GANDCRAB Ransomware

Also Known As: GandCrab virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

GANDCRAB ransomware removal instructions


GANDCRAB is another ransomware-type virus distributed using RigEK toolkit. Once infiltrated, encrypts most stored data and adds the ".GDCB" extension to the name of each compromised file. From this point, files become unusable. Immediately after encryption, GANDCRAB generates a "GDCB-DECRYPT.txt" file and places a copy in every existing folder. GANDCRAB's developers have released a number of different GANDCRAB's versions. The list includes: GANDCRAB V2.0, GANDCRAB 3, GANDCRAB V5.0, GANDCRAB 5.0.2, GANDCRAB V5.0.3, GANDCRAB 5.0.4, GANDCRAB 5.0.5, GANDCRAB 5.0.7, GANDCRAB 5.0.8, GANDCRAB 5.0.9, GANDCRAB 5.1.0, GANDCRAB 5.1.4, GANDCRAB 5.1.5, GANDCRAB V5.1.6. All of these viruses behave exactly the same - encrypt data and make ransom demands. The main differences are: added file extension, ransom text, website's design, price and cryptocurrency wallet.

The new text file contains information regarding the current situation and instructs victims what to do next. To decrypt data, victims must open a Tor web page and follow the instructions within. The website states that decryption requires a unique key, which is stored on a remote server controlled by GANDCRAB's developers. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. Although it is currently unknown whether GANDCRAB uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, in all cases, file decryption without the key is impossible. Therefore, victims are encouraged to pay 1.5 Dash (cryptocurrency), currently equivalent to ~$1130. GANDCRAB is the first ransomware so far that accepts Dash coins. Once the ransom is paid, the decryption key is supposedly released. Be aware, however, that cyber criminals cannot be trusted. The cost is high and criminals are likely to ignore victims once payment is submitted. For these reasons, you are advised never to contact these people or pay any ransoms. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by GANDCRAB. Therefore, the only solution is to restore everything from a backup.

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

GANDCRAB decrypt instructions

GANDCRAB is a regular ransomware and shares many similarities with InsaneCrypt, Velso, Rapid, Cyber Police, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. As with GANDCRAB, these malware infections also encrypt stored files and make ransom demands. In most cases, the only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithms used. Research shows that, unfortunately, most of these viruses employ algorithms (e.g., RSA, AES, and so on) that generate unique decryption keys. Thus, unless ransomware has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar), restoring files manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Viruses such as GANDCRAB present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups, however, note that storing backup files locally is not safe - ransomware encrypts them as with any other file. Backups must be stored on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged external storage.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware-type viruses are proliferated in various ways, however, the most popular five are: 1) spam emails; 2) unofficial software download sources; 3) peer-to-peer [P2P] networks; 4) fake software updaters, and; 5) trojans. Spam emails often contain malicious attachments, such as JavaScript files, MS Office documents, etc. Once opened, these attachments stealthily download/install malware. Third party software download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, etc.) and P2P networks (eMule, torrents, and so on) proliferate malicious executables by presenting them as legitimate software. Users are tricked into downloading/installing malware. Fake software updaters infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or downloading malware rather than software updates. Trojans are the simplest ones - they merely open "backdoors" for other high-risk viruses to infiltrate the system.

Threat Summary:
NameGandCrab 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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
▼ Download Malwarebytes
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. Therefore, to prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Be aware that files received from suspicious email addresses should never be downloaded or opened. These emails should be deleted without reading. You are also advised to download your applications from official/trusted sources only, using direct download links (unofficial downloaders/installers often include rogue software). Use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and keep installed applications up-to-date, however, since criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, use implemented update functions or tools provided by the official developer only. The key to computer safety is caution.

Deceptive spam email message distributing this ransomware through infected attachments:

grandcrab ransomware distributed via spam emails

Text presented in GANDCRAB ransomware text file ("GDCB-DECRYPT.txt"):

---= GANDCRAB =---

All your files documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .GDCB
The only method of recovering files is to purchase a private key. It is on our server 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:
1. Download Tor browser - hxxps://
2. Install Tor browser
3. Open Tor Browser
4. Open link in tor browser: hxxp://gdcbghvjyqy7jclk.onion/113737081e857d00
5. Follow the instructions on this page

If Tor/Tor browser is locked in your country or you can not install it, open one of the following links in your regular browser:
1. hxxp://
2. hxxp://
3. hxxp://
4. hxxp://
5. hxxp://

On our page you will see instructions on payment and get the opportunity to decrypt 1 file for free.

Do not try to modify files or use your own private key - this will result in the loss of your data forever!

Screenshot of GANDCRAB website:

GANDCRAB website

Text presented in this website:

- GandCrab -

But don't worry, you can return all your files! We can help you!
Below you can choose one of your encrypted file from your PC and decrypt him, it is test decryptor for you.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free.

If you have any problems to decrypt test file, please try later, sorry but we have very big request for test files, also use free support service, we can help you.

Max. file size: 2 ?b. Allowed files: txt, jpg/jpeg, jpeg, bmp, png, gif.
Don't try use third-party decryptor tools!
Because this will destroy your files!

What do your need?
You need GandCrab Decryptor.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files and will delete GandCrab from your PC.
For purchase you need crypto-currency DASH (1 DASH = 762.297 $).
How to buy this currency you can read it here.
How much money your need to pay? Below we are specified amount and our wallet for payment
1.5 DASH (1200 USD)
-DASH address for payment-
This process is fully automated, all payments is instant.
After your payment, please refresh this page and you can download here GandCrab Decryptor!
If you have any questions, please, don't hesitate, and write in our Support service 24/7.

Screenshot of files encrypted by GANDCRAB (".GDCB" extension):

Files encrypted by GANDCRAB

Update 19 December, 2018 - As mentioned above, GANDCRAB has been updated more than 10 times and recently it was updated again. The currently newest version is GANDCRAB V5.1.6.

Screenshot of the GANDCRAB V5.1.6's text file:

GANDCRAB V5.1.6 Ransom note

Text presented within this file:

---=    GANDCRAB V5.1.6  =---




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

The only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key. Only we can give you this key 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 - hxxps://

| 1. Install Tor browser
| 2. Open Tor Browser
| 3. Open link in TOR browser:   hxxp://gandcrabmfe6mnef.onion/113737081e857d00                        
| 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.






Screenshot of GANDCRAB V5.1.6's website:

GANDCRAB V5.1.6 website

Text presented within this site:

If the payment isn't made until 3/8/2018, 10:45:13 AM, the cost of decrypting files will be doubled
Countdown to double price: Time is up. Price is doubled!
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 - 800 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: 800 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:
The full list of exchange services for Bitcoin here and for DASH here.
Don't delete file *-DECRYPT.txt before full restore of your PC.

Screenshot of GANDCRAB V5.1.6's desktop wallpaper:

GANDCRAB V5.1.6 desktop wallpaper

Screenshot of files encrypted by GANDCRAB 5.1.6 ("vmqzgdnmuz" extension):

GANDCRAB V5.1.6 encrypting files

Update February 19, 2019 - Bitdefender has recently released a decryption tool capable of restoring data encrypted by GandCrab V1, V4, and all V5 versions (up to 5.1). Therefore, victims can decrypt their data easily without paying cyber criminals. You can find more information in this article and you can download the decryptor by clicking this link.

Screenshot of Bitdefender's GandCrab decryptor:

GandCrab ransomware decryption tool by Bitdefender

GANDCRAB ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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 GANDCRAB 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 GANDCRAB 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 GANDCRAB 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 GANDCRAB 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 GANDCRAB, 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 GANDCRAB 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 GANDCRAB 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
GandCrab 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 GandCrab virus on your mobile device.
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