Remove GandCrab v5.1 Ransomware — Restore Your Computer

An infection with the dangerous GandCrab v5.1 ransomware virus leads to serious security issues. It damages computer systems aiming to locate target files and encrypt them with a sophisticated cipher algorithm. As a result, almost all valuable files stored on infected computers are locked and completely inaccessible. The main purpose of this threat is to urge victims to enter a crafted TOR web page where hackers’ demands are presented. With our removal guide, victims can try to secure their computers and restore encrypted files.

Manual Removal Guide
Files Recovery Approaches
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Note for Mac users!
In case that your Mac has been affected by GandCrab v5.1 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 v5.1 Ransomware Virus

GandCrab v5.1 ransomware is an iteration of the devastating cryptovirus GandCrab. Several versions of the same threat have been circling around the globe for more than a year. Recently, version 5.1 of GandCrab is the one that has been released in massive active attack campaigns. As identified by security experts, threat actors are utilizing some of the most popular tactics of distribution to infect computer systems.

One of the methods that may be used by the malicious actors behind GandCrab v5.1 include the coordination of SPAM email messages — they are used to spread the threat 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. When in the form of attached files you could see them presented as documents, archives, images, PDFs and other popular file formats. Since malicious code could be embedded in the code of all these files all you could unintentionally activate the ransomware just by opening them on your device. In the case that the ransomware payload is injected in a web page the email will present a link in the form of URL address, in-text link, banner, button, image or other clickable form.

GandCrab v5.1 infection files 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 document with malicious macros which can take any form: presentation, rich text file, spreadsheet and database. Once it is 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 v5.1 ransomware code.

There is one more spread method detected to be used for the delivery of GandCrab v5.1 ransomware on computer devices. As revealed by security researchers it depends on the activation of malicious Microsoft Word Macros that in turn enable the activation of scripts that enable the data-stealing Ursnif Trojan Horse to run on the machine. Afterward, the Trojan connects a remote command-and-control server to download the payload of GandCrab ransomware.

Ransomware files are also popularly spread by fake user profiles — they can post to community forums or social media accounts. Criminals can utilize both fake or stolen identities to increase the number of infected users.
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 v5.1 ransomware virus infection in the end.

Impact of GandCrab v5.1 Ransomware Virus

The GandCrab v5.1 crypto virus has been identified as an iteration of the notorious GandCrab ransomware. After the release of a series of iterations of this threat, some of which have been successfully decrypted by security researchers, version 5.1 is out.

Like its predecessors, GandCrab v5.1 is primarily used by hackers for the extortion of data decryption ransom fee. The threat is designed to interfere with system settings, hijack legitimate processes, and manipulate system resources in order to locate target types of files and encrypt them with the help of a sophisticated cipher algorithm.

Before GandCrab v5.1 ransomware virus could reach the data encryption stage, it needs to access some basic system settings and apply significant changes to them. The whole process is triggered by a payload file which could land on the device as a code embedded in a document, image, or other well-known file format or as a part of corrupted freeware installer. All other spread methods mentioned in the previous paragraph are also valid.

In the beginning of the attack, this iteration of GandCrab v5.1 ransomware is likely to establish additional malware files and objects on the device. By doing this, it becomes able to continue with the successful contamination of various system settings and target data.
Changes implemented by the ransomware could affect some registry keys stored in the Registry Editor. Among the affected registry keys could be the Run and RunOnce. By adding its malicious values under these keys, GandCrab v5.1 becomes able to manipulate their functionalities. This, in turn, results in the automatic execution of its malicious files on each system start.

After all target system components are infected, GandCrab v5.1 crypto virus activates an inbuilt encryption module that is set to utilize a strong cipher algorithm. With the help of this cipher, the ransomware implements significant changes to the code of target files and renders them inaccessible. Unfortunately, GandCrab v5.1 is a threat that could encrypt almost all types of files that are used for the storage of valuable data like:

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

Following encryption, all corrupted files could be recognized by an extension of several alphanumeric characters as it is appended to their original names. In order to extort a ransom payment from the ransomware drops a file named after the appended extension plus [same symbols as the extension]-DECRYPT.TXT and displays it on the screen. Here is what its content states:

—= GANDCRAB V5.1 =—

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT DELETE THIS FILE, UNTIL ALL YOUR DATA IS RECOVERED
FAILING TO DO SO WIL RESULT IN YOUR SYSTEM CORRUPTION, IF THERE ARE DECRYPTION ERRORS

Attention!

All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension:

The only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key. Only we can give you this key and only 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 http://gandcrabmfe6mnef.onion/ b6314679c4ba3647/
| 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

In addition, the threat could change your desktop wallpaper with another shorter ransom message that informs about its presence and caused impacts.

Apparently, hackers attempt to trick you into entering a specially crafted TOR web page that displays repressive statements:

What’s the matter?
Your computer has been infected with GandCrab Ransomware.
All your files have been encrypted and you are not able to decrypt it by yourself.

To decrypt your files you have to buy GandCrab decryptor
The price is – 500 USD
What can I do to get my files back?
You should buy our software GandCrab Decryptor. It will scan your PC, network share, all connected devices and check for encrypted files and decrypt it. Current price: 500 USD. We accept cryptocurrency DASH and Bitcoin
What guarantees can you give me?
To be sure we have the decryptor and it works you can use free decrypt and decrypt one file for free.
But this file must be an image, because images usually are not valuable.
I don’t have Bitcoin (BTC) or DASH (DSH). How can I make the payment?
Easy. The list of the most popular exchange services:

BuyBitcoin
CoinMonitor.io
LocalBitcoins
CoinMama
Changelly.com
PAYEER
CEX.IO

The full list of exchange services for Bitcoin here and for DASH here.

Create an account
Charge the balance with a credit card or paypal
Buy requested amount of coins (Bitcoin or DASH)
Make withdrawal to our address

The purpose of this page is to convince you into paying hackers a requested ransom of 500 USD in Bitcoin or DASH cryptocurrency. Beware that ransom payment does not guarantee the recovery of your encrypted files. So be advised to check the guide below for some alternative data recovery approaches that may be helpful for files restoration. But before that, ensure that all malicious files and objects are removed from your infected system.

Remove GandCrab v5.1 Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cybercriminals does not really solve your problem with GandCrab v5.1 ransomware 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 v5.1 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 v5.1 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 v5.1 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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    Gergana Ivanova

    Author : Gergana Ivanova

    Gergana Ivanova is computer security enthusiast who enjoys presenting the latest issues related to cyber security.

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