The GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus is the latest iteration of the GandCrab ransomware family of threats. It uses the same .KRAB extension to encrypt target user data and extorts the victims for a ransomware payment. The new iteration can be customized further by the hacker operators, its modules can be set up according to the ongoing attack campaign. It is expected that several attacks will follow in the coming weeks.
|Name||GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus|
|Short Description||The ransomware encrypts sensitive information on your computer system with the .KRAB extensions and demands a ransom to be paid to allegedly recover them.|
|Symptoms||The ransomware will encrypt your files with a strong encryption algorithm.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus.|
|Data Recovery Tool||Windows 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 V4.4 Virus – Distribution Ways
The main delivery method associated with the GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus is the coordination of a SPAM email campaign. A popular tool to fuel the infections is the RIG Exploit Kit used to send out many messages to targets on a global scale. The criminal operators program templates that contain various graphics, text and design layouts that are hijacked from legitimate companies. Upon receiving the messages the users may notice the same notifications and messages as the ones that are typically sent by an Internet site or service that they use. In many cases familiar sounding domain names are used and even security certificates. The scope of messages that are being sent by the hackers can range from password reminders, update notifications, advertising materials and etc.
Many of the messages contain the GANDCRAB V4.4 virus under various forms:
- Adobe Flash Exploit — The victim users are sent malicious Adobe Flash interactive elements that take advantage of vulnerabilities identified in the client software. Adobe Flash remains as one of the most common applications that are targeted by computer hackers.
- File Attachments — The dangerous files can be attached directly to the messages. The body contents will contain instructions that coerce the victims into executing them.
- Infected Payload Carriers — Some hackers can embed the GANDCRAB V4.4 virus in payload carriers that be software installers, updates or pop-ups. They are made by taking the legitimate files from the official vendors and bundling them with the virus code. Whenever they are installed the GANDCRAB V4.4 virus infection will be started.
- Macro-Infected Documents — The hackers can embed scripts in popular document types: rich text documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations. Whenever they are opened by the victim users a notification prompt will be spawned requesting them to run the built-in code. If this is done the virus infection will begin.
The hackers can also construct fake download sites that imitate the legitimate download pages or well-known Internet portals. To help spread them the criminals can utilize various scripts such as pop-ups, banners, in-line hyperlinks and etc.
The virus executable files, payloads and payload carriers can also be spread in archives, even password-protected ones. In a situation where a string is required in order to unlock the files the hackers can place them in messages, notification boxes and other contents.
GANDCRAB V4.4 virus can also be spread via malicious browser extensions, also called hijackers. They are created for the most popular web browsers and are spread on the official repositories with fake user reviews and developer credentials. The associated descriptions coerce the victims into installing them — the description promises to add new features or enhance already existing ones. Once they are installed the built-in code will start to modify the application settings to redirect the users to hacker-controlled page. Following this the GANDCRAB V4.4 virus infection will start.
GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus – In-Depth Analysis
Following the infiltration of the malware threat on the victim hosts several security checks are performed in order to bypass processes that may interfere with its correct execution. A modular framework is used which allows the main infection engine to access and manipulate different system settings.
One of the first actions that are executed by the malicious code is the information harvesting one. There are two main types of data that are commonly hijacked:
- Private Data — The collected information can be used to expose the identity of the victims. The engine will automatically hijack personal data such as strings related to their name, address, phone number, location, interests and account credentials.
- Campaign Metrics — Other information that can be used to optimize the attacks can include a report on the installed hardware components, user settings and operating system variables.
The collected information can then be processed by another component called stealth protection. It is used to scan for applications and services that can interrupt the GANDCRAB V4.4 virus execution. The list of target programs includes: anti-virus products, sandbox environments and virtual machine hosts. The identified processes will be stopped and the applications themselves can be removed from the systems. This allows the virus to be able to take full control of the devices — the GANDCRAB V4.4 virus can create its own processes, hook up to existing ones and spawn multiple threads.
Constant monitoring of the system is enforced — the analysis reveals that the infection engine can monitor for changes in both operating system settings, Windows Registry values, files and etc.
The analysis shows that the engine has the ability to interact with the system Volume manager. This means that the virus will have access to removable storage devices and available network shares. This means that a single infection can potentially trigger a whole network takeover.
Follow-up infection actions can modify the web browser settings and redirect the victim machines to a hacker-controlled page. This is particularly useful when instituting the threat with blackmail tactics. The ransomware can also modify the Windows Registry. This means that it can access, modify and create new strings. When operating system ones affected then overall performance will suffer. Changes to individual applications can render certain services and functions non-working. In addition the malicious engine can create strings for itself and modify the boot settings thereby setting itself as a persistent threat. This means that it will start itself whenever the computer boots and disable access to the recovery boot menu.
Other malicious behavior includes the removal of Restore Data — Restore points and Shadow Volume Copies. To effectively restore them a professional software will need to be used, refer to our removal instructions.
The GANDCRAB V4.4 virus can be used to deliver Trojan infections. They create a secure connection to a hacker-controlled server. It allows the criminals to take over control of the infected machines, spy on the users and steal any file.
One of the key differences between this version and previous GandCrab ransomware threats is the fact that v4.4 creates a specific mutex value. It appears that under certain conditions this will block the operations of the virus. There are several explanations for this behavior:
- Killswitch Variant — One of the proposed speculations is that by acquiring this version of the GandCrab the automatic activation of the mutex lock will disable the virus’s ransomware component.
- Upgraded Weapon — The fact that the lock mutex is used probably means that the criminals behnd it are focusing on a stealth delivery. The ransomware component will be activated upon a command given by the operators.
- New Ransomware — The new GandCrab v4.4 threat may be created as an independent threat without having a connection to previous attackers. The developers of the v4.4 version may have taken the source code of already existing threats done by other hackers and modified them to create their own custom version.
GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus – Encryption Process
Like previous GandCrab ransomware threats the v4.4 version uses a built-in list of target file type extensions. They will be processed by a strong cipher, the encrypted files will not be accessible to the user. Teh lists include the most popular user data including the following:
The same .KRAB extension will be applied to the victims files.
A ransomware note will be created in a file called KRAB-DECRYPT.txt. A typical message will read the following contents:
—= GANDCRAB 4 =—
All your files, documents. photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the
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 – https://www.torproject.org/
|1. Install Tor browser
|2. Open Tor Browser
|3. Open link in TOR browser: http://gandcrabmfe6mnef.onion/
|4. Follow the instructions on this page
On our page you will see instructions on payment and have the opportunity to decryp 1 file for free.
IN ORDER TO PREVENT DATA DAMAGE:
* DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES
* DO NOT CHANGE DATA BELOW
—BEGIN GANDCRAB KEY—
—END GANDCRAB KEY—
—BEGIN PC DATA—
—END PC DATA—
The ransomware note contains several fields that are generated automatically by the engine. The first part is the extension — while the generic .CRAB or .KRAB extension is used as one of the main identification signs for the ransomware family it can be customized by the hackers to something else. The GandCrab key is the unique identifier given to each individual infection. The PC DATA string is a type of uniquer user identifier — it is created by analyzing certain conditions and creating it based on the acquired data.
Remove GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus and Restore Encrypted Files
If your computer system got infected with the GANDCRAB V4.4 Virus, you should have a bit of experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this ransomware as quickly as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect other computers. You should remove the ransomware and follow the step-by-step instructions guide provided below.