GandCrab v4 Virus Removal Instructions (.KRAB Extension Variant)

An infection with the dangerous GANDCRAB V4 virus leads to serious security issues. Victims can restore and protect their computers by following our complete removal guide.

Manual Removal Guide
Recover GANDCRAB V4- Files
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Update

A distribution campaign for the latest GandCrab ransomware version is currently underway. Recently security researchers have spotted samples of GandCrab V4.1 in the wild. The analyses of its samples reveal that now the devastating ransomware uses Salsa20 encryption algorithm to encrypt files and render them unusable. This latest iteration is associated with the specific extension .krab that renames all corrupted files. In case that you have been infected by this version of GandCrab ransomware you could use our specialized GandCrab v4.1 removal guide to get rid of all malicious files and objects that reside on your system. The guide also has a part where some alternative data recovery solutions are shown. With the help of alternative methods you could possibly restore a few to all of your .krab files.

Distribution of GANDCRAB V4 Virus

GANDCRAB V4 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 V4 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 V4 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 V4 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 V4 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.

The majority of the ongoing attacks are being carried out via targeted email SPAM campaigns. The hackers are using template email design and subjects such as the following:

Document #41301
Invoice #40010
Order #030011
Payment #092491
Payment Invoice #27649
Ticket #101235
Your Document #120311

Some of the GandCrab V4 virus files are also being distributed in archive files that may bear different formats such as .7z or .rar. A

Impact of GANDCRAB V4 Ransomware Virus

The newest version of the GandCrab ransomware family has been identified — the GandCrab V4 virus which encrypts sensitive data with the .KRAB extension. The security reports indicate that it uses a similar infection strategy as the former releases. At the moment there is no information about the hacker or group behind the ongoing attacks.

Once the GandCrab V4 infection has been placed onto the target computers the built-in malicious engine will mask itself as a legitimate WIndows service. This is done by renaming itself as a Windows component which is placed in a system folder. This is connected to the persistent installation mechanism. The instances have been found to create Windows Registry entries for themselves. This leads to the virus’s automatic start each the computer is booted.

When the virus manipulates strings related to the operating system overall computer performance may suffer. If the engine manipulates entries belonging to user-installed software then certain functions and features can be disabled.

The GandCrab v4 virus uses as a modular engine which can be further customized by the hackers according to the targets. There are several options that the criminals can utilize:

  • Data Gathering — The ransomware engine can be ordered to start collecting sensitive data about the users and their machines. The hackers can program the virus engine to extract information about the users, revealing their identity. Example information includes their name, address, telephone number, location, interests and etc.
  • System Modification — The hackers can commit all kinds of system changes that can include the Windows Registry, system boot options and etc.
  • Data Recovery Prevention — By removing the identified Shadow Volume Copies of sensitive user data, the users will have to use a professional-grade data recovery application. Refer to our recovery instructions for more information on effective recovery.

In addition the GandCrab V4 virus can be used to create a connection to the hacker-controlled server. It is used to lead to a Trojan like infection by reporting them to the criminal operators and spying on users in real time. This engine can be used to take over control of the affected machines upon request.

Once all modules have completed execution the threat will call the ransomware engine. The GandCrab V4 virus will first scan the host for certain user file types. The GandCrab V4 virus uses a built-in list, an example one can target the following data:

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

All victim data is renamed with the .KRAB extension. Upon completion of this module a ransomware note will be generated. At the moment there are two versions available: the note can be named CRAB-DECRYPT.txt or KRAB-DECRYPT.txt. They read the following:

–= GANDCRAB V4 =—
Attention!
All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .KRAB
The only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key. Only we can give you this key 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.
ATTENTION!
IN ORDER TO PREVENT DATA DAMAGE:
* DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES
* DO NOT CHANGE DATA BELOW
—BEGIN GANDCRAB KEY—
—END GANDCRAB KEY—
—BEGIN PC DATA—
—END PC DATA—

Remove GANDCRAB V4 Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cyber criminals does not really solve your problem with GANDCRAB V4 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 V4 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 V4 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 V4- Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with GANDCRAB V4 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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