Remove GandCrab 5.0.4 Ransomware Virus — Restore Your Computer

An infection with the dangerous GANDCRAB 5.0.4 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 5.0.4 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 5.0.4 Ransomware Virus

GandCrab 5.0.4 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 5.0.4 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.

Previous versions of the GandCrab ransomware family were found to make abuse systems by leveraging the CVE-2018-8120 vulnerability. This is a critical issue found in both desktop and server versions of the Windows operating system allowing hackers to run arbitrary code (the virus code) in kernel mode. The consequences of this is that the installed code will have complete access to the compromised system.

Other methods used by the malicious actor behind GandCrab 5.0.4 include 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 5.0.4 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 5.0.4 ransomware virus infection in the end.

Impact of GANDCRAB 5.0.4 Ransomware Virus

The GandCrab 5.0.4 ransomware is a dangerous infection which follows closely the behavior patterns of previous versions. The security analysis reveals that the same modules are run and that there are only slight differences in operations. At the onset of infection a modular infection will follow.

One of the first components that are run are the data harvesting and stealth protection which are run in a sequence. This is one of the most important steps of infection as they guarantee the successful virus intrusion:

  • Data Harvesting — The ransomware will scan for strings that can reveal sensitive information using an automated part of the main infection program. This can lead to the exposure of the victim identities: their name, address, phone number, location, interests and any any stored account credentials. Other data that is acquired through the this process includes a report on the installed hardware components, user settings and operating system variables.
  • Stealth Protection — This module scans the infected hosts for any installed security software that can interfere with the malware execution. The list includes anti-virus programs, sandbox (debug) environments and virtual machine hosts. Their real-time engines and main programs can either be disabled or completely removed.

When they have finished running the GandCrab 5.0.4 ransomware main infection engine will have total control of the system. It will be able to launch several process of its own and attain administrative privileges.

At this stage the system modification components can be downloaded and launch. They are automated and the exact actions that are to be executed will depend on the harvested system details. One of the major components is the start of the Windows Registry Modifications — they can manipulate both the operating system services itself or the user-installed applications. Manipulations of strings belonging to Microsoft Windows values can cause severe performance issues while modification of individual applications can result in the inability to launch certain services belonging to them.

The GandCrab 5.0.4 ransomware is installed as a persistent malware threat — the infection will be automatically start every time the computer is started. This will also block access to the recovery boot menu. The malicious engine can also be configured to delete system data — both the Shadow Volume Copies and System Restore Points can be deleted.

The network connection established with the hacker-controlled servers are used to report the infection. However in some cases this can also lead to a Trojan virus deployment. In these cases the hacker operators will be able to spy on the victims, take over control of their machines and hijack their data.

When all components have completed execution the associated GandCrab 5.0.4 ransomware module will be started. Like previous versions it will use a list of built-in file type extensions that are targeted. An example list will target the following:

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

Previous versions of the GandCrab 5 ransomware are known to process the following extensions:

1st, .602, .7z, .7-zip, .abw, .act, .adoc, .aim, .ans, .apkg, .apt, .arj, .asc, .asc, .ascii, .ase, .aty, .awp, .awt, .aww, .cab, .doc, .docb, .docx, .dotm, .gzip, .iso, .lzh, .lzma, .pot, .potm, .potx, .ppam, .pps, .ppsm, .ppsx, .ppt, .pptm, .pptx, .rar, .sldm, .sldx, .tar, .vbo, .vdi, .vmdk, .vmem, .vmx, .xla, .xlam, .xll, .xlm, .xls, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xlt, .xltm, .xltx, .xlw, .xps, .z, .zip

All victim files will be renamed with a randomly-named 8-character extension. Like previous threats it will also craft an appropriate ransomware note following the template: XXXXXXXX-Decrypt.txt (html).

The ransomware warning text will also be applied to the victim’s desktop.

Remove GandCrab 5.0.4 Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cyber criminals does not really solve your problem with GandCrab 5.0.4 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 5.0.4 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 5.0.4 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 Encrypted Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with GandCrab 5.0.4 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.

DOWNLOAD SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

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


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.
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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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