Rectot Ransomware

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

Rectot ransomware removal instructions

What is Rectot?

Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Rectot is a malicious program belonging to the Djvu ransomware family. Cyber criminals (the developers) use the program to extort money from people. When Rectot is installed on a computer, it encrypts stored data and prevents victims from accessing their files unless a ransom is paid. It also renames all files by adding the ".rectot" extension. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.rectot". Instructions about how to purchase a decryption tool can be found in the "_readme.txt" text file.

The text file ("_readme.txt") states that Rectot has encrypted all files such as photos, documents, databases, and other data with the strongest encryption. To decrypt files, victims must use a decryption tool and a unique key that can be purchased for $980. It can also be purchased for the lesser price of $490 if Rectot's developers are contacted within the first 72 hours after decryption. To contact them, victims must send an email to or and provide the appointed personal ID, which can be found at the bottom of the ransom message. Another way to contact these cyber criminals is via Telegram using the account name @datarestore. To prove that they have a decryption tool, they offer victims free decryption of one file that can be sent to them via one of the email addresses provided or Telegram. Note, ransomware developers cannot be trusted. Do not pay any ransom, since they will not send the tools that supposedly decrypt files. Unfortunately, there is no other way to decrypt files encoded by ransomware-type programs. Typically, only cyber criminals have decryption tools/keys capable of decryption. Despite this, it might be possible to use an offline decryption tool, however, this is only effective if there was no Internet connection during encryption or the remote server used by these cyber criminals was not responding at the time. Another way to regain access to your files is to restore them from a data backup.

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

Rectot decrypt instructions

Most ransomware-type programs are very similar - they encrypt data and force victims to purchase decryption tools/keys. The main differences are cost of decryption and cryptography algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that cyber criminals use to encrypt data. Some examples of other ransomware-type programs are Virus-encoder, Ferosas, and ge0l0gic. Unfortunately, encryption caused by these programs is impossible to decrypt without tools held only by the developers, unless the program contains bugs/flaws or other vulnerabilities. Therefore, maintain regular data backups. These should not be stored on the computer, otherwise they will also be encrypted - keep backups on a remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Usually, cyber criminals proliferate ransomware-type and other malicious programs through spam campaigns, trojans, software 'cracking'/activation tools, dubious software download channels and unofficial software update tools. They proliferate malware through spam campaigns by sending emails that contain malicious attachments or web links. Typically, they attach Microsoft Office documents, executables (.exe and other files), PDF documents, archive files such as ZIP, RAR or JavaScript files. These files infect computers when they are downloaded and opened (i.e., executable files are executed). Trojans are malicious programs that, if already installed, cause chain infections/proliferate viruses. Various software 'cracking' tools are known to bypass activation of paid software, however, they often download and install malware. Cyber criminals use Peer-to-Peer networks (such as torrent clients, eMule, and so on), freeware download websites, file hosting websites and other similar channels. They upload malicious files and disguise them as harmless and legitimate. When people download and open them, however, they install malicious software. Fake software updaters exploit bugs/flaws of installed software or download and install malicious software rather than the updates or fixes.

Threat Summary:
Name Rectot virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Detection Names (28E6.TMP.EXE) Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win32/Kryptik.GTHU), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Scar.rxnn), McAfee (Artemis!283BF952E656), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Encrypted Files Extension .rectot
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt text file
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact,, @datarestore (telegram)
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.
Additional Information This malware is designed to show fake Windows Update window, modify Windows "hosts" file (to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites) and inject AZORult trojan into the system.
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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Study each received email, especially if it contains a web link or attachment. If the email is received from an unknown, suspicious email address and is irrelevant, do not open the file attached to it. The safest way to download software is using official and trustworthy websites. Other channels such as third party downloaders, unofficial websites, and so on, should not be trusted. Third party activation tools (software 'cracking' tools) are illegal and often infect computers with high-risk malicious programs. Therefore, these tools should not be trusted. No third party update tools are safe. All software should be updated using implemented functions or tools provided by the official software developers. Have reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed, updated, and enabled. If your computer is already infected with Rectot, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Rectot 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" or "Junk" 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:

Our Telegram account:

Your personal ID:


Screenshot of files encrypted by Rectot (".rectot" extension):

Files encrypted by Rectot

Malware researcher Michael Gillespie has developed a decryption tool that might restore your data if it was encrypted using an "offline key". As mentioned, each victim gets a unique decryption key, all of which are stored on remote servers controlled by cyber criminals. These are categorized as "online keys", however, there are cases when the infected machine has no Internet connection or the server is timing out/not responding. If this is the case, Rectot will use an "offline encryption key", which is hard-coded. Cyber criminals change offline keys periodically to prevent multiple encryptions with the same key. Michael Gillespie continually gathers offline keys and updates the decrypter, however, the chances of successful decryption are still very low, since only a very small proportion of "offline keys" have so far been gathered. You can download the decrypter by clicking this link (note that the download link remains identical, even though the decrypter is being continually updated). Your files will be restored only if the list of gathered keys includes the one that was used to encrypt your data.

Screenshot of STOP/Djvu decrypter by Michael Gillespie:

STOP/Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie

As with most of ransomware from Djvu family, Rectot also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during the 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. Moreover, 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

Rectot ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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 Rectot 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 Rectot 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 Rectot 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 Rectot 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 Rectot, 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 Rectot 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 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 Rectot 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Rectot 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 Rectot virus on your mobile device.
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