The infamous GandCrab ransomware has reached version 4 that blemishes encrypted files with the .KRAB extension and drops KRAB-DECRYPT.txt ransom note.
Any hiatus in the activity of the cybercriminal gang behind GandCrab ransomware is nothing but a brief lull before the storm. The recent emergence of GandCrab v4 proves this statement correct. As part of the brand new iteration, the extortionists appear to have revamped quite a few things, including the way the culprit encrypts data, handles filenames and demands money from unfortunate victims. The distribution of this edition deviates from the previously used mechanisms, too. The most massive campaign currently underway is delivering the toxic payload via bogus crack sites that encourage users to download booby-trapped crack tools for popular software, such as Merging Image to PDF. As unsuspecting people click the download link, the ransomware hops onto their computers behind their back.
The next phase of the contamination chain migrates to the target host. When inside a Windows machine, GandCrab v4 deletes Shadow Copies of the prey’s data and starts a massive personal files hunt. To this end, it analyzes all files residing on the plagued hard drive, removable drives as well as mapped and unmapped networks shares for correlation with a predefined list of formats. Once a matching entry is spotted, the perpetrating program encrypts it. Speaking of which, the new variant of the infection has abandoned the use of asymmetric RSA crypto standards in favor of the Salsa20 stream cipher. This is another fundamental difference from the previous mods.
Having completed the unauthorized cryptographic routine, the ransomware modifies the filenames. In this activity, it follows a fairly simple route, taking the full original filename and appending it with the .KRAB extension. Therefore, sample.jpg will transform into sample.jpg.KRAB. The good news is that the victim can still work out what has been encrypted. The bad news, though, is that these objects are off limits and cannot be accessed using any commonplace tools. The cryptographic crippling of the data’s interior structure is the biggest scourge of ransomware attacks.
At that point, the user will probably start looking for clues on how to actually decrypt their files. A document dropped onto the desktop named KRAB-DECRYPT.txt is what will shed light on the recovery as viewed by the criminals. It goes, “Attention! All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .KRAB. The only method of recovering files is to purchase a unique private key.” This is a garden-variety scheme – the black hats instruct the victim to visit a specified Tor page covering the rest of the recovery workflow.
The Tor site being endorsed by the malefactors is titled Payment Page. It includes information on the size of the ransom and the amount of time left before the buyout price doubles. The ransoms are accepted in Dash or Bitcoin. Ultimately, the victim is told to submit $1,200 worth of cryptocurrency to their address. Unless paid in three days, this sum increases to the equivalent of $2,400. This is an additional element of pressure widely used by ransomware authors. Unfortunately, there is no universal free solution that decrypts .KRAB files at this point. Under the circumstances, it is recommended to give the alternatives below a shot.
.KRAB ransomware automated removal and data recovery
Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:
1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button
2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.
Data recovery toolkit to the rescue
Some strains of ransomware are known to delete the original files after the encryption routine has been completed. As hostile as this activity appears, it can play into your hands. There are applications designed to revive the information that was obliterated because of malfunctioning hardware or due to accidental removal. The tool called Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic features this type of capability therefore it can be applied in ransom attack scenarios to at least get the most important files back. So download and install the program, run a scan and let it do its job.
.KRAB / GandCrab v4 ransomware manual removal and file recovery
Some ransomware strains terminate themselves after completing the encryption job on a computer, but some don’t. Furthermore, the GandCrab v4 blackmail virus may prevent victims from using popular antimalware tools in order to stay on board for as long as possible. Under the circumstances, it may be necessary to utilize the Safe Mode with Networking or System Restore functionality.
- Restart the machine. When the system begins loading back up, keep pressing the F8 key with short intervals. The Windows Advanced Options Menu (Advanced Boot Options) screen will appear.
- Use arrow keys to select Safe Mode with Networking and hit Enter. Log on with the user account infected by the ransomware.
- Click on the Search icon next to the Start menu button. Type msconfig in the search field and select the System Configuration option in the results. Go to the Boot tab in the upper part of the GUI.
- Under Boot options, select Safe boot and click the Apply button. A prompt will appear to reboot the computer so that the changes take effect. Select the Restart option and wait for the system to load into Safe Mode. Again, log on with the ransomware-stricken user account.
In Safe Mode, the ransom Trojan won’t keep security software from running or otherwise thwart troubleshooting. Open your preferred web browser, download and install an antimalware tool of choice and start a full system scan. Have all the detected ransomware components removed in a hassle-free way.
- Open Windows Advanced Options Menu as described in the previous section: hit F8 repeatedly when the PC is starting up. Use arrow keys to highlight the Safe Mode with Command Prompt entry. Hit Enter.
- In the Command Prompt window, type cd restore and hit Enter
- Type rstrui.exe in the new command line and press Enter
- When the System Restore screen pops up, click Next, select a restore point that predates the contamination, and use the application’s controls to roll back the system to this earlier state.
Be advised that even after the ransomware is removed, files will still be encrypted and inaccessible. The malicious code cleanup part, however, is important because it keeps a relapse of the infection from occurring further on and eliminates all opportunistic malware.
Ways of non-ransom recovery of .KRAB files
Cracking the crypto used by this ransom Trojan is more of a science fiction thing rather than an attainable prospect for the masses. This is why the troubleshooting in predicaments of this sort is a matter of two approaches: one is to pay the ransom, which isn’t an option for many victims; and the other is to apply instruments that take advantage of the ransomware’s possible weaknesses. If the latter is your pick, the advice below is a must-try.
Checking one’s options regarding this workaround is doable in two ways: through the Properties menu of each file or by means of the remarkable open-source tool called Shadow Explorer. We recommend the software-based way because it’s automated, hence faster and easier. Just install the app and use its intuitive controls to get previous versions of the encrypted objects reinstated.
Alternatively, you can leverage the Previous Versions feature, which is native to Windows operating system. This method is more cumbersome that the use of ShadowExplorer, but it can help restore the most important individual files on condition that the ransomware failed to disable the Volume Snapshot Service on the computer. Right-click on a file of choice and select Properties. Then, go to the Previous Versions tab as illustrated below.
Go ahead and pick the file’s latest backup version on the list. Use the Copy or Restore buttons to reinstate this object to a new path or to its original folder, respectively.
Ransomware Prevention Tips
To avoid the .KRAB variant of the GandCrab v4 ransomware and other file-encrypting infections in the future, follow several simple recommendations:
- Toggle your email provider’s anti-spam settings to filter out all the potentially harmful incoming messages. Raising the bar beyond the default protection is an important countermeasure for ransom Trojans.
- Define specific file extension restrictions in your email system. Make sure that attachments with the following extensions are blacklisted: .js, .vbs, .docm, .hta, .exe, .cmd, .scr, and .bat. Also, treat ZIP archives in received messages with extreme caution.
- Rename the vssadmin.exe process so that ransomware is unable to obliterate all Shadow Volume Copies of your files in one shot.
- Keep your Firewall active at all times. It can prevent crypto ransomware from communicating with its C&C server. This way, the threat won’t be able to obtain cryptographic keys and lock your files.
- Back up your files regularly, at least the most important ones. This recommendation is self-explanatory. A ransomware attack isn’t an issue as long as you keep unaffected copies of your data in a safe place.
- Use an effective antimalware suite. There are security tools that identify ransomware-specific behavior and block the infection before it can do any harm.
These techniques are certainly not a cure-all, but they will add an extra layer of ransomware protection to your security setup.
Revise your security status
Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup.