Complete GandCrab v3 Virus (.CRAB EXTENSION) Removal Guide

GandCrab v3 virus

An infection with the dangerous GandCrab v3 virus leads to serious security issues. Victims can restore and protect their computers by following our complete removal guide.

Manual Removal Guide
Recover GandCrab v3- Files
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Distribution of GandCrab v3 Virus

GandCrab v3 virus is a new data locker ransomware that has been released in attack campaigns against computer users worldwide. The threat could be utilizing widely used tactics of distribution to infect computer systems.

One of the easiest ways for the criminals to spread the payload of GandCrab v3 ransomware is by attaching it to email messages that are later released in active attack campaigns. The method allows hackers to send the virus to large lists of potential victims. The attachments to malicious email spam messages usually have Word documents or other types of files which users open without hesitation. Once opened on a target host these compromised files trigger the ransomware payload and infect the device with GandCrab v3 crypto virus. Other infection tactic related to emails is hyperlink inserted in the content of the messages. The links are usually labeled as leading to a familiar website or a file of user interest.

Computer criminals behind this new ransomware can be using malicious sites or download portals to distribute malware of different kinds, including GandCrab v3 virus. A popular option is the use of infected documents which may be of different types ‒ spreadsheets, rich text documents, presentations and databases. They are modified to initiate the virus once the built-in scripts are run. Usually when the files are opened a notification will ask the users to run the macros (scripts). If this is done the infection follows.

The hacker-controlled sites are specialist portals that have been created either manually or automatically by the criminals behind GandCrab v3 virus. They can either directly distribute the threat by initiating various scripts or automated operations or link to such instances. Redirects are usually caused by email interaction, ad networks or other browsing activity. However one of the main sources is the availability of browser hijackers. They are malicious add-ons made for the most popular web browsers ‒ Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Microsoft Edge and Safari. Once installed they not only infect the users with the malware, but also redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled site. Depending on the configuration the browser hijackers can also steal sensitive information such as any stored passwords, account credentials, history, bookmarks, form data and settings.

Impact of GandCrab v3 Ransomware Virus

The GandCrab v3 is a new version of the GandCrab malware family. It is very possible that it’s being operated by the team of operators that were behind the previous versions. It has a modular engine that can be reconfigured according to the attack campaign.

One of the first possible components that are to be launched include a data harvesting module. They are used to gather sensitive data about the victim users: name, address, telephone number, interests, location, passwords and account credentials. Other data that can be harvested includes analytics information can be used by the hackers to optimize their campaigns. Such data comprises of details about the hardware components and certain operating system strings.

The GandCrab v3 virus can feed the information to a stealth protection plugin. It uses the available information to scan the systems for any software or services that can interfere with its execution. The list includes anti-virus products, sandbox environments and virtual machine hosts. If it is unable to bypass the protective measures the virus may choose to remove itself from the machines to avoid detection.

The next stage would be to institute various system changes. If the Windows Registry is impacted then the virus can change values associated with the user-installed applications and system services. As a consequence certain functions may fail to start properly and the users might experience serious performance issuses.

The GandCrab v3 engine can also be used in a Trojan like manner. The engine can connect itself to a hacker-controlled server and use it to spy on the victims and overtake control of their computers at any given time. They can also be used to distribute additional threats to the computers and load other modules to the engine.

Once all processes have completed succesfully the GandCrab v3 launches its ransomware engine. Like the previous versions it uses a strong encryption engine to target target files according to a predefined list of file types. An example list includes may include the following:

  • Archives
  • Backups
  • Documents
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Music

All victim files are renamed with the .CRAB extension like before. The victims are coerced to pay a ransomware fee following instructions included in the note (created in a file called CRAB-DECRYPT.txt) which reads the following:

—= GANDCRAB V3 =—
Attention!
All your files documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .CRAB
The only method of recovering files is to purchase a private key. It is on our server and only we can recover your files.
The server with your key is in a closed network TOR. You can get there by the following ways:
0. Download Tor browser – https://www.torproject.org/
1. Install Tor browser
2. Open Tor Browser
3. Open link in TOR browser:
4. Follow the instructions on this page
On our page you will see instructions on payment and get the opportunity to decrypt 1 file for free.
The alternative way to contact us is to use Jabber messanger. Read how to:
0. Download Psi-Plus Jabber Client: https://psi-im.org/download/
1. Register new account: http://sj.ms/register.php
0) Enter “username”: 21b1a2d1729f0695
1) Enter “password”: your password
2. Add new account in Psi
3. Add and write Jabber ID: ransomware@sj.ms any message
4. Follow instruction bot
ATTENTION!
It is a bot! It’s fully automated artificial system without human control!
To contact us use TOR links. We can provide you all required proofs of decryption availibility anytime. We are open to conversations.
You can read instructions how to install and use jabber here http://www.sfu.ca/jabber/Psi_Jabber_PC.pdf
CAUGHTION!
Do not try to modify files or use your own private key. This will result in the loss of your data forever!

Remove GandCrab v3 Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cyber criminals does not really solve your problem with GandCrab v3 crypto virus. In fact, you only encourage hackers to continue spreading ransomware of this kind. Instead, you must remove the threat immediately, and only then look for optional ways to recover your data.

WARNING! Manual removal of GandCrab v3 ransomware virus requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removing important data accidentally can lead to permanent system damage. If you don’t feel comfortable with manual instructions, download a powerful anti-malware tool that will scan your system for malware and clean it safely for you.

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GandCrab v3 Ransomware Virus – Manual Removal Steps

Start the PC in Safe Mode with Network

This will isolate all files and objects created by the ransomware so they will be removed efficiently. The steps below are applicable to all Windows versions.

1. Hit the WIN Key + R

2. A Run window will appear. In it, write msconfig and then press Enter

3. A Configuration box shall appear. In it Choose the tab named Boot

4. Mark Safe Boot option and then go to Network under it to tick it too

5. Apply -> OK

Show Hidden Files

Some ransomware threats are designed to hide their malicious files in the Windows so all files stored on the system should be visible.

1. Open My Computer/This PC

2. Windows 7

    – Click on Organize button
    – Select Folder and search options
    – Select the View tab
    – Go under Hidden files and folders and mark Show hidden files and folders option

3. Windows 8/ 10

    – Open View tab
    – Mark Hidden items option

how to make hidden files visible in Windows 8 10 bestsecuritysearch instructions

4. Click Apply and then OK button

Enter Windows Task Manager and Stop Malicious Processes

1. Hit the following key combination: CTRL+SHIFT+ESC

2. Get over to Processes

3. When you find suspicious process right click on it and select Open File Location

4. Go back to Task Manager and end the malicious process. Right click on it again and choose End Process

5. Next, you should go folder where the malicious file is located and delete it

Repair Windows Registry

1. Again type simultaneously the WIN Key + R key combination

2. In the box, write regedit and hit Enter

3. Type the CTRL+ F and then write the malicious name in the search type field to locate the malicious executable

4. In case you have discovered registry keys and values related to the name, you should delete them, but be careful not to delete legitimate keys

Click for more information about Windows Registry and further repair help

Recover GandCrab v3- Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with GandCrab v3 ransomware virus should be removed from the infected PC before any data recovery attempts. Otherwise the virus may encrypt restored files. Furthermore, a backup of all encrypted files stored on external media is highly recommendable.

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1. Use present backups

2. Use professional data recovery software

Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery – a specialist tool that can restore partitions, data, documents, photos, and 300 more file types lost during various types of incidents and corruption.

3. Using System Restore Point

    – Hit WIN Key
    – Select “Open System Restore” and follow the steps

restore-files-using-windows-system-restore-point

4. Restore your personal files using File History

    – Hit WIN Key
    – Type restore your files in the search box
    – Select Restore your files with File History
    – Choose a folder or type the name of the file in the search bar
    – Hit the “Restore” button

Preventive Security Measures

  • Enable and properly configure your Firewall.
  • Install and maintain reliable anti-malware software.
  • Secure your web browser.
  • Check regularly for available software updates and apply them.
  • Disable macros in Office documents.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe.
  • Backup regularly your data.
  • Author : Martin Beltov

    Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.


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