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:
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.
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 mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do not receive a response from this mail within 24 hours,
then write to the subsidiary:email@example.com
Screenshot of GIBON admin website:
Screenshot of files encrypted by GIBON (".encrypt" extension):
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:
- What is GIBON?
- STEP 1. GIBON virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. GIBON ransomware removal using System Restore.
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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
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.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
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).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
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.
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 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.
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:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- 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: