Remove .GFS Ransomware — Restore Your Computer

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

The .GFS ransomware virus is a new sample belonging to the GEFEST family of threats. It is designed by an unknown hacker collective which does not give out details about the planned attack campaigns. Various methods are used in order to lead to a large number of affected users. As it is based on a modular framework each subsequent campaign can feature distinct malicious components. We presume that a standard infection procedure will begin as soon as the intrusion has been made.

A classic scenario is the one where data harvesting will begin in order to acquire both personal information and data about the infected machines. Many advanced ransomware samples like the .GFS virus may also disable existing security software and cause performance disruptions. GEFEST ransomware threats are also capable of installing themselves in a persistent way which will make it automatically run when the computer is powered on.

The end goals of this virus is to encrypt target user data and blackmail the victims to pay a ransomware decryption fee. This process follows a built-in list of target file types which will be processed by a strong cipher. The .GFS extension will be applied to all victim files.

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

.GFS Ransomware virus is a new data locker ransomware that has been released in active attack campaigns against computer users worldwide. The threat could be utilizing common tactics of distribution to infect computer systems.

One of the easiest ways for the criminals to spread the payload of .GFS Ransomware 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 .GFS Ransomware crypto virus. Another 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 .GFS Ransomware 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 .GFS Ransomware 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 .GFS Ransomware Ransomware Virus

The .GFS is a new ransomware sample that has just been announced in a security report. It is based on a modular engine and distributed by an unknown hacker collective or individual malicious actor. At the moment the collected samples seem to indicate a test release containing only the base encryption module. We expect to see an update version which will probably use a classic infection pattern.

The ransomware samples may begin the infection process by calling a data collection command. It has the ability to harvest data into that can be grouped into two categories:

  • Anonymous Data — The engine can collect various information that in the end is used to create an unique machine ID. This value is used to differentiate the infected computers from each other. The ID is made up of values associated with the installed hardware components, certain user settings and operating system variables. Using a special algorithm parts of all of these data is computed and the resulting ID is made.
  • Private Data — Information that can reveal the identity of the users is also collected by the engine. This may include strings such as their full name and personal details like their interests, phone numbers, email accounts and even stored passwords for online services. There is a serious risk of abuse as such pieces of information can be used to perform identity theft and financial abuse.

This information can then be used by the next module that is run during the behavior pattern — security bypass. It will scan the system for any running security software that can interfere with the virus payload. Common forms include anti-virus programs, virtual machine hosts and debug environments. When they are disabled the main ransomware engine will be able to infect all parts of the operating system.

Usually the Windows Registry changes will follow next. The engine can modify values belonging to the operating system and third-party applications. Depending on the type of Registry entries the resulting effects may be different — from troubles starting certain functions to serious performance issues.

The .GFS can also be instructed into creating registry values for itself. This is done in combination with other modifications and is related to the persistent installation of the ransomware. The engine will be started automatically when the computer is powered on. An additional effect of this change is that the victims may not be able to able to boot into the recovery boot menu.

To prevent effective recovery the engine can be programmed to delete important system data. Contents includes Shadow Volume Copies and System Restore Points is deleted in order to make recovery much more difficult.

Some infections can also install a separate Trojan module. In most cases this will set up an encrypted connection to a hacker-controlled server which will be maintained during the infection’s duration. It would allow the operators to spy on the victim users in real-time, steal their files and also deliver additional viruses.

When all of the devised steps have been executed the actual encryption process will be started. The .GFS like all previous versions will follow the typical infection pattern. This model will target specific user data according to a built-in list of target file type extensions that will be processed by a strong cipher. A typical list will feature the following file type extensions:

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

The resulting files will be renamed with the .GFS extension. The crafted ransomware note is called “HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.txt” and it reads the following:

Your files has been encrypted using RSA2048 algorithm with unique public-key stored on your PC.

There is only one way to get your files back: contact with us, pay, and get decryptor software.

We accept Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, you can find exchangers on bestbitcoinexchange.io

You have unique idkey , write it in letter when contact with us.

Also you can decrypt 1 file for test, its guarantee what we can decrypt your files.

Attention!

Do not rename encrypted files.

Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.

Contact information:

primary email: [email protected]

reserve email: [email protected]

Your unique idkey:

Remove .GFS Ransomware Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cyber criminals does not really solve your problem with .GFS Ransomware 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 .GFS Ransomware 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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.GFS Ransomware 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 .GFS Ransomware 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.
  • 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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