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.KRAB files virus: GandCrab v4 ransomware decryptor

6 min read
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.

.KRAB files appear in the aftermath of the GandCrab v4 attack
.KRAB files appear in the aftermath of the GandCrab v4 attack

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.

KRAB-DECRYPT.txt ransom note
KRAB-DECRYPT.txt ransom note

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 / GandCrab v4 ransomware automated removal and data recovery

When faced with ransomware like .KRAB / GandCrab v4, one of the best shortcuts in terms of removal is to use Combo Cleaner, a lightweight and incredibly effective application with PC security and optimization features under the hood. It detects and thoroughly deletes threats while giving you insights into the overall health of your computer.

This program’s protection power spans modules that forestall all known types of malware, including ransomware and browser hijackers, and take your online security to the next level by blocking phishing sites and other suspicious web pages. Follow these simple steps to eliminate the infection for good:

1. Download Combo Cleaner installer.

Download .KRAB / GandCrab v4 remover

Combo Cleaner scans your PC with no strings attached, but you’ll have to buy its fully functional version to remove the threats it detects. The disk optimization tools that find large files and duplicates are free to use.

Download and run Combo Cleaner installer on your PC

2. Open the CCSetup.exe file to get started. Several subsequent screens will allow you to make initial customizations so that the program works exactly as you need from the get-go.Setup customizations

3. The installation will be followed by an update of malware signatures. Once this process is through, click the Start Scan button in the left-hand sidebar.Start initial scan

4. Combo Cleaner will then check system locations that are most often polluted by Windows malware. The first scan can take a while to finish.Combo Cleaner scan in progress

5. Combo Cleaner will display a system tray notification as soon as the scan is over. Click the Resolve found threats button to view the results.Scan completed

6. The scan summary shows the names and types of the detected threats as well as their statuses and locations. Click the Remove all threats button and follow further on-screen prompts to get rid of these items.Scan results

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 Stellar Data Recovery features this type of a capability and therefore it can be applied in ransom attack scenarios to at least get the most important files back. So use the app to get an idea of what data can be restored and let it do the recovery job. Here is a step-by-step walkthrough:

1. Download and install Stellar Data Recovery.

Download Stellar Data Recovery

2. Open the application, select the types of recoverable files to look for, and click Next.Stellar Data Recovery main screen

3. Choose the areas you want the tool to recover from and click the Scan button.Select which PC areas to recover from

4. Having scanned the specified locations, the program will display a notification about the total amount of recoverable data. Close the dialog and click the Recover button. This will hopefully help you get some of your valuable files back.Recover files

.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 .KRAB / GandCrab v4 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.

Remove .KRAB / GandCrab v4 ransomware using Safe Mode with Networking

Remove .KRAB / GandCrab v4 ransomware using Safe Mode with Networking

Get rid of .KRAB / GandCrab v4 ransomware using System Restore

Get rid of .KRAB / GandCrab v4 ransomware using System Restore

System Restore enables Windows users to roll back all changes made to the OS since the latest restore point creation time. This feature can help eliminate the most persistent ransomware. Before going this route, though, make sure System Restore had been enabled prior to the breach, otherwise the method will be inefficient.

  • 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.Safe Mode with Command Prompt
  • In the Command Prompt window, type cd restore and hit Entercd restore command
  • Type rstrui.exe in the new command line and press EnterType rstrui.exe command
  • 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.System Restore window
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.

Backups can make your day

Backups can make your day

Not only are you a lucky person in case you’ve been backing up your most important files, but you’re also a wise and prudent user. This isn’t necessarily a resource-heavy activity these days – in fact, some providers of online services are allocating a sufficient size of cloud storage space for free so that every customer can easily upload their critical data without paying a penny. Having removed the .KRAB / GandCrab v4 ransomware, therefore, all you have to do is download your stuff from the remote server or transfer it all from an external piece of hardware if that’s the case.

Restore previous versions of encrypted files

Restore previous versions of encrypted files

A positive upshot of using this technique depends on whether or not the ransomware has erased the Volume Shadow Copies of the files on your PC. This is a Windows feature that automatically makes and keeps the backups of data elements on the hard drive as long as System Restore is enabled. The cryptoware in question is programmed to switch off the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), but it has reportedly failed to in some cases.

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.

Shadow Explorer

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.

Previous Versions

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 .KRAB / 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. Another benefit of using the antimalware tool is that it will keep ransomware threats from intruding on your computer further on.

Download .KRAB / GandCrab v4 removal tool

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