GandCrab 5.1.4 Ransomware Removal

An infection with the dangerous GandCrab 5.1.4 ransomware virus leads to serious security issues. With our removal guide, victims can try to restore and protect their computers.

Manual Removal Guide
Files Recovery Approaches
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Note for Mac users!
In case that your Mac has been affected by GandCrab 5.1.4 or you suspect that other threats are running on it you can follow detailed instructions on how to detect and remove Mac viruses so you can keep the device clean and secure.

Distribution of GandCrab 5.1.4 Ransomware Virus

GandCrab 5.1.4 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.

The GandCrab 5.1.4 is a newly discovered strain of the malware family. It has been detected in a limited test release which probably signals that forthcoming infections are going to target specific countries. So far the acquired samples have been detected in a limited test run indicating the the real attacks might use different tactics.

A main method used by the malicious actor behind GandCrab 5.1.4 is the coordination of SPAM email messages — they are used to spread the threats by sending out messages that pose as legitimate notifications sent by popular Internet portals or services that the targets may use. The virus files can be either directly attached or linked in the body. They can also be uploaded to fake download sites which are designed to appear like any of the popular Internet portals or vendor download sites. The malicious actors may use similar sounding domain names, certificates and hijacked design and contents to coerce the victims into thinking that they are accessing the legitimate address.

Another way that the threat may spread is through infected payloads — the use of various files that are infected with virus code. A popular example is the malicious document which can take any form: presentations, rich text files, spreadsheets and databases. Once they are opened by the victims a notification message will pop-up asking the target users to enable the built-in scripts. If this is done the virus infection will follow. The other popular technique is the inclusion of the code in application installers. They are malicious copies of legitimate setup files of popular end user programs that have been modified with the GandCrab 5.1.4 ransomware code.

Ransomware files are also popularly spread by fake user profiles — they can post to community forums or social media accounts. The criminals can utilize both fake or stolen identities to increase the number of infected user.

In certain cases the criminals may also be distributed via malicious browser plugins — additions to the most popular web browsers that are advertised as useful. The plugins are uploaded to the official repositories and often make use of fake or hijacked user reviews and developer credentials. Once they are installed by the users they will execute their built-in instructions that in many cases leads to the GandCrab 5.1.4 ransomware virus infection in the end.

Impact of GandCrab 5.1.4 Ransomware Virus

The GandCrab 5.1.4 ransomware is a recent sample of this virus group which has been found to use the traditional infection schemes which we know from previous samples. The security analysis shows that it launches two important modules when first started:

  • Persistent Installation — The GandCrab ransomware family installs its samples in a way which modifies the operating system in a way which makes the virus very difficult to remove areas that are modified include the Windows Registry, boot options and configuration files. As a consequence whenever such a threat is installed it will be launched every time the computer is started.
  • Security Override — The GandCrab family of malware is known to search and identify active security engines, firewalls and sandbox environments. Their real-time engines will be blocked in order to hide the virus infection. Additionally the GandCrab 5.1.4 ransomare samples will look for virtual machine hosts and perform the necesary environment checks in order to make sure that the instance is not running in one of them. This is done so in order to avoid analysis by malware researchers and system administrators.

When these two steps have completed running the virus will have obtained full control to the infected machines. This will allow the hackers to run any of the other available modules or to download and run a custom component. The typical behavior would be to launch a data harvesting procedure on the hacked machines. It is used to extract machine and user data which can be used both for creating an unique infection ID or for intelligence about the victim users. The way this ID is generated is by launching an algorithm that takes its input values from a list of the installed hardware parts, user and regional settings and other environment values. If the victims are to be blackmailed or other crimes against them are planned the engine will be able to hijack personal information about them: their name, address, phone number, location and any stored account credentials. This particular strain has been confirmed to be able to access the contents of the installed web browsers.

At this point the engine will be able to hook up to other processes, including system services, thus allowing it to watch the user interactions in real-time. Coupled with the built-in Trojan client the GandCrab threat will communicate all acquired information to the hacker operators. It will also allow them to issue other commands and deploy other threats as well.

It is very possible that these GandCrab ransomware can be programmed to deliver other malware as well in upcoming campaigns. The mechanism is well-used thanks to the already made security bypass of the infected machine. A popular example is the cryptocurrency miner which can be launched from a small JavaScript-based instance or an independent addition that can be activated upon command. It will download complex mathematical tasks from a predefined server and run them in a sequence. As soon as one of them has finished the hackers will receive digital currency that will be directly wired to their digital wallets.

Previous GandCrab ransomware versions have also been confirmed to delete important system data: System Restore Points, Shadow Volume Copies and other backups.

The other popular malware threat that can be distributed alongside the ransomware is a browser hijacker sample. This category represents malicious web browser plugins which are the same ones used to distribute ransomware threats.

The ransomware engine itself will be started when all prior modules have finished running. The GandCrab 5.1.4 virus sample will process user data with a strong cipher according to a built-in list of target file type extensions. An example list will probably affect data such as the following:

  • Databases
  • Archives
  • Music
  • Backups
  • Images
  • Videos

The processed files will receive a randomly generated extension. The ransomware note will be created in multiple text files and also designate itself as the desktop wallpaper.

Remove GandCrab 5.1.4 Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cyber criminals does not really solve your problem with GandCrab 5.1.4 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 5.1.4 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 5.1.4 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 [email protected](.)com Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with GandCrab 5.1.4 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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SpyHunter is a Windows application designed to scan for, identify, remove and block malware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and other objects. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove detected malware instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

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.
  • How disturbing is this problem?

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    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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