GANDCRAB V5.0 Ransomware - Remove It and Restore Data

GANDCRAB V5.0 Ransomware – Remove It and Restore Data

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This is an article that gives insight into the impact caused by GANDCRAB V5.0 ransomware and further explains how it could be removed from an infected computer. Victims could potentially restore encrypted files with the help of alternative data recovery tools some of which are listed in the removal guide at the end.

GANDCRAB V5.0 is a severe crypto virus that belongs to the notorious ransomware family GandCrab. In case of infection with this iteration of the threat, valuable files stored on the computer will be encrypted and marked with an extension of five random letters. With the help of a few ransom messages ransomware, creators will attempt to blackmail you into paying them a ransom that starts at $800 and goes up to $2, 400. The amount is demanded in DASH or Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Your desktop wallpaper will be also changed with instructions provided by hackers.

Threat Summary

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 V5.0


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss GANDCRAB V5.0.
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 V5.0 Ransomware – Update October 2018

GandCrab V5.0 came out in the last days of September but other sub-versions popped up in the beginning of October, such as the latest one – GandCrab V5.0.4 Cryptovirus. It was found out that a new vulnerability is used with the 5th version, which uses the ALPC Task Scheduler exploitation method. The exploit is usable on the following operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Microsoft Windows 8
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1
  • Microsoft Windows 10

The vulnerability consists of a security bug inside the Advanced Local Procedure Call (ALPC) interface which is used by Windows. The SchRpcSetSecurity API function, fails to properly check a user’s permissions, allowing write privileges on files inside the C:\Windows\Task directory.

GANDCRAB V5.0 Ransomware – Distribution

The primary method that is likely to be used for the distribution of this fifth version of GandCrab ransomware is malwspam. It enables hackers to send massive email spam campaigns that carry the infection code of the ransomware. A trick that they often play on target users is posing as representatives of legitimate institutions. With this trick, they aim to make users more prone to interact with the malicious email elements.

Similar to previous attack campaigns the subjects of these emails may be following one of the below mentioned patterns:

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}

As of the malicious elements that enable the ransomware to take control over the system they could be compromised file attachments of common file types or links to corrupted web pages.

As reported by our team one of the methods used for the distribution of the fourth version of GandCrab was software cracks hosted on WordPress websites. Alike its predecessor GANDCRAB V5.0 may be also spread via this infection channel.

A tip that could help you to improve your online security and keep devastating malware infections like GANDCRAB V5.0 away from your PC is to use free online file extractor before opening a dubious file. Such a tool will scan the uploaded file and generate a report on its security level.

GANDCRAB V5.0 Ransomware – Overview

GANDCRAB V5.0 is a fact. It has been spotted in active attack campaigns by security researchers. Several significant changes differentiate this fifth version from previous iterations. Among them are new desktop wallpaper, new ransom note and different extension for each infected user. The code of this version is also configured to detect automatically the currently used Windows language so that a corresponding ransom note could appear on screen later.

The highly complex code of this threat could be designed to detect active security measures in order to evade detection and complete further malicious actions.

An infection with GANDCRAB V5.0 begins when its payload is executed on a target system. For the purpose, this file could be set to identify unpatched vulnerabilities of installed system and programs. Once it detects needed ones it exploits them to enable the subsequent execution of malicious code. As reported by the security researcher Valthek a brand new Windows zero-day flaw which was given the identifier CVE-2018-8440 could be exploited by GANDCRAB version 5. Successful attempt allows attackers to take the control over the system.

The infection process passes through several other stages before target data could be encrypted. All actions performed during these stages aim to modify and manipulate predefined system components. In order to complete them, the ransomware should first establish all needed malicious files on the system. Some of the locations identified to be used by the ransomware for the storage of malicious files are:

  • C:\Program Files
  • C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Temp
  • C:\Users\admin\Desktop
  • C:\Users\admin\AppData\Roaming

The Registry Editor was identified to be among the components affected by the threat. Analyses of ransowmare’s samples reveal that the functionalities of Run and RunOnce registry keys are also used for infection purposes. With their help, GANDCRAB V5.0 becomes able to execute its infection files on each system starts. Another purpose of adding malicious values under these keys is the automatic display of all ransom messages dropped on the system.

It should be noted that once started on the system GANDCRAB V5.0 could initiate collection of sensitive details from installed browsers and system. The data could be then transferred to its command and control server. Unfortunately, hackers could eventually use it for further system and data compromises.

Following system modifications, the crypto virus triggers its built-in encryption module to encode target data. /This process is thoroughly reviewed in the next paragraph./ Once after the ransomware encodes all target files it should inform you about its presence and impact. For the purpose, it uses several ransom messages.

One of them is an associated payment page. It is translated in 8 languages among which are English, Deutsche, Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This indicates that ransomware samples could be spread across countries where these languages are spoken. Once it loads in the browser you could see the following message:


We are sorry, but your files have been encrypted!
Don’t worry, we can help you to return all of your files!
Files decryptor’s price is 2400 USD
If payment isn’t made until 2018-07-20 02:32:41 UTC the cost of decrypting files will be doubled
Amount was doubled!
Time left to double price:
What the matter? Buy GandCrab Decryptor Support is 24/7 Test decrypt
Please turn on javascript!!
What the matter?
Your computer has been infected with GandCrab Ransomware. Your files have been encrypted and you can’t decrypt it by yourself.
In the network, you can probably find decryptors and third-party software, but it won’t help you and it only can make your files undecryptable
What can I do to get my files back?
You should buy GandCrab Decryptor. This software will help you to decrypt all of your encrypted files and remove GandCrab Ransomware from your PC.
Current price: $2,400.00. As payment, you need cryptocurrency DASH or Bitcoin
What guarantees can you give to me?
You can use test decryption and decrypt 1 file for free
What is cryptocurrency and how can I purchase GandCrab Decryptor?
You can read more details about cryptocurrency at Google or here.
As payment, you have to buy DASH or Bitcoin using a credit card, and send coins to our address.
How can I pay to you?
You have to buy Bitcoin or DASH using a credit card. Links to services where you can do it: Dash exchanges list, Bitcoin exchanges list
After it, go to our payment page Buy GandCrab Decryptor, choose your payment method and follow the instructions

To open the payment page of GandCrab ransomware you should have an installed Tor browser. The exact web address to this page is provided in a specific ransom message associated with this new fifth version of the threat. This message is contained in an HTML file that is named after the encryption extension. After it appears the capslocked word DECRYPT. So if your files are marked with the extension .fghey the ransomware will generate the following name for its ransom message:

  • [FGHEY]-DECRYPT.html

What the text of this message states is:

DECRYPT.html gandcrab v5 ransomware ransom note sensorstechforum

—= GANDCRAB V5.0 =—
All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension:
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:>
•Download Tor browser –
• Install Tor browser
• Open Tor Browser
• Open link in TOR browser: http://gandcrabmfe6mnef.onion/e499c8afc4ba3647
• 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.

In addition, an image file called pidor.bmp replaces the current desktop wallpaper to depict the following message:

For further steps read [extension letters].DECRYPT.html that is located in every encrypted folder.

gandcrab v5 desktop ransom wallpaper sensorstechforum

The aim of all ransom messages is to convince you that you should pay hackers a ransom for the decryption solution possessed by them. The amount of this ransom could vary from $800 to $2 400. An amount that needs to be transferred in DASH or Bitcoin cryptocurrency. There is also a time frame for the initial decrypter price. After it expires the amount is doubled. Beware, however, that even a successful ransom payment does not guarantee the recovery of your encrypted files. That’s why we advise you to try all available alternative approaches and eventually restore some of them.

GANDCRAB V5.0 Ransomware – Encryption Process

When GANDCRAB V5.0 finishes the modifications of system components it is ready to initiate the main stage of the infection – data encryption. For this stage, the ransomware could be set to utilize Salsa20 cipher algorithm. Other sophisticated algorithms used by previous versions of the same ransomware family such as RSA-2048 and AES-256 may be also part of the encryption module of this fifth version.

Before GANDCRAB V5.0 corrupted users’ files were renamed with the extensions .GDCB, .CRAB, .KRAB, and .krab. Unlike its predecessors this new iteration of the ransomware isn’t associated with a fixed extension. As identified by security researchers GANDCRAB V5.0 is generating random extensions of five letters to mark the files it encrypts. For example an encrypted file with original name picture.png could be renamed to picture.png.wgidf.

Unfortunately, it is likely that the ransomware is set to encrypt valuable files such as:

  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Document files
  • Image files
  • Backup files
  • Archives
  • Banking credentials, etc

After encryption, you couldn’t open encrypted files. In order to restore their original code you could try the help of alternative data recovery tools.

Remove GANDCRAB V5.0 Ransomware and Restore Data

Below you could find how a step-by-step removal guide that may be helpful in attempting to remove GANDCRAB V5.0 crypto virus. The manual removal approach demands a bit of technical experience and the ability to recognize traits of malware files. Beware that ransomware is a threat with highly complex code that plagues not only your files but your whole system which in turn limits its regular and secure usage. Furthermore, as revealed by analyses of the ransomware samples, it is able to scan both network shares and mapped devices. So it is highly recommendable to remove it from the affected device before it takes the chance to infect other devices connected to the same network.

Following the removal process, you could try to restore some encrypted files with the instructions provided in step “Restore Files”. Be advised to back up all encrypted files and store them on an external drive in order to prevent their irreversible loss.

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana has completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the University of National and World Economy. She has been with the STF team for three years, researching malware and reporting on the latest infections.

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