How to eliminate the BORISHORSE ransomware infection

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

BORISHORSE ransomware removal instructions

What is BORISHORSE?

First discovered by Raby, BORISHORSE is yet another variant of the Dharma ransomware infection. The purpose of this malware is to stealthily infiltrate systems and encrypt stored data. In doing so, BORISHORSE renames each compromised file by appending the victim's unique ID, developer's email address and ".BORISHORSE" extension (hence the ransomware name). For example, "1.jpg" might be renamed to a filename such as "1.jpg.id[1E857D00-2271].[worldofdonkeys@protonmail.com].BORISHORSE". Additionally, BORISHORSE generates two files: "info.hta" (an HTML application that displays a pop-up window) and "info.txt", placing them on the desktop. Another variant of this ransomware uses the ".HORSELIKER" extension for encrypted files.

The new text file contains a short message informing victims of the encryption and encouraging them to contact cyber criminals if they want to restore their data. The pop-up window (HTML application) provides much more detail. It essentially states that only the developers can decrypt compromised data. To receive a decryption tool, each victim must pay a ransom. The cost is not specified - all payment/decryption instructions are provided via email. Note, however, that the size of ransom usually fluctuates between $500 and $1500. The message simply states that payment must be submitted using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. BORISHORSE's developers also offer free decryption of three files, however, these cannot contain any 'valuable information' and the total size cannot exceed 4 MB (non archived). Criminals do this to gain victims' trust, however, these people should never be trusted. Ransomware developers often ignore victims once payments are submitted. Many victims send money and receive nothing in return. Therefore, ignore all requests to submit payments or even contact these people. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking BORISHORSE encryption and restoring data free of charge. The only solution is to restore everything from a backup.

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

BORISHORSE decrypt instructions

There are hundreds of ransomware-type infections that share similarities with BORISHORSE (including Masok, ERIS RANSOMWARE v2, and GermanWiper. Most compromise data (typically, by encryption) so that developers can make ransom demands. The only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, encryptions are often performed using cryptographies such as RSA, AES, and others that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to restore data without developers' involvement. The only possible scenarios are ransomware being still in development and/or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is stored locally, is hard-coded, or similar). Ransomware presents a strong case for maintaining regular backups, however, store them on a remote server or unplugged storage device, since locally stored backups are encrypted together with regular data. Additionally, we advise you to have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, as there is always the chance that servers/storage devices can be damaged.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware-type infections are typically proliferated using spam emails, third party software download sources, trojans, and fake software updaters and 'cracks'. Spam campaigns are used send hundreds of thousands of deceptive emails that contain malicious attachments and messages presenting them as 'important documents' (e.g., invoices, bills, receipts, etc.). Criminals do this in attempts to give the impression of legitimacy and trick recipients into opening rogue files. Unofficial download sources (Peer-to-Peer [P2P] networks [e.g., torrents, eMule, etc.], free file hosting websites, freeware download sites, and similar) are also used in a similar manner. Cyber criminals present malicious executables as legitimate/genuine software, thereby tricking recipients into manual download/installation of malware. Trojans are malicious, lightweight applications that stealthily infiltrate computers to download and install additional malware. Fake software updaters usually infect systems by misusing old software bugs/flaws or simply downloading/installing malware rather than the promised updates. The same applies to fake cracking tools, which inject malware rather than providing access to paid features of software. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
Name BORISHORSE virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .BORISHORSE (this ransomware also appends filenames with the victim's unique ID and developer's email address).
Ransom Demanding Message info.hta (HTML application), info.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact worldofdonkeys@protonmail.com, worldofdonkeys@xmpp.jp (Jabber client), beautydonkey@xmpp.jp (Jabber client)
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Ulise.39944), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Phobos.C), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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.
Removal

To eliminate BORISHORSE 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?

Be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading, installing, and updating software. Handle all email attachments with care. Files/links received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should never be opened. The same applies to attachments that are irrelevant or do not concern you. Your software should be downloaded from official sources only, preferably using direct download links. Proper software maintenance is also paramount. Keep installed applications up-to-date, but use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Third party downloaders/installers/updaters typically include rogue apps, and thus such tools should not be used. Be aware that software piracy is a cyber crime and the risk of infection is extremely high, since most cracking tools are fake. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools detect and eliminate infections before they harm the system. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with BORISHORSE, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in BORISHORSE ransomware pop-up window ("info.hta" - HTML application):

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail worldofdonkeys@protonmail.com
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00-2271
If there is no response from our mail, you can install the Jabber client and write to us in support of worldofdonkeys@xmpp.jp
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 tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 1-3 files for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 4Mb (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.
hxxps://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
hxxp://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins/
Jabber client installation instructions:
Download the jabber (Pidgin) client from hxxps://pidgin.im/download/windows/
After installation, the Pidgin client will prompt you to create a new account.
Click "Add"
In the "Protocol" field, select XMPP
In "Username" - come up with any name
In the field "domain" - enter any jabber-server, there are a lot of them, for example - exploit.im
Create a password
At the bottom, put a tick "Create account"
Click add
If you selected "domain" - exploit.im, then a new window should appear in which you will need to re-enter your data:
User
password
You will need to follow the link to the captcha (there you will see the characters that you need to enter in the field below)
If you don't understand our Pidgin client installation instructions, you can find many installation tutorials on youtube - hxxps://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pidgin+jabber+install
Attention!
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.

Screenshot of BORISHORSE text file ("info.txt"):

BORISHORSE text file

Text presented within this file:

Want return your files?Write to our xmpp account - worldofdonkeys@xmpp.jp
The easiest way - register here hxxps://www.xmpp.jp/signup
After download pidgin client hxxps://pidgin.im/
Press Add account,choose protocol xmpp and put username from xmpp.jp where are you sign up
Domain - xmpp.jp
Put your password and press add
When you log in press Buddies --> Add Buddy-->and in Buddys username put beautydonkey xmpp.jp
After you will see added account beautydonkey@xmpp.jp,click twice on it and write your message
You can send us 1-3 test files. The total size of files must be less than 10Mb (non archived),
we will decrypt them and send to you that we are real
If you have a problem with xmpp you can write to our mail worldofdonkeys@protonmail.com

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

Files encrypted by BORISHORSE

BORISHORSE ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of BORISHORSE 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 BORISHORSE 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 BORISHORSE 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 BORISHORSE 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 BORISHORSE 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 BORISHORSE 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 BORISHORSE, 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 BORISHORSE 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 BORISHORSE 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 pcrisk.com 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
Medium

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

QR Code
BORISHORSE 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 BORISHORSE virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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