How to remove 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 and is designed to encrypt files, modify their filenames and provide victims with instructions about how to contact the developers (plus some other details). Gate renames encrypted files by adding the victim's ID, lockhelp@qq.com email address and appending the ".gate" extension to filenames. For example, it renames "1.jpg" to a filename such as "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[lockhelp@qq.com].gate", and so on. Gate also provides a ransom message in a pop-up window and within a text file named "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt".

To get instructions about how to contact Gate's developers, victims are encouraged to send an email to lockhelp@qq.com and provide the assigned ID. They are urged to do this immediately, since the cost of a decryption tool depends on how quickly these cyber criminals are contacted. Before making payment, victims are permitted to send one file, which will be decrypted and returned free of charge. Ransomware developers commonly offer free decryption of one or several files as 'proof' that they have tools to recover files. Unfortunately, in most cases, only the cyber criminals behind specific ransomware have tools that can decrypt files compromised by their ransomware. This also applies to Gate ransomware. No other tools can recover files encrypted by Gate. Despite this, cyber criminals often send no decryption tools, even if victims pay the ransom. Therefore, cyber criminals (ransomware developers) can never be trusted. Generally, the only way to recover encrypted files free of charge is to restore them from a backup. Note that removal of ransomware prevents it from causing further encryption, however, files remain encrypted even after 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 include Tongda2000, R44s and DECP. Generally, software of this type encrypts data and creates/displays ransom messages that contain instructions about how to contact the developers, pay ransoms, and other information. Common variables are size of ransom and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses for data encryption. In most cases, it is impossible to decrypt compromised files without specific tools held only by the cyber criminals, unless the ransomware contains bugs/flaws, it is not finished, etc. Unfortunately, this is rare. Therefore, maintain backups on remote servers such as Cloud and/or unplugged storage devices.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Malware is distributed through Trojans, spam campaigns, untrusted software download channels, software 'cracking' tools and fake software updaters. Trojans are malicious programs that install other programs of this kind (malware), however, this can happen only when the computer is already 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 (.exe), archive files such as RAR, ZIP or JavaScript files, and hope that recipients opens/execute them. If opened, these files install high-risk malware. Untrustworthy file and software download channels such as Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), free file hosting websites, third party downloaders, freeware download pages, unofficial websites, etc. are also used to spread malicious software. Cyber criminals upload and host malicious files and wait until someone downloads and opens/executes them. When opened, they infect computers with malware. Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools supposedly activate paid software free of charge, however, they often infect operating systems with malicious programs instead. Unofficial updating tools infect systems by downloading and installing malware rather than updating installed software, or by exploiting software bugs/flaws or other vulnerabilities.

Threat Summary:
Name Gate virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .gate
Ransom Demand 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 might 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
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

Do not trust or open irrelevant emails that contain attachments or website links, especially if received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Files and programs should not be downloaded or installed through third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages or the other channels mentioned above. Use official websites and direct links. Installed software must be updated and activated via tools or functions that are designed and provided by official developers. Other third party tools can spread malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to bypass activation of licensed software with unofficial tools. Keep operating systems safe by regularly scanning with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software - remove detected threats immediately. If your computer is already infected with Gate, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Gate 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 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 text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

Gate ransomware text file (FILES ENCRYPTED.txt)

Text in this message:

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 malicious process running in Task Manager as "Company Utilize Storing" (its name might 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. 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 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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