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Remove GPCODE Ransomware and Restore .LOL Encrypted Files

shutterstock_271501652Users report activity by ransomware known as GPCODE. This particular virus uses a combination of a very strong encryption ciphers – RSA and AES, both used by the government to hide top secret files. Not only this, but the GPCODE creators have quite the laughs at the expense of the user, adding a .LOL (Laughing Out Loud) file extension and a “funny” clown-like ransom note. All users who have been affected should not pay any ransom money to the makers of this nasty malware and focus on removing it and restoring the files themselves. We advise reading this article completely to learn more about removing this ransomware and restoring the encoded data yourself.

Threat Summary

Name GPCODE
Type Ransomware
Short Description The ransomware encrypts files with the RSA algorithm and AES-128 ciphers and asks a ransom for decryption. Reported to attack servers and office networks.
Symptoms Files are encrypted and become inaccessible. A ransom note with instructions for paying the ransom shows as a .txt file.
Distribution Method Spam Email Attachments pretending to be the delivery company UPS.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by GPCODE

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User Experience Join our forum to Discuss Locky Ransomware.

GPCODE Ransomware – Methods of Infection

Since this particular ransomware also known as the JOKE virus is reported to infect servers which have Citrix environment. Citrix is a system of programs designed to help cut costs by running multiple devices in a network using a virtual environment. Such servers may usually be infected if information about their IP address is known somehow. Since systems such as Citrix centralize on one device and the traffic goes partially through that device this may be one method of spreading. Let us imagine that one user on the Citrix system of devices is careless and opens up one of the two main spreading methods reportedly associated with GPCODE:

  • Malicious URLs.
  • Malicious e-mail attachments.

Even if the network does not use such systems, GPCODE is also reported to spread and encrypt shared files between the devices in the network. This is why one compromised computer by GPCODE is a risk to the whole network.

Infected users have also reported that the ransomware was spread via email attachments that had the following subject:

  • “Your UPS delivery confirmation.”

And this is not the worst part. System administrators of infected networks have also complained that this malware spreads via UNC paths which can be quite risky in multiple ways.

GPCODE Ransomware Viewed In Detail

Since a little is known about this ransomware, it is widely believed that it may situate files in the following file folders, containing different names:

commonly used file names and folders

After doing, so, GPCODE may modify the registry entries of the infected machine so that its file-encryption process starts when the PC is turned on. This is why we strongly advise users who believe they are infected not restart or power off their devices. The targeted registry key for this is:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

Not only this, but the ransomware may use a unique file encryption method that consists of the two following ciphers:

  • RSA – 1048
  • AES – (128 or 256)

Researchers strongly believe that the AES algorithm is being used to encrypt the files GPCODE looks for whereas the RSA cipher is being used to encode the key which can be used to decrypt those AES files. This is particularly effective because even if the users have the decryptor provided by the cyber crooks, they cannot decrypt the key. And what is worse, is most malware writers set a unique private key, making the situation, even more, complicated.

Regarding the files it aims to encrypt, GPCODE is oriented towards as many commonly used file extensions as possible. It uses the .LOL file extension after it encrypts the data, for example:

  • New Text Document.txt.LOL

Not only this, but the GPCODE ransomware is reported by infected users to add a “JOKE” ransom note, named “how to get data.txt”:

→ “JOKE
Hello boys and girls! Welcome to our high school “GPCODE”!
If you are reading this text (read this very carefully, if you can read), this means that you have missed a lesson about safety and YOUR PC HACKED !!! Dont worry guys – our school specially for you! The best teachers have the best recommendations in the world! Feedback from our students, you can read here:
1)http://forum.kaspersky.com.2)http://forum.eset.com 3)http://forum.drweb.com 4) www.forospyware.com As you see- we trust their training,only we have spesial equipment(cryptor.exe and decryptor.exe).Only here you will get an unforgettable knowledge!
The lesson costs not expensive. Calculate the time and money you spend on recovery. Time is very expensive, almost priceless.We think that it is cheaper to pay for the lesson and never repeat the mistakes.We guarantee delivery of educational benefits(decryptor.exe). First part(cryptor.exe) you have received 🙂
SERIOUSLY
Your important files (photos, videos, documents, archives, databases, backups, etc.) which were crypted with the strongest military cipher RSA1024 and AES.No one can`t help you to restore files without our decoder. Photorec, RannohDecryptor etc repair tools are useless and can destroy your files irreversibly.
If you want to restore files – send e-mail to gpcode@mail2tor.com with the file “how to get data.txt” and 1-2 encrypted files less than 2 MB. PLEASE USE public mail like yahoo or gmail.
You will receive decrypted samples and our conditions how you`ll get the decoder. Follow the instructions to send payment.
P.S. Remember, we are not scammers. We don`t need your files. After one month all your files and keys will be deleted.Oops!Just send a request immediately after infection. All data will be restored absolutelly. Your warranty – decrypted samples and positive feedbacks from previous users.”Source: BleepingComputer

In addition to those, the ransomware may also spread out other files, such as a .RSA or .KEY file that contains the unique decryption key. The good news about it is that the cyber-criminals behind it may encrypt 1 or 2 files for free, and they do not demand a high amount of ransom payment (0.5 BTC which at the time of writing this is approximately 230$). Users who have paid the ransom have claimed that they were sent a decryptor containing their private key and were able to restore their files. However, we strongly advise considering other alternatives before funding cyber-crooks.

Remove GPCODE Ransomware and Restore Your Data

To remove this crypto malware, it is vital to isolate it, because like any other malware it may modify different settings of your PC to protect itself. This is why we recommend following the step-by-step instructions below for maximum effectiveness.

Unfortunately, there is no current solution for a direct file decryption that is working 100%, besides the reported ransom payment. However, we have prepared some alternative methods which you may want to try before paying any ransom. For more information on them check the step “Restore files encrypted by GPCODE”. Bear in mind that there is no guarantee that the methods will work for you.

Manually delete GPCODE from your computer

Note! Substantial notification about the GPCODE threat: Manual removal of GPCODE requires interference with system files and registries. Thus, it can cause damage to your PC. Even if your computer skills are not at a professional level, don’t worry. You can do the removal yourself just in 5 minutes, using a malware removal tool.

1. Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove GPCODE files and objects
2.Find malicious files created by GPCODE on your PC
3.Fix registry entries created by GPCODE on your PC

Automatically remove GPCODE by downloading an advanced anti-malware program

1. Remove GPCODE with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
2. Back up your data to secure it against infections and file encryption by GPCODE in the future
3. Restore files encrypted by GPCODE
Optional: Using Alternative Anti-Malware Tools

Vencislav Krustev

A network administrator and malware researcher at SensorsTechForum with passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cyber security. Strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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