How to get rid of Gate ransomware?

Also Known As: Gate virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Gate ransomware removal instructions

What is Gate ransomware?

Gate belongs to the Dharma ransomware family. It is designed to encrypt files, modify their filenames and provide victims with instructions on how to contact its developers (and some other details). Gate renames encrypted files by adding victim's ID, lockhelp@qq.com email address and appending the ".gate" extension to their filenames. For example, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[lockhelp@qq.com].gate", and so on. Aldo, Gate provides with a ransom note in a pop-up window and a text file named "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt".

To get instructions on how to contact Gate's developers victims are encouraged to write an email to lockhelp@qq.com and provide the assigned ID. They supposed to do that as soon as possible because price of a decryption tool depends on how fast these cyber criminals will be contacted. Before making a payment victims can send them 1 file that they should decrypt for free. It is common that ransomware developers offer a free decryption of one or several files as a proof that they have a tool (or tools) that can decrypt victim's files. Unfortunately, in most cases cyber criminals behind a particular ransomware are the only ones who have tools that can decrypt files encrypted by their ransomware. It applies to Gate ransomware too - there are no other tools that could decrypt files encrypted by Gate, at least not at the moment. It common that cyber criminals do not send decryption tools even if victims pay them a ransom. Therefore, cyber criminals (ransomware developers) cannot be trusted. As a rule, the only way to recover encrypted files for free is to restore them from a backup. It is worthwhile to mention that removal of ransomware prevents it from causing further encryptions, however, files remain encrypted even after its uninstallation.

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

Gate decrypt instructions (pop-up window)

More examples of ransomware-type software are Tongda2000, R44s and DECP. As a rule, software of this type encrypts victim's data and creates (and/or displays) a ransom note that contains instructions on how to contact its developers, pay a ransom and/or other information. Two most common variables are size of a ransom and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses for data encryption. In most cases it is possible to decrypt encrypted files without tools that only cyber criminals have only if ransomware has some bugs, flaws, it is not finished. Unfortunately, it does not happen. That is why data should be always backed up and kept on some remote server like Cloud and/or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is common that various malware is distributed through Trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy software download channels, software 'cracking' tools and fake software updaters. Trojans are malicious programs that are designed to install other programs of this kind (malware). However, it can happen only when a computer is infected with a Trojan. Spam campaigns are used to spread malicious software via email attachments and/or website links that download malicious files. Typically, cyber criminals send emails that contain attachments such as Microsoft Office, PDF documents, executable files (like .exe), archive files like RAR, ZIP or JavaScript files, and hope that recipients will open/execute them. If opened, those files install high-risk malware. Untrustworthy file and software download channels like Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), free file hosting websites, third party downloaders, freeware download pages, unofficial websites, etc., can be used as tools to spread malicious software as well. Cyber criminals host, upload malicious files and wait until someone will download, and open/execute them. When opened, those files infect computers with malware. Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools supposed to activate paid software for free. However, quite often they infect operating systems with malicious programs instead. Unofficial updating tools infect systems by downloading (and installing) malware instead of updating installed software, or by exploiting its bugs, flaws, or other vulnerabilities.

Threat Summary:
Name Gate virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .gate
Ransom Demanding Message FILES ENCRYPTED.txt and pop-up window
Cyber Criminal Contact lockhelp@qq.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.31892848), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GSCU), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.DelShad.ctn), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Company Utilize Storing (its name may vary)
Symptoms Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand payment of a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads
Damage All 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 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?

Irrelevant emails that contain attachments and/or website links, are received from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be trusted. Their contents should opened only when there is not reason to believe that it may be not safe. Files and programs should not be downloaded and/or installed software through third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages and other channels that are mentioned in the previous paragraph. It should be done by using official websites and direct links. Also, installed software must be updated and/or activated via tools or functions that are designed, provided by official developers. Other (third party) tools can be used to spread malware. Besides, it is not legal to bypass activation of licensed software with various unofficial tools. One more way to keep operating systems safe is to regularly scan them with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and always remove detected threats as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with Gate, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Gate ransomware's 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 lockhelp@qq.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:lockhelp@qq.com
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.
hxxps://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
hxxp://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins/
Attention!
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 Gate's text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

Gate ransomware text file (FILES ENCRYPTED.txt)

Text in this note:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email lockhelp@qq.com

Screenshot of files encrypted by Gate (".gate" extension):

Files encrypted by Gate ransomware (.gate extension)

Gate's malicious process running in Task Manager as "Company Utilize Storing" (its name may vary):

gate ransomware company utilize storing malicious process

Gate 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 Gate 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 Gate 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 Gate 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 Gate 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 Gate, 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 Gate 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, and 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 Gate 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Gate 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 Gate virus on your mobile device.
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