Dharma-Gif Ransomware

Also Known As: Dharma-Gif virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Dharma-Gif ransomware removal instructions

What is Dharma-Gif?

Discovered by Jakub Kroustek, Dharma-Gif is another variant of Dharma ransomware. This malicious program is designed to encrypt data stored on a computer and allows developers to blackmail victims by demanding ransom payments. Dharma-Gif renames all encrypted files by adding the ".id-[victim's_ID].[payadobe@yahoo.com].gif" extension (which contains a unique victim ID and the email address of the developers). For example, a file before encryption might be named "1.jpg" and, after, becomes "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[payadobe@yahoo.com].gif". Dharma-Gif ransomware is also designed to open a ransom demand pop-up window and a ransom message within a file called "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt".

The "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" file contains a short ransom message stating that all of the user's files has been encrypted (locked) and to decrypt them, Dharma-Gif's developers must be contacted via the payadobe@yahoo.com or btc2019@airmail.cc email addresses. A ransom demand pop-up window informs Dharma-Gif victims that the computer was infected due to a 'security breach'. To receive a tool for decryption, victims are encouraged to contact cyber criminals via one of the aforementioned email addresses and provide the assigned ID. The cost of this tool is not specified, however, this apparently depends on how quickly victims make contact with the developers. It is stated that the amount must be paid in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. People responsible for this ransomware offer victims free decryption of one file as 'proof' that they are capable of providing the required decryption tool. They also warn victims not to use any other tools or help from third parties, since this might cause permanent data loss or increase the cost of decryption. Note that cyber criminals cannot be trusted, since they often ignore victims and provide no decryption tools or keys. Cyber criminals often use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that generate unique keys. Therefore, only they can provide these decryption tools or keys. They store them on remote servers accessible only by them. If a computer is infected with ransomware, the only free solution is to use a data backup and to restore files from there.

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

Dharma-Gif decrypt instructions

The number of ransomware-type programs is growing daily. Most encrypt data and developers use them to blackmail victims by making ransom demands. The programs might differ slightly in terms of cost of decryption key/tool (ransom size) and cryptography algorithm used to encrypt data stored on a computer. Some examples of other similar ransomware infections include GandCrab 5.1, Obfuscated, and Anatova. Unfortunately, most of these programs encrypt data using cryptographies that are impossible to 'crack' without using a specific decryption tool or key. Therefore, ransomware victims are forced to contact developers. In some rare cases, programs are not fully developed or have bugs/flaws and can be 'cracked'. To avoid data loss, however, we recommend that you create regular backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices. Otherwise ransomware-type program are able to encrypt backup files together with other data stored on the system.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, ransomware-type malicious programs such as Dharma-Gif are proliferated via spam email campaigns, trojans (other malicious programs), fake software updaters and various dubious software download sources. Spam campaigns proliferate computer infections through emails that include malicious attachments. These are Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive, executable files, and so on. They might also include web links that lead to these infected files. Once opened, they download and install ransomware-type or other malicious programs. Another way to proliferate infections is through Trojans. These programs proliferate other malware. If installed, they cause chain infections. Untrustworthy software download tools such as P2P (peer-to-peer) networks (eMule, torrents, etc.), freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, third party downloaders, and so on infect computers by presenting malicious software/files as legitimate. Using these channels, many people are tricked into downloading and installing ransomware and other infections. Fake software updaters damage systems by exploiting bugs and flaws of outdated software or by downloading and installing malicious programs rather than the expected (promised) updates and fixes.

Threat Summary:
NameDharma-Gif 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 malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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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 keep computers safe from infiltration by Dharma-Gif and other high-risk infections, take precautions when browsing the web, downloading, installing and updating software. Website links and attachments presented in emails received from unknown, suspicious email addresses should not be opened (or clicked). We also advise you to download software using official and trustworthy sources. Avoid third party downloaders, unofficial/dubious websites, peer-to-peer networks, and so on. Cyber criminals often use these sources to proliferate rogue apps that might provoke various computer infections. It is important to keep software updated, however, this should be done using implemented functions or tools provided by official developers only. Reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware software can prevent damage to systems by detecting and removing viruses early. Keep these anti-virus packages installed and enabled. If your computer is already infected with Dharma-Gif, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Dharma-Gif ransomware pop-up window:

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail payadobe@yahoo.com
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:btc2019@airmail.cc
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
How to obtain Bitcoins
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click 'Buy bitcoins', and select the seller by payment method and price.
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Screenshot of Dharma-Gif text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

Dharma-Gif text file

Text presented in the text file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email payadobe@yahoo.com or btc2019@airmail.cc

Screenshot of files encrypted by Dharma-Gif (".id-[victim's_ID].[payadobe@yahoo.com].gif" extension):

Files encrypted by Dharma-Gif

Dharma-Gif ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: 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 malware. 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 Dharma-Gif 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 Dharma-Gif 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 Dharma-Gif 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 Dharma-Gif 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 Dharma-Gif, 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 Dharma-Gif 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 Dharma-Gif 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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Dharma-Gif 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 Dharma-Gif virus on your mobile device.
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