Remove Reco ransomware from your operating system

Also Known As: Reco virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Reco ransomware removal instructions

What is Reco?

Reco is malicious software belonging to the Djvu ransomware family. This program operates by encrypting data and denying access until a ransom is paid (i.e., until a decryption tool/software is purchased). When this ransomware encrypts data, it renames files with the ".reco" extension. Therefore, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.reco". Once this process is complete, Reco creates a "_readme.txt" text file, which contains the ransom message.

The message in the text file states that all files have been encrypted, and to decrypt them, users must purchase a decryption tool and unique key. The developers of Reco offer free decryption of one file as 'proof' of their ability to restore the encrypted data. They will do so, if the file does not contain any 'valuable information' (likely implying that it must not be a database, backup, large excel sheet, or similar). The message gives the cost of decryption tool and key, which is 980 USD, however, if affected users contact the cyber criminals within 72 hours, this can drop by 50 percent. To get more information and further instructions, victims are able to contact the criminals via the email addresses provided. If they do not receive a response within six hours, they are advised to check their "Spam/Junk" folders for the reply. Programs such as Reco employ strong encryptions, which can only be decrypted with knowledge of the software used for encryption. Although there are no free tools capable of "cracking" these encryptions, users are strongly advised against meeting the demands of cyber criminals. There are no guarantees that once the ransom is paid, decryption tools/software are sent. In many cases of ransomware-type infections, the developers of these malicious programs do not hold up their promises. Data remains encrypted and is permanently lost. The only solution is to restore the files from a backup, however, the backup copy must have been made before the infection and stored separately.

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

Reco decrypt instructions

XozaAngus, and Mike are just some examples of ransomware-type software similar to Reco. Nearly all programs of this kind share certain similarities - they encrypt data and demand payment for decryption. They might differ only by cryptographic algorithm they use (symmetric or asymmetric) and the size of the ransom. Ransoms typically vary between three-digit and four-digit sums (in USD). Usually, cyber criminals prefer digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouches, etc.), as these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. In most cases, manual decryption (without the involvement of ransomware developers) is not viable. This is only possible if the ransomware in question is still in development and/or has bugs/flaws. To protect files from data encryption and damaging attacks, create backup copies and keep them on remove servers and/or unplugged storage devices. Ideally, multiple backups should be stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malicious programs are spread via spam campaigns, trojans, untrustworthy download channels, fake software updaters and "cracking" (activation) tools. Spam campaigns are used to send out thousands of deceptive emails containing infectious attachments. These emails are usually marked as "official", "important" or otherwise urgent. The rogue attachments come in various formats (e.g. archive and executable files, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.) and once opened, infect systems. Trojans are malicious programs that cause chain infections (i.e., they download/install additional malware). P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting and unofficial websites, third party downloaders and similar sources are often used to proliferate malicious software or bundled content. Fake updaters exploit weaknesses/flaws present in outdated programs and/or simply install malware rather than the advertised updates. Illegal software activation tools ("cracks") can similarly cause infections, rather than activating licensed products.

Threat Summary:
Name Reco virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.41880344), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GWZX), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.ee), Full List (VirusTotal)
Encrypted Files Extension .reco
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact gorentos@bitmessage.ch, gorentoshelp@firemail.cc
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 modify the Windows "hosts" file to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites (more information below).
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

Irrelevant and suspicious emails received from unknown senders should never be opened or read. Attachments found in them should never be opened, as they contain the infection. Use only official and verified download channels. Installed programs should be kept up-to-date via functions/tools provided by legitimate developers. Software should be likewise activated using genuine tools, rather than illegal "cracks". Have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed and updated. These programs should be used to perform regular scans for the removal of potential threats. If your computer is already infected with Reco, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

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

ATTENTION!

Don't worry, 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:
hxxps://we.tl/t-vzAZbtWtGh
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:
gorentos@bitmessage.ch

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
gerentosrestore@firemail.cc

Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Reco (".reco" extension):

Files encrypted by Reco

Screenshot of fake Windows update pop-up displayed during the encryption:

Fake windows update pop-up displayed when files are being encrypted by Reco ransomware

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also add a number of entries to the Windows "hosts" file. The entries contain the URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is done to prevent users unable from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website (PCrisk.com) 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

There are currently two versions of Djvu ransomware infections - old and new. The old versions were designed to encrypt data by using a hard-coded "offline key" when the infected machine had no internet connection or the server was timing out/not responding. Therefore, some victims were able to decrypt data by using a tool developed by cyber security researcher Michael Gillespie. Since the encryption mechanism has been slightly changed (hence the new version), the decrypter no longer works. If your data has been encrypted by an older version, you might be able to restore it with the aforementioned tool (download link). It supports a total of 134 file extensions and you can find the entire list in the "About" screen.

Screenshot of STOP/Djvu decrypter by Michael Gillespie:

STOP/Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie

Reco 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 Reco 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 Reco 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 Reco 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 Reco 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 Reco, 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 Reco 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 Reco 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Reco 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 Reco virus on your mobile device.
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