.CRAB Files Virus - How to Remove GandCrab v2 and Restore Data

.CRAB Files Virus – How to Remove GandCrab v2 and Restore Data

This article has been created to help you by explaining what is the GandCrab v2 ransomware and how to restore .CRAB files encrypted by it without having to pay $500 ransom to cyber-crooks.

A new version of the notorious GandCrab ransomware infection has been detected by malware researchers. The ransomware, dubbed v2 uses the .CRAB file extension which it adds as a suffix to the encrypted files and in addition to this, the ransomware drops a ransom note, named CRAB-DECRYPT.txt in which it demands a ransom payment in the form of the DASH cryptocurrency. This has been reported to be the first case of the DASH cryptocurrency being used by the cyber-criminals and it is only present with the GandCrab ransomware variants at the time of writing this. If your computer has been infected by this ransomware infection, recommendations are to focus on reading the following article and removing the GandCrab ransomware infection plus trying to restore the files encrypted with the .CRAB file extension without having to pay the ransom.

Threat Summary

Name.CRAB Files Virus
TypeRansomware, Cryptovirus
Short DescriptionA variant of the GandCrab ransomware family, which encrypts the files on the infected computers by it and asks victims to pay $500 in the cryptocurrency DASH as a ransom.
SymptomsThe files on the infected computer can no longer be opened and have the .CRAB file suffix added to them. In addition to this, the ransomware drops a ransom note, file named CRAB-DECRYPT.txt.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by .CRAB Files Virus

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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss .CRAB Files Virus.
Data Recovery ToolWindows Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix Notice! This product scans your drive sectors to recover lost files and it may not recover 100% of the encrypted files, but only few of them, depending on the situation and whether or not you have reformatted your drive.

GandCrab Ransomware – Update July 2018 (New Version – GANDCRAB V4 Released)

The creators of GandCrab are staying busy even during the summer holidays. They have released and started infecting computers with a new version of the GandCrab ransomware virus, dubbed version 4. More information about it can be found in the related story underneath:

Related: GANDCRAB V4 Ransomware – Remove and Restore .KRAB Encrypted Files

.CRAB Ransomware – Update June 2018 (New Version 3 Released)

A new version of the GandCrab ransomware virus has been detected in the wild, going by the name GANDCRAB V3. You can learn more about it from the following research, removal and file recovery article:

Related: Remove GandCrab 3 Virus — Restore .CRAB Files

Recent information about the .CRAB 2.0 ransomware has come to our attention. The malware researcher, known as Brad from Malware-Traffic-Analysis has detected newer and newer e-mails to be used to spread the infection file of the latest GandCrab ransomware virus. This time, the cyber-criminals were detected to use a JavaScript file, posing as an actual PDF type of file. The file, is contained in a 7z archive and was reported by Brad on his block malware-traffic-analysis.net, to be spread via the following e-mail addresses:

E-mails spreading GandCrab 2.0:

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

The ransomware infection e-mails were also reported by Brad to contain the following topics (Subjects):

Document #{number}
Invoice #{number}
Order #{number}
Payment #{number}
Payment Invoice #{number}
Payment Invoice #{number}
Ticket #{number}
Your Document #{number}
Your Order #{number}
Your Ticket #{number}

The e-mails are reported to contain files which are 7zip archives (.7z) and have name, like the following:

→ DOC249127923-PDF.7z

When the victims opens and extracts the file, it has the absolutely same name, however is a .js (JavaScript) type of file. This is the file which actually infects your computer. Even extracting this file from the 7z archive may risk the health of your files:

→ DOC249127923-PDF.js

If you have an e-mail service which contains a blacklist function, it is important that you add those e-mails to your blacklist and if you see such e-mails, beginning with a name, a number and then something like “@12412312.com”, do not even open them. If you want to check whether or not they are malicious you can just go ahead and forward them to free services, like ZipeZip, which will perform a check for you without you having to open the e-mails.

.CRAB Files Virus – How Does It Infect

In order to infect the maximum amount of victims, the .CRAB files virus aims to spread it’s malicious infection file via a variety of methods, the main of which is via e-mail spam messages, carefully disguised as legitimate e-mails. The main strategy of the cyber-crooks is to convince the victim to open an attachment or click on a malicious web link which triggers the infection automatically.

Such e-mails often pretend to come from big companies from the likes of DHL, eBay and others and the e-mails often pretend that the attachment is an Invoice or an Order receipt which may not even exist. When the user clicks on it, he or she immediately falls victim to this ransomware infection. The main method of infecting victims which was detected so far by researcher Marcelo Rivero has been reported to be an e-mail carrying a malicious PDF file, which when opened leads to a Microsoft Word Document. The document in it’s turn leads to a file-less infection, via malicious macros after the victim has clicked on the “Enable Content” button to enable reading on the document. The infection activities are conducted in the following manner:

In addition to via e-mail, the .CRAB ransomware virus may also infect victims via other methods, like upload it’s malicious file online and mask it so that it appears to be a legitimate file you may be deceived into downloading. Such seemingly legitimate types of files seem to most often be:

  • Fake setups of software.
  • Fake key generators.
  • Patches, cracks or other software license activators.

.CRAB Ransomware – Analysis

.CRAB Ransomware is the type of ransomware infection which encrypts files. The malware slithers it’s malicious files after infecting your computer and they may reside in the following Windows directories:

  • %AppData%
  • %Local%
  • %Roaming%
  • %LocalLow%
  • %Temp%

After .CRAB Ransomware has infected your computer, the malware begins it’s malicious activity on it, starting with modifying the Windows Registry Editor of your computer. The GandCrab v2 may modify the following Windows registry sub-keys, by adding entries in them which may contain values to run automatically on system boot:

→ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

In addition to this, the .CRAB files virus may also delete the shadow volume copies of the infected computer by executing the following commands as an administrator in Windows Command Prompt:

→ process call create “cmd.exe /c vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /quiet & bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled no & bcdedit.exe /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures”

After doing so, the ransomware virus may also drop it’s ransom note, which leads victims to the TOR website of the virus, demanding $500 in the DASH cryptocurrency. The web page gives a deadline to complete and appears like the following:

In addition to this, there has been another version of the malware which was reported to lead to a payment web page which demands the sum of $1000 as a ransom. It appears to look like the following:

.CRAB Ransomware – Encryption

For the encryption process, .CRAB files virus uses various different types of techniques, including the utilization of advanced encryption modes in order to render the files on the victim’s computer no longer able to be opened. In addition to this, the .CRAB files virus is also the type of infection that scans for the file types of files which are often used, like:

  • Documents.
  • Audio Files.
  • Videos.
  • Pictures.
  • Archives.

After encryption the files assume the .CRAB file extension and they start to appear like the following:

GandCrab V2.1 (2.3.1) Released

Security reports indicate that an unknown computer hacker or criminal collective has devised a newer version of the ransomware called GandCrab V2.1 with internal release number 2.3.1. It encrypts the target data with the .crab extension as well however it does feature a slightly different delivery mechanics and ransomware operations.

The malvertising campaigns utilize the RIG exploit Kit and some of the strains are known for attempting to exploit the Adobe Flash Player exploit tracked in the CVE-2018-4878 advisory. Its description reads the following:

A use-after-free vulnerability was discovered in Adobe Flash Player before 28.0.0.161. This vulnerability occurs due to a dangling pointer in the Primetime SDK related to media player handling of listener objects. A successful attack can lead to arbitrary code execution. This was exploited in the wild in January and February 2018.

The vulnerability is rated as critical and successful exploitation of it can result in the complete take over of the affected system. The attacks associated with this vulnerability have been found to target primarily Windows users in January and February 2018.

The captured samples associated with it indicate that the it is delivered mainly using email messages. A typical social engineering scenario is used with malware attachment. One of the captured files reads the following:

Dear Customer,

to read your document please open the attachment and reply as soon as possible.

Kind regards,
DDJ Customer Support

An attached file in a ZIP archive is delivered. When it is opened up by the victims it will reveal a rich text document. If it is opened it will be displayed in the “Protected View” mode which informs the users that they need to run the built-in macros (scripts) in order to view the file’s contents. If this is done a PowerShell script will be launched that triggers the actual GandCrab 2.1 infection.

The infection follows the usual malware operations with some code changes that make it a distinct version with specific signatures.

Once the ransomware component has completed execution all target data will be renamed with the .CRAB extension. The ransomware note itself will be updated (crafted in a CRAB-DECRYPT.txt file) to read the following message:

— “GANDCRAB V2.1 “—

Attention!
All your files documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .CRAB
The only method of recovering files is to purchase a private key. It is on our server 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://gandcrab2pie73et.onion/95???????????
4. Follow the instructions on this page

If Tor/Tor browser is locked in your country or you can not install it, open one of the following links in your regular browser:

0. https://gandcrab2pie73et.onion.rip/95?????????????
1. https://gandcrab2pie73et.onion.plus/95?????????????
2. https://gandcrab2pie73et.onion.to/95?????????????

ATTENTION! Use regular browser only to contact us. Buy decryptor only through TOR browser link or Jabber Bot!

On our page you will see instructions on payment and get the opportunity to decrypt 1 file for free.

The alternative way to contact us to use Habber messanger. Read how to:
0. Download Psi-Plus Jabber Client: https://psi-im.org/download/
1. Register new account: https://sj.ms/register.php
0) Enter “username”: 95???????????
1) Enter “password”: your password
2. Add new account in Psi
3. Add and write Jabber ID: [email protected] any message
4. Follow instruction bot

It is a bot! It’s fully automated artificial system without human control!
To contact us use TOR links. We can provide you all required proofs of decryption availability anytime. We are open to conversations.
You can read instructions how to install and use jabber here http://www.sfu.ca/jabber/Psi_Jabber_PC.pdf

DANGEROUS!
Do not try to modify files or use your own private key – this will result in the loss of your data forever!

Once the victims visit the respective ransom note site they will see a template-based engine that presents the victims will the ability to download a test decryptor. This is an often used scenario that attempts to win the users trust.

At the moment the ransom sum is $800, the criminals use the well-known strategy of imposing a time limit. If the ransom fee is not paid by then the amount is doubled. The requested money is demanded in the Bitcoin or DASH digital currency.

Alternative Ransom Page Detected

On April 19 security researchers discovered a new strain of GandCrab that follows the same behavior patterns with a changed ransom site. It is possible that this is devised by a different criminal group or is an intermediate release before a new major version of the ransomware attacks.

It is customized using a template engine that is similar to the previous versions. It reads the following message:

Payment amount 724.63768116 DSH ($300,000.00)

1. Buy cryptocurrency DASH. Here you can find services where you can do it.
2. Send 724.63768116 DSH to the address:
xkdDtXZoFAA3JP89Q4s4E2AcZYcScuD2gn

Attention!
Please be careful and check the address visually after copy-pasting (because there is a probability of a malware on your PC that monitors and changes the address in your clipboard)

If you don’t use TOR browser:
Send a verification payment for a small amount, and then, make sure that the coins are coming, then send the rest of the amount.
We won’t take any responsibility if your funds don’t reach us
3. After payment, you will see your transactions below
The transaction will be confirmed after it receives 3 confirmations (usually it takes about 10 minutes)

This new release adds the option to use “Promotion codes” that place a discount on the ransom fee. This is probably going to be used in new upcoming social engineering tricks.

Remove GandCrab v2 Ransomware and Restore .CRAB Files

In order to remove this ransomware infection completely from your computer system, recommendations are to focus on following the removal instructions below. They are carefully separated on manual and automatic removal manuals in order to best help you based on your experience in malware removal. If you lack such experience, security experts strongly advise to download an advanced anti-malware software, which aims to help you by automatically scanning and removing all malicious objects, related to GandCrab v2 from your computer.

In order to restore files, encrypted by the GandCrab v2 Ransomware, you can try and use the alternative file recovery methods in step “2. Restore files encrypted by .CRAB Files Virus” below. They may not be 100% effective to recover all of your encrypted files but may help you in recovering most of your encoded files.

Manually delete .CRAB Files Virus from your computer

Note! Substantial notification about the .CRAB Files Virus threat: Manual removal of .CRAB Files Virus 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 .CRAB Files Virus files and objects
2.Find malicious files created by .CRAB Files Virus on your PC
3.Fix registry entries created by .CRAB Files Virus on your PC

Automatically remove .CRAB Files Virus by downloading an advanced anti-malware program

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

Vencislav Krustev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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16 Comments

  1. SILVIA ORTIZ

    Estamos infectados con CRAB y es terrible porque no tenemos una cultura de respaldo ni políticas que eviten que el personal descargue software, que desactive antivirus, etc…no sabemos qué hacer 🙁

    Reply
    1. alberto

      jajaja a mi me paso el 25 de febrero y fue una pesadilla porque infecto un servidor. Pero cuando llegue. Me di cuenta que solo afecto a un servidor y es el que no tiene la base de datos… por lo qu eel danio fue minimo. Pero tambien tenemos respaldos… cada sabado hacemos respaldo. Porque tambien nos paso en junio con otro servidor y ahi si no teniamos respaldo… es una pesadilla. Me temo que ya perdiste todo, mejor haste a esa idea.

      Reply
  2. Hugo

    lo pudieron resolver?

    Reply
  3. Alan

    mi memoria fue infectada por esa madre y pude recuperar todos los archivos borrando en el nombre el subfijo .CRAB pero me tarde un chingo, un día completo en cambiar todo el contenido lo de las carpetas :S

    Reply
    1. Jorge Palaver

      Estimado, no alcanza con renombrar los archivos y quitar la extensión, ya que encripta el contenido.
      Cordial saludo.

      Reply
  4. Cristian Rodriguez

    Buenas, estamos en la misma situacion, encontramos todo para la V1 , pero nosotros fuimos infectados con la V2… alguien tiene algo??… GRACIAS!

    Reply
  5. Jane

    How does deleting your only file (now with .crab at the end) a “good thing”? You mean, you want people to delete all of their files? The files they NEED?

    What did I miss here?

    Is there yet a viable & successful solution? My friend’s shows v2.1– I run Linux, so not a problem for me as yet.

    Reply
    1. Vencislav Krustev

      v2.1 is a sub-version of v2.. and .crab files virus is how we call it, removing the extension will not fix your problems

      Reply
  6. FabioHTR

    need a decryptor, my files are all locked !!! 🙁

    Reply
  7. JoC

    tengo gandcrab v3

    spyhunter 4 borro 3 pop installer… o algo así …
    elimine la carpeta .CRAB de la raiz con regedit
    ahora ni bitdefender ni karspersky me detectan nada…
    recuva no me recupera archivos pero si me mostró unos archivos .CRAB.exe en rojo… doy por perdidos los archivos? y si formateo me olvido de que quede algo del malware en mi pc?

    Reply
    1. Milena Dimitrova

      Hi there,
      Unfortunately, formatting your PC won’t get your files back if that is what you’re asking.

      Reply
      1. Ali

        please tell me what is the way to restore file safely

        Reply
  8. Tomas

    Hola como lograste recuperar tus archivos me puedes c9mpartir tu experiencia por favor buen día.

    Reply
  9. Keyner

    Mi Computador se contamino con la GANDCRAB V3 alguien de ustedes a podido recuperar los archivos. le agradezco infinitamente

    Reply
  10. deepak

    pls give me a my family photograph.and nothing any item and folders plssssssssss

    Reply
  11. Claudio

    Hello, My pc was infected whit GRANDCRAB, can you help me to restar my files from this pirates.??
    thank you very muchs and Best Regards
    claudio

    Reply

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