GIBON Ransomware

Also Known As: GIBON virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

GIBON ransomware removal instructions

What is GIBON?

GIBON is a ransomware-type virus discovered by security researcher, Matthew Mesa. This malware is distributed via a malicious MS Office document attached to spam emails. The document contains a number of macro commands designed to download and install malware. Once infiltrated, GIBON encrypts stored data and appends the ".encrypt" extension to each filename. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.encrypt". Following successful encryption, GIBON creates two files ("desktop.ini.encrypt" and "READ_ME_NOW.txt"), placing them in each existing folder.

The new text file contains a message informing users of the encryption and encouraging them to contact GIBON's developers via an email address provided. They then supposedly receive decryption instructions. At time of writing, it is unconfirmed whether GIBON uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. In either case, however, a unique decryption key is generated for each victim. Restoring files without the key is impossible. Criminals store this key on a remote server and users are encouraged to pay a ransom to receive it. The cost is also currently unknown, however, cyber criminals usually demand between $500 and 1500 in Bitcoins. No matter how low the cost, these cyber criminals should never be trusted. Research shows that these people often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. There is a high probability that paying will not deliver any positive result and you will be scammed. We strongly advise you to ignore all requests to contact these people or pay any ransoms. Fortunately, Michael Gillespie has developed a tool capable of restoring files encrypted by GIBON free of charge (download link). Therefore, there is no need to obey any instructions that criminals give. If, however, your computer has been infected with undecryptable ransomware, the only solution is to restore your files/system from a backup.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:

GIBON decrypt instructions

There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses virtually identical to GIBON. The list of examples includes (but is not limited to) Hacking, Gr3g, Asasin, Crypto Tyrant, and Master. All are developed by different cyber criminals, however, their behavior is identical. As with GIBON, these viruses also encrypt stored files and make ransom demands. Research shows that the only major differences are size of ransom and type encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, most employ algorithms (e.g., RSA, AES, etc.) that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the malware is not fully developed or contains bugs/flaws (e.g., stores the key locally or is hard-coded), restoring files manually without involvement of the developers (not recommended) is impossible. For these reasons, viruses such as GIBON present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. Note also that backups should be stored on remote servers (e.g., Cloud) or a remote (unplugged) hard drive, otherwise your backup drives will also be encrypted.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

As mentioned above, GIBON is promoted via spam emails, however, these viruses are also often proliferated via fake software updaters, unofficial software distribution sources, and trojans. Fake software updaters infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws. Third party software download sources (e.g., freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, torrents, etc.) often present malicious executables as legitimate software, thereby tricking users into downloading and installing malware. Trojans work very simply - they merely open "gates" for malware to infiltrate the system. The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
NameGIBON virus
Threat TypeRansomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
SymptomsCan't open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension, for example my.docx.locked. A ransom demanding message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals are asking to pay a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Distribution methodsInfected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
DamageAll files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.

To eliminate GIBON virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Never open files received from suspicious email addresses - these emails should be deleted without reading. Furthermore, download your software from official sources only using a direct download link (third party download/installation tools often install malicious apps). In addition, keep installed applications up-to-date and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware software, but bear in mind that criminals employ fake updaters to proliferate malware. Therefore, using a third party tool to update apps is very risky. The key to computer safety is caution.

Text presented in GIBON ransomware text file ("READ_ME_NOW.txt"):

Attention! All the files are encrypted!
To restore the files, write to the
If you do not receive a response from this mail within 24 hours,
then write to the

Screenshot of GIBON admin website:

GIBON website

Screenshot of files encrypted by GIBON (".encrypt" extension):

Files encrypted by GIBON

Screenshot of GIBON decrypter developed by Michael Gillespie (download link):

GIBON decrypter

GIBON ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of GIBON virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of GIBON virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

Step 1

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the GIBON virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.

Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":

1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the GIBON ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining GIBON ransomware files.

To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of GIBON are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.

To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.

To regain control of the files encrypted by GIBON, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

To protect your computer from file encryption ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as GIBON ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.

Controll Folder Access

Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here is more information on how to get this update and add an additional protection layer from ransomware infections.

HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.

Other tools known to remove GIBON ransomware:

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
GIBON virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of GIBON virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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