GERO Ransomware Encrypted File
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What is a GERO file?
A file with the .gero extension is a file that has been renamed and encrypted by GERO ransomware, which is a variant of STOP ransomware. It could be a document, image, video, or any other file. Because the file is encrypted, you cannot open it. Typically, the .gero extension is added to the file's normal extension, resulting in a file with an extension like .docx.gero.
STOP ransomware, also known as STOP Djvu ransomware, is a common family of ransomware that cybercriminals use to extort ransoms from PC users. The GERO variant of STOP ransomware first appeared in August 2019. It encrypts a user's files and then produces a plain text ransom note named _readme.txt in every folder that contains an infected file. The note contains instructions users are meant to follow to decrypt their files.
GERO and subsequent versions of STOP ransomware differ significantly from previous versions. Prior versions of STOP ransomware encrypted files using an offline key, which could be found on a user's system and used to decrypt their files. GERO encrypts files using an online key, which is stored on the cybercriminals' server, not on the user's system. Thus, previously effective STOP decryption tools typically do not work on GERO and later versions of STOP ransomware.
How did my computer get infected by GERO ransomware?
GERO ransomware is most commonly distributed within programs that appear to be legitimate but are actually adware and malware bundles. If you recently downloaded and installed an unverified program, that may be how your computer became infected by GERO ransomware.
NOTE: To learn more about STOP ransomware and its variants, refer to the .STOP entry.
How to open a GERO file
GERO files are encrypted, so you cannot open them. Additionally, because GERO files are encrypted using an online private key, there is no way to decrypt them.
If your computer has been infected by GERO ransomware, the best option to restore your files to their original state is likely to perform a System Restore. Note that performing a System Restore will cause you to lose any data created since your last restore point. Therefore, you may want to back up any data and files created since your last restore point.
FileInfo.com recommends you never pay a ransom to decrypt files encrypted by ransomware. Paying a ransom encourages ransomware distributors to continue their efforts, and there is no guarantee that paying a ransom will give you access to your files. Instead, you should restore your data from a recent backup created before the ransomware infected your computer.