GandCrab 5.1 Ransomware

Also Known As: GandCrab 5.1 virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

GandCrab 5.1 ransomware removal instructions

What is GandCrab 5.1?

Discovered by TMMalAnalyst, GandCrab 5.1 is a new variant of the GANDCRAB ransomware family. This is a high-risk virus designed to encrypt data and deliver a ransom message within the "[victim's_ID]-DECRYPT.txt" file on modified desktop wallpapers. The new text file is placed in all existing folders. The ransomware renames the filenames of all encrypted files by adding a new extension containing a unique victim ID. For example, if the victim's ID is ".hjnakliq", GandCrab 5.1 renames a file called "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.hjnakliq", and so on.

The modified desktop wallpaper states that files have been encrypted using a strong encryption algorithm. To restore files, users are encouraged to purchase a 'decryptor' (decryption tool). Instructions about how to purchase this tool are provided within the "[victim's_ID]-DECRYPT.txt" text file. As mentioned, this file can be found in each existing folder. According to the ransom note, this file should not be deleted until the data is recovered/decryption tool is purchased. It is also stated that only the cyber criminals who developed this ransomware can provide that tool. To obtain it, GandCrab 5.1 victims must download the Tor browser and open the link provided. Further instructions are displayed on the website. First, the link opens an "Authentication" website required to find and upload a "*-DECRYPT.txt" or "*-DECRYPT.HTML" file ("*" is an addition, a unique ID of the encrypted file). It is stated that none of the encrypted files should be renamed and the site displays another page containing more details regarding payment details and so on. As stated on this website, the cost of the decryption tool ("GandCrab decryptor") is $1200, however, if the payment is not received by the specified date and time, which can be found at the top of the site, the cost will be doubled. The ransom must be paid by transferring the equivalent amount of cryptocurrency (Bitcoin or DASH) to a wallet address provided. It is not clear which cryptography algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) GandCrab 5.1 ransomware developers use to encrypt victims' data, however, most cyber criminals use strong encryptions that cannot be 'cracked'. Therefore, it is accurate to state that only they have tools required for decryption. Most cyber criminals use cryptographies that generate unique keys, which are usually stored on remote servers and can only be accessed by specific ransomware developers. Note that cyber criminals can never be trusted. On the contrary, they often ignore victims once they receive ransom payments. Since there are no tools capable of decryption, the only free solution is to use a backup and restore files from there.

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

GandCrab 5.1 decrypt instructions

GandCrab 5.1 is similar to other computer infections of this type such as Anatova, Ppam, Jundmd@cock.li, and many others. These programs usually encrypt data and attempt to blackmail victims (make ransom demands). Common differences between them are cost of decryption tools and cryptography used for encryption. Unfortunately, decryption without the involvement of cyber criminals is usually impossible, unless the ransomware contains bugs/flaws or is still in development. Therefore, maintain regular backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

One of the distribution methods used to proliferate GandCrab 5.1 is spam email campaigns. Cyber criminals send emails that contain malicious attachments, usually an archive that contains a malicious JavaSript file. The main purpose is to trick email recipients to open the attachment, which then results in download and installation of a computer infection. If opened, the JavaScript file triggers the installation process of GandCrab 5.1 ransomware. Cyber criminals also use fake software updaters, trojans and untrustworthy software download sources to proliferate ransomware-type infections. Fake software updaters offer fixes for various software bugs, however, they simply download and install computer infections. In other cases, they exploit bugs/flaws of installed, outdated software. Trojans are malicious programs that, when installed, cause chain infections - they are capable of installing other infections such as ransomware. Third party software download sources such as peer-to-peer networks (torrents, eMule etc.), freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, and unofficial/third party software downloaders are used to trick people into downloading and installing malicious software rather than the expected, legitimate apps and programs. Using these sources, cyber criminals often trick users into installing viruses.

Threat Summary:
NameGandCrab 5.1 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.
Removal

To eliminate GandCrab 5.1 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?

Avoid opening attachments or web links that are presented in emails received from unknown, suspicious addresses or when the email itself is irrelevant. Download software using official, trustworthy sources and direct links, rather than the dubious sources mentioned earlier. Update your software using tools or implemented functions that are provided by official developers only. Have reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed and enabled - these tools can detect and remove viruses before they can do any damage to the operating system. If your computer is already infected with GandCrab 5.1, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in GandCrab 5.1 ransomware text file ("[victim's_ID]-DECRYPT.txt"):

---= GANDCRAB V5.1 =---

***********************UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT DELETE THIS FILE, UNTIL ALL YOUR DATA IS RECOVERED***********************

*****FAILING TO DO SO, WILL RESULT IN YOUR SYSTEM CORRUPTION, IF THERE ARE DECRYPTION ERRORS*****

Attention!

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

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 - https://www.torproject.org/

| 1. Install Tor browser
| 2. Open Tor Browser
| 3. Open link in TOR browser: http://gandcrabmfe6mnef.onion/da9ad04e1e857d00
| 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.


ATTENTION!

IN ORDER TO PREVENT DATA DAMAGE:

* DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES
* DO NOT CHANGE DATA BELOW

---BEGIN GANDCRAB KEY---
******
---END GANDCRAB KEY---

---BEGIN PC DATA---
******
---END PC DATA---

Screenshot of GandCrab 5.1 desktop wallpaper:

GandCrab 5.1 wallpaper

Text presented in wallpaper:

ENCRYPTED BY GANDCRAB 5.1
DEAR [username]
YOUR FILES ARE UNDER STRONG PROTECTION BY OUR SOFTWARE. IN ORDER TO RESTORE IT YOU MUST BUY DECRYPTOR
For further steps read [victim's_ID]-DECRYPT.txt that is located in every encrypted folder

Screenshot of GandCrab 5.1 website (Authentication):

grandcrab 5.1 ransomware authentication website

Text presented on Authentication page:

Authentication

For authorization find and upload *-DECRYPT.txt or *-DECRYPT.html.
* - is extension of encrypted files.

File name and content should not be changed

Screenshot of GandCrab 5.1 ransomware main page:

grandcrab5.1 website payment part

Text presented in this page:

If the payment isn't made until 1/18/2019, 11:11:06 AM, the cost of decrypting files will be doubled
Countdown to double price: 1 day, 00:44:24
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 - 1200 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: 1200 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:

BuyBitcoin
CoinMonitor.io
LocalBitcoins
CoinMama
Changelly.com
PAYEER
CEX.IO

The full list of exchange services for Bitcoin here and for DASH here.

Create an account
Charge the balance with a credit card or paypal
Buy requested amount of coins (Bitcoin or DASH)
Make withdrawal to our address

Attention
Don't delete file *-DECRYPT.txt before full restore of your PC.

Screenshot of files encrypted by GandCrab 5.1 (in our example, with the ".hjnakliq" extension):

Files encrypted by GandCrab 5.1

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 5.1 ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of GandCrab 5.1 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 5.1 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 5.1 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 5.1 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 5.1 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 5.1 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 5.1, 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 5.1 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 5.1 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 pcrisk.com 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 virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

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

QR Code
GandCrab 5.1 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 5.1 virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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