GANDCRAB 3 Ransomware

Also Known As: GANDCRAB 3 virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

GANDCRAB 3 ransomware removal instructions

What is GANDCRAB 3?

Recently discovered by malware security researcher, Marcelo Rivero, GANDCRAB 3 is a new variant of high-risk ransomware called GANDCRAB V2.0. After successful system infiltration, GANDCRAB 3 encrypts most stored files and appends filenames with the ".CRAB" extension. For example, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.CRAB". Compromised data becomes unusable. Once encryption is complete, GANDCRAB 3 creates a text file ("CRAB-DECRYPT.txt") and places a copy in each existing folder. These features are inherited from a previous GANDCRAB 3 version. Unlike past versions, however, GANDCRAB 3 also changes the desktop wallpaper.

The new desktop wallpaper contains a short message stating that data is encrypted and encourages users to read the text file, which provides detailed information. The text file essentially contains a message stating that data decryption requires a unique key generated individually for each victim. Unfortunately this information is accurate. Although it is currently unknown whether GANDCRAB 3 uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography (this information is not provided), a unique key is necessary to restore data. Developers store all keys on a remote server and blackmail victims for their release - a ransom must be paid. To submit payment, users must follow instructions given on GANDCRAB 3's website. The cost is $1000 and must be paid in Dash or Bitcoin cryptocurrencies. The website also contains a countdown timer. Once it reaches zero, the cost will double. The website also contains a feature allowing users to decrypt a single selected file free of charge. This is supposedly to 'guarantee' that restoring data is possible. Despite their threats and promises, cyber criminals can never be trusted. Note the ransom demand in this case is extremely high (few will pay thousands of dollars, even for their personal files such as music, pictures, etc.) Furthermore, paying typically gives no positive result. Research shows that ransomware developers often ignore victims, once payments are submitted and victims are simply scammed. As well as losing their money, unsuspecting users will support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. For these reasons, never attempt to contact these people and certainly do not submit any payments. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of decrypting data compromised by GANDCRAB 3 and there is just one solution: to restore everything from a backup.

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

GANDCRAB 3 decrypt instructions

GANDCRAB 3 shares many similarities with dozens of other ransomware-type viruses such as 8chan, OBLIVION, Kraken 2.0, and nRansom. These viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, but have identical behavior - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. Ransomware-type viruses typically have just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Most use algorithms designed to generate unique decryption keys (for instance, RSA, AES, etc.) Therefore, decrypting data without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible, unless the malware is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally or similar). Ransomware is one of the main reasons why you should maintain regular data backups, however, it is very important to store them on a remote server or unplugged storage device, otherwise backups are encrypted with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware viruses are proliferated in various ways, however, the most popular five are: 1) spam emails [infectious attachments]; 2) peer-to-peer [P2P] networks; 3) third party software download sources; 4) fake software updaters, and; 5) trojans. Most malicious attachments come in the format of JavaScript files or MS Office documents. Once opened, these attachments execute scripts designed to stealthily download and install malware, whilst P2P networks (torrents, eMule and similar) and other unofficial download sources (freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, etc.) present malware as legitimate software. Therefore, many users are tricked into downloading and installing viruses. Fake updaters infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing viruses rather than updates. Trojans are probably the simplest of all - most do nothing other than open "backdoors" for other high-risk viruses to infiltrate the system. Essentially, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet. Before opening email attachments, ensure that files are relevant and have been received from recognizable/trustworthy email addresses. If not, delete the emails immediately and certainly do not open any file attachments. Furthermore, never use any third party download/installation tools, since they often include rogue apps. Download your software from official sources only, using direct download links. Keep installed applications up-to-date and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite, however, since criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, software should be renewed using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only.

Text presented in GANCRAB 3 ransomware text file :

—= GANDCRAB V3 =—
Attention!
All your files documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .CRAB
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:
0. Download Tor browser – https://www.torproject.org/
1. Install Tor browser
2. Open Tor browser
3. Open link in TOR browser: http://gandcrab2pie73et.onion/
4. 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:

ATTENTION! Use regular browser only to contact us. Buy decryptor only through TOR browser link or Jabber Bot!
On our page you will see instructions on payment and get the opportunity to decrypt 1 file for free.
The alternative way to contact us to use Habber messanger. Read how to:
0. Download Psi-Plus Jabber Client: https://psi-im.org/download/
1. Register new account: https://sj.ms/register.php
0) Enter “username”:
1) Enter “password”: your password
2. Add new account in Psi
3. Add and write Jabber ID: ransomware@sj.ms any message
4. Follow instruction bot
It is a bot! It’s fully automated artificial system without human control!
To contact us use TOR links. We can provide you all required proofs of decryption availability anytime. We are open to conversations.
You can read instructions how to install and use jabber here http://www.sfu.ca/jabber/Psi_Jabber_PC.pdf
DANGEROUS!
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 3 desktop wallpaper:

GANDCRAB 3 wallpaper

Screenshot of GANDCRAB 3 website:

GANDCRAB 3 website

Text presented within this website:

What the matter?

Your computer has been infected with GandCrab Ransomware. Your files have been encrypted and you can't decrypt it by yourself.
In the network, you can probably find decryptors and third-party software, but it won't help you and it only can make your files undecryptable
What can I do to get my files back?

You should buy GandCrab Decryptor. This software will help you to decrypt all of your encrypted files and remove GandCrab Ransomware from your PC.
Current price: $2,000.00. As payment, you need cryptocurrency DASH or Bitcoin
What guarantees can you give to me?

You can use test decryption and decrypt 1 file for free

What is cryptocurrency and how can I purchase GandCrab Decryptor?

You can read more details about cryptocurrency at Google or here.
As payment, you have to buy DASH or Bitcoin using a credit card, and send coins to our address.

How can I pay to you?

You have to buy Bitcoin or DASH using a credit card. Links to services where you can do it: Dash exchanges list, Bitcoin exchanges list
After it, go to our payment page Buy GandCrab Decryptor, choose your payment method and follow the instructions

Screenshot of files encrypted by GANDCRAB 3 (".CRAB" extension):

Files encrypted by GANDCRAB 3

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 3 ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of GANDCRAB 3 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 GANDCRAB 3 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 GANDCRAB 3 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 3 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 3 ransomware files.

To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using the 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 3 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 3, 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 3 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 3 ransomware: