cracking' tools are illegal and cause installation of malware. Finally, have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed and enabled at all times. These programs detect and remove viruses before they can do any damage. If your computer is already infected with Gotcha, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Gotcha ransomware text file ("!GOTCHA!.txt"):
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IMPORTANT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We gotcha files encrypted using encryption AES256-bit and RSA2048-bit.
Its impossible to recover the files without the correct private key.
If you are interested in getting key for small fee and get back your files,
Send email to:
IMPORTANT: INCLUDE YOUR ID IN BODY OR SUBJECT FOR FAST REPLY!
- Team GOTCHA!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IMPORTANT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Screenshot of files encrypted by Gotcha (".gotcha" extension):
Gotcha ransomware removal:
Instant automatic removal of Gotcha 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 Gotcha virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Gotcha?
- STEP 1. Gotcha virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Gotcha ransomware removal using System Restore.
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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the Gotcha 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.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
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 Gotcha ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining Gotcha 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 Gotcha 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.
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 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 Gotcha 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.
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:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- 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 Gotcha ransomware: