This analysis and removal article has been made to inform you and provide instructions on deleting GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware infection from your computer and also add methods via which you can try and restore files, encrypted by this cryptovirus on your computer.
Following the successful decryption ofGandCrab 5.1, ransomware, an updated and undetectable version of the notorious ransomware, called GANDCRAB 5.2 has been released. The virus was active for over a year and it has now been released constantly in newer and newer variants, most of which aim to encrypt the files of infected computers and ask their owners to visit a TOR web page, where victims are extorted to pay ransom in the BitCoin or DASH cryptocurrencies. In the unfortunate events that your computer was infected by GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware, we would suggest that you read this removal article.
|Short Description||An updated virus, belonging to theGANDCRAB ransomware family. The threat aims to extort victims to pay BitCoin or Dash by encrypting their files.|
|Symptoms||Files are encrypted with changed names to random letters. A ransom note is dropped with the file extension for it’s name and it ends in “-DECRYPT.txt”.|
|Distribution Method||Malcious URLs, Email Attachments, Executables|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by GANDCRAB 5.2 |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss GANDCRAB 5.2.|
|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.|
Update April 2019
According to CrowdStrike researchers, the criminal group behind the infamous GandCrab ransomware is nicknamed Pinchy Spider. The group has been selling access to the ransomware in a partnership program with a limited number of accounts. In their most recent endeavors, Pinchy Spider criminals have been advertising GandCrab to individuals with remote desktop protocol (RDP) and VNC (Virtual Network Computing) skills, and spam operators who have experience in corporate networking. In short, the change in deployment tactics along with Pinchy Spider’s advertising for individuals with skills in RDP/VNC and experience in corporate networking, point to the fact that the criminal gang and their affiliates are expanding to adopt big game hunting tactics.
GANDCRAB 5.2 – Infection Methods
GANDCRAB 5.2 has not deviated much from the rest of the GandCrab ransomware family in terms of infection ways. The most recent infection files of GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware were reported by security researchers to spread via two main methods:
- Via files, uploaded on compromised websites.
- Via files sent to victims via e-mail.
Giovanni Price [email protected]
Attachment: PIC0101302924102-jpg.zip (69 KB)
E-mail Body: ;)
Once the victim sees that someone sent a picture with the text “;)” written in the e-mail body, it might raise interest. If the victim downloads the .ZIP archive and extracts the picture, infection with GANDCRAB 5.2 may be inevitable.
Another scenario via which victims can get infected by e-mail with GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware is to open Microsoft Word or .PDF files also sent as attachment, but this time pretending to be invoices, receipts and other seemingly important documents, also contained in a .ZIP archive. Once the victim downloads and extracts the Microsoft Word file and opens it, the file may ask to enable Macros, like the image below shows.
This is done with the pretext that you cannot see what is in the document, unless you click on “Enable Editing” or “Enable Content” button. Once you click this button, infection with GANDCRAB 5.2 may occur. If the file is a .PDF file, the same may occur, only that the PDF Adobe Reader file may automatically open the Microsoft Word file once you open it.
Another method that is also known to cause infections with GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware virus was recently reported to be used very often. The infection method includes uploading files on compromised or malicious WordPress sites, and make them seem that they are legitimate software cracks. Some of the programs which are supposed to be cracked, but infect with GANDCRAB 5.2 are reported by victims to be the following:
- KMSPico(activator for Windows).
- Securitask(security tool).
- SysTools PST Merge(file merger).
- Merging Image to PDF(file merger).
More info on how GANDCRAB ransomware infects victims via files uploaded on sites can be found in the related web link we have added underneath:
GANDCRAB 5.2 Ransomware – Background and Activity Report
GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware belongs to the GANDCRAB ransomware family of viruses, which has spread in the following versions up until this variant:
When we come to the current GANDCRAB 5.2 version, there have been a lot of infection files reported so far by malware researchers to have the following names and identifiers:
Samples provided by malware researcher @tamas_boczan
Once the GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware virus causes an infection on the computers, compromised by it, the virus immediately spaws the randomly named executable file. In it’s turn, the randomly named .exe file creates a child process in wmic.exe(Windows Management Instrumentation) as the VMRay graphic below shows:
From there, GandCrab v5.2 ransomware may begin it’s malicious activity to encrypt the files on the compromised machine. The activity begins with dropping the ransom note of GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware, which is a .txt file that has a randomly generated name and ends with “-DECRYYPT.txt”. The ransom note file has the following message to victims, asking them to visit a TOR-based web page:
—= GANDCRAB V5.2 =—
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT DELETE THIS FILE, UNTIL ALL YOUR DATA IS RECOVERED
FAILING TO DO SO WIL RESULT IN YOUR SYSTEM CORRUPTION, IF THERE ARE DECRYPTION ERRORS
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 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/ b6314679c4ba3647/
| 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.
IN ORDER TO PREVENT DATA DAMAGE:
* DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES
* DO NOT CHANGE DATA BELOW
The web link in the GANDCRAB 5.2 “DECRYPT.txt” file leads to a ransom payment website that wants you to pay hundreds of dollars in DASH or BTC. The site is opened with TOR browser and looks like the following:
The final activity of GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware is to change your wallpaper. The wallpaper that is changed appears like the following on computers that were infected with the virus:
GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware may also execute the following command as an administrator in order to delete the backed up files on the infected computer:
→“C:\Windows\system32\wbem\wmic.exe” shadowcopy delete
GANDCRAB 5.2 Ransomware – Encryption Report
Probably the biggest change in GANDCRAB so far is that the ransomware virus does not add a random file extension, but renames the whole encrypted file to A-Z, a-z, 0-9 randomly generated name. And what is even worse is that each file is renamed differently with different file name length. The files, encrypted by GANDCRAB ransomware are transformed to the following after encryption:
The encryption of GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware is done via Salsa20 encryption algorithm. This cipher aims to replace data from the files on the infected computer with blocks of encrypted data. The virus does not encrypt the whole file, but rather only portions of it, enough to make it seem corrupt and unstable. And what is worse, GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware uses CBC mode for its file encryption procedures. This mode looks like the image we posted below and it basically breaks your files if you try to change their extension or tamper with them:
Remove GANDCRAB 5.2 and Try to Restore Files
If you want to remove GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware virus, we would strongly suggest that you follow the removal instructions which are posted underneath this article. They have been created with the primary idea to help you remove this virus by using the information in this article or automatically.
But before starting removal, we would strongly recommend that you make an image of your computer so that you can be able to restore the infection once a decryptor of the virus has been released and your files are restored. You can also try backing up your files on a flash drive or somewhere else. Whatever you do, DO NOT tamper with the files, since this will break them.
For manual removal of GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware, you can follow the first two instructional steps and remove the infection by using the information in this article. For automatic removal, you can download an anti-malware program, which can take care of the GANDCRAB 5.2 ransomware’s malicious files automatically. Installing the recommended anti-malware software also makes sure that your computer remains protected against any infections on your computer that might occur in the future too.