GANDCRAB 5.0.1 Ransom Virus – How to Remove It and Restore Data

GANDCRAB 5.0.1 Ransom Virus – How to Remove It and Restore Data

This article has been created in order to show you how you can remove the GANDCRAB 5.0.1 ransomware virus and how you can try and recover files, encrypted by GANDCRAB 5.0.1 without having to pay the ransom to the cyber-crooks.

The GANDCRAB v5.0 ransomware was just updated in a 5.0.1 version with some minor improvements in it. The virus’s main goal is to enter a victim PC while unnoticed and encrypt the files on the victimized machine, after which leave behind a random file extension. The virus then drops a ransom note, starting with 5 letters and looking like the following – {5 random symbols}-DECRYPT.txt, unlike the previous variant which used an .html file type for it’s note. The ransom note of GANDCRAB 5.0.1 aims to convince victims to pay ransom in order to get their encrypted files restored back to their working state. In the events that your computer has been infected by GANDCRAB 5.0.1 you should read this article. It aims to help you understand more about how GANDCRAB works and shows methods to erase this virus and try and recover files, encrypted by it without directly paying ransom.

Threat Summary

NameGANDCRAB 5.0.1
TypeRansomware, Cryptovirus
Short DescriptionVersion of GandCrab ransomware. It encrypts valuable files in order to extrort a ransom payment from victims.
SymptomsCorrupted files are marked with an extension of five random letters. The access to them is restricted. Ransomware creators demand a ransom in DASH or Bircoin cryptocurrency.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by GANDCRAB 5.0.1


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss GANDCRAB 5.0.1.
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 5.0.1 – Distribution Methods

The latest iteration of GANDCRAB ransomware does not cheat on the old method of being replicated. The malware may infect via comromised websites, the main idea behind which is to pretend that the program you are looking for online has a crack that is available for download. This fake WordPress download site URLs is become more and more common practice as we have detected over recent months. Here is how a fake crack URL from the previous GandCrab version appears like when you look for the cracks for several converters, system tools and other types of seemingly useful programs:

The full list of programs that are imitated by the GandCrab can be seen on the related story underneath:

Related: GandCrab 4 Ransomware Now Infects Via Software Cracks

But this is not the only main source of propagation used by GandCrab 5.0.1 ransomware, since the virus may also be spread via the most widely used method for spreading ransomware viruses and that is via e-mail spam messages. The previous GandCrab iteration often used spam e-mails that carried around malicious e-mail attachments, also known as malspam. This type of activity was used to trick the victims into clicking on “I am not a robot” after downloading a PDF file and then this results in a Microsoft Word file that opens up with malicious Macros. The e-mails may appear like the following:

From: “Brandon Clay”
Subject: Electricity bill Feb-6509
Attachment: Feb-10451.pdf
Body Text: Download the attached file.

The .PDF file may show the following after being opened:

After this, the user is misled to click on “Enable Content” on a new Microsoft Word file that derives from the .PDF file and after this is done, GANDCRAB may trigger the infection:

GANDCRAB 5.0.1 Ransomware – Analysis

When a victim PC becomes infected with the GANDCRAB ransomware virus, the 5.0.1 version drops and activates it’s main Binary file, which has different names and is located in a randomly named folder in the “USERS” profile:

→ C:\Users\{UserName}\Desktop\{GandCrab virus file name}.exe

After this has completed, the GANDCRAB ransomware may also drop it’s ransom note file, which appears like the following image:

Text from Image:

—= GANDCRAB V5.0.1 =—
All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: {5 random letters}
The only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key. Only we can give you this key 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 –

| 1. Install Tor Browser
| 2. Open Tor Browser
| 3. Open link in TOR browser http://gandcrabmfe6mnef.onion/{victim’s unique ID}
| 4. Follow the instructions on this page

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


The ransom note then leads the victim to visit a Tor-based web page, which is similar to the other GandCrab versions, appearing like the image below shows:

To make sure that the victim does not miss out on the notification, GANDCRAB 5.0.1 also sets the wallpaper to the following:

In addition to making sure the victim knows of it’s presence, GANDCRAB 5.0.1 does way more than just that. The virus may also perform other activities on the user PC, such as adding registry values in many Windows registry sub-keys. So far, GANDCRAB 5.0.1 is reported to access the following sub-keys in the Windows Registry database:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\International
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

The GANDCRAB 5.0.1 also creates the following mutexes on the infected computer:

→ Global\8A5BA8BEE36925045F5C.lock

But the main indicators of compromise are the connections which are made by this iteration of GandCrab ransomware, which are reported at VMRay to be the following IP addresses:

IP addresses, related to GANDCRAB 5.0.1

GANDCRAB 5.0.1 Ransomware – Encryption Process

The 5.0.1 version of GANDCRAB ransomware virus is believed to utilize the Salsa20 encryption algorithm. Unlike the previous versions of GandCrab, this encryption mode is much faster in its encryption process so that it is more difficult to be halted. The GANDCRAB ransomware may perform the infection process in the following chronological steps:

Step 1: The virus scans the computer for the files it wants encrypted. Usually those files are:

  • Documents.
  • Videos.
  • Audio files.
  • Images.
  • Archives.
  • Databases.
  • The virus skips scanning in important Windows directories, which may result in breaking your OS.

Step 2: GANDCRAB V5.0.1 then encrypts the files by first creating copies of the files and then encrypting the copies after which the ransomware virus may delete the original files.

Step 3: After the encryption process has finished, the ransomware virus creates a unique decryption key that is concealed and may have either the .KEY or the .lock extension. The file itself may also be encrypted and cannot be opened.

Step 4: The GANDCRAB 5.0.1 ransomware adds a random 5 letter extension to the encrypted files, making them to start appearing like the following:

Step 5: The GANDCRAB 5.0.1 malware likely hides it’s tracks by deleting any backups and shadow copies it might encounter. This happens by executing the following commands in Windows Command Prompt as an administrator:

→ sc stop VVS
sc stop wscsvc
sc stop WinDefend
sc stop wuauserv
sc stop BITS
sc stop ERSvc
sc stop WerSvc
cmd.exe /C bcdedit /set {default} recoveryenabled No
cmd.exe /C bcdedit /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe” /C vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet

Remove GANDCRAB 5.0.1 Ransomware and Restore Your Encrypted Files

If you have become a victim of the 5.0.1 iteration of GANDCRAB ransomware, then you have three choices – to pay the ransom and hope for the best (not recommended), to pay a lot of money to a file recovery expert or to follow the instructions underneath this article and remove the virus yourself. The instructions below have been divided in manual and automatic removal methods. If manual removal does fail, then be advised that most experts would run a scan, using a specific anti-malware software. Such programs are usually designed to fully detect and remove all files and objects otherwise difficult to spot manually and in the same time they aim to protect your PC against any threats that might appear in the future too.

If your files were encrypted and you have no idea how to get them back, then we strongly suggest that you refrain from paying ransom to the cyber-crooks behind GANDCRAB 5.0.1. Doing this is not a guarantee that they will decrypt your files afterwards. Do not despair, however, because you still haven’t ran out of options. We have summed up several alternative recovery methods that you can try below in the step “2. Try to restore files, encrypted by GANDCRAB 5.0.1”. They are not a 100% guarantee of successful file recovery, but with their assistance, you can restore some or most of your files, depending on your situation.


Ventsislav Krastev

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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