GandCrab 5.0.3 ransomware (Removal Guide) - updated Oct 2018

GandCrab 5.0.3 virus Removal Guide

What is GandCrab 5.0.3 ransomware?

GandCrab v5.0.3 ransomware – the third subversion of a notorious Gandcrab 5

GandCrab 5.0.3 ransomwareGandCrab 5.0.3 ransomware is a file locking virus that employs a sophisticated encryption algorithm to lock data and demands ransom for its release

GandCrab v5.0.3 ransomware is a sub-variant of GandCrab v5 and showed up mid-October 2018. Malware usually breaks in via spam emails or by using weak RDP,[1] as well as exploit kits (such as Fallout EK)[2] and then uses a strong encryption algorithm to lock up data. Files do not get corrupted, but instead, a file extension of five random characters is added, preventing users from accessing them. GandCrab 5.0.3 virus then leaves a ransom note [5 random characters]-DECRYPT.txt behind, explaining what victims should do next. Additionally, the wallpaper is also swapped to a brief message from malware authors. To retrieve personal files, users are asked to pay a ransom of $400-2400 in Bitcoin or Dash cryptocurrency. The good news is that malware is already decryptable. Besides, users can use the special vaccine[3] to prevent file encryption entirely, as long as it is applied before the infection.

Name GandCrab v5.0.3
Type Ransomware
Related versions Gandcrab 5.0.1, GandCrab v5.0.2, GandCrab 5.0.4
Cipher used Salsa20 and RSA-2048
Extension .[5 random characters]
Ransom note [5 random characters]-DECRYPT.txt
Distribution Exploit kits, phishing emails, weak RDP, etc.
Elimination Use FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner to eliminate the virus
Decryption process Download GandCrab 5.0.3 decryptor

Since version 5 release in late September, GandCrab grew rampant with new version releases, resulting in 4 sub-variants coming out in a short period of time. All cyber threats are using Salsa20 and RSA-2048 to encode data, and a random combination of characters as a file extension. According to cybercriminals, such method allows them to obfuscate and complicate GandCrab 5.0.3 removal process.

The main file dropper is JavaScript file called GandCrab 5.0.3 downloader.js, which once executed, launches another two executables – dsoyaltj.exe and Wermgr.exe. These processes provide malware administrative rights which can then modify Windows Registry and other vital settings.

After file encryption, the malware drops ransom note into each of the affected folders and includes the following message:

—= GANDCRAB V5.0.3 =—
All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: {5 random letters}
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 –
| 1. Install Tor Browser
| 2. Open Tor Browser
| 3. Open link in TOR browser http://gandcrabmfe6mnef.onion/[unique_ID]
| 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.

Once users enter the provided URL, they can see further details on how to process the payment and allegedly receive the decryptor. However, experts[4] do not recommend contacting criminals, as loss of money is likely. Instead, users should ignore the warnings and the ransom note, and remove GandCrab 5.0.3 ransomware from their computers. To make sure that the process is smooth, users should reboot in Safe Mode with Networking to temporary disable the virus and perform system scan using FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or another trusted security software.

Only after GandCrab v5.0.3 ransomware is eliminated, victims can proceed with file recovery. Those who keep backups are in luck – it assures a 100% data recovery. Users who did not prepare a backup, should not give up because researchers at BitDefender have already presented a free decryption tool. All the instructions on how to get it are provided below.

GandCrab 5.0.3 virusGandCrab 5.0.3 virus is a variant of a notorious GandCrab family which uses a random combination of 5 characters as a file extension

Exploit kits and spam – the main ways used by ransomware to find its way into the system

Internet security is often underestimated by users, as they are extremely careless when it comes to it. Furthermore, negligence might be initiated by a simple lack of knowledge. Unfortunately, those who do not know how malware is distributed and how it infects computers are usually the victims.

Ransomware is one of the most wide-spread cyber threats when it comes to money extortion. Thus, users should always back up their systems, as no security measures can guarantee 100% protection. Nevertheless, several actions can significantly reduce the risk of infection, such as:

  • Prompt Windows and other software updates;
  • Powerful security software;
  • File-sharing, torrent, and similar dangerous site avoidance;
  • Strong passwords, frequently changed;
  • Caution when opening spam emails, their links, and attachments.

The sooner you delete GandCrab 5.0.3 from your computer, the more files you can save

There are many people who get infected with a virus and suddenly ask “What should I do now?”. First of all, users should realize that the infection is finished, their files are encrypted, and now it is time to deal with the whole situation. The very first step after discovering your encrypted files is GandCrab 5.0.3 removal. There is no point in trusting the ransom note that declares that you need to send your ransom to cybercriminals and they will eliminate the virus for you.

If you are blocked, to remove GandCrab 5.0.3 virus, you should first enter Safe Mode with Networking, as explained below. After the boot, download and install reputable security software, and then perform a full system scan. Manual virus elimination is impossible for regular users, so do not waste your time (additionally, it can result in system failure, and then a complete reinstall of Windows will be needed).

Next, move on to files' recovery. The easiest way to get access to your data is using backups. If you don't have them, try methods that are presented below to recover files encrypted by GandCrab 5.0.3. You should definitely try using the official BitDefender decryptor. For the future, make sure you take care of the safety of your data by saving at least three copies of the save file in different locations.[5]

do it now!
Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Fortect, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of GandCrab 5.0.3 virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

To temporary disable the virus and remove it, enter Safe Mode with Networking:

Important! →
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.

Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking

Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment. 

Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes

Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.

Step 4. Delete virus files

Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):


After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove GandCrab 5.0.3 using System Restore

System Restore can also be helpful when it comes to GandCrab 5.0.3 removal:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of GandCrab 5.0.3. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with FortectIntego and make sure that GandCrab 5.0.3 removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove GandCrab 5.0.3 from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by security experts.

The official decryptor has already been released by tech experts, so do no to pay any ransom to criminals.

If your files are encrypted by GandCrab 5.0.3, you can use several methods to restore them:

Make use of Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a professional tool that might be able to help you get your files back.

  • Download Data Recovery Pro;
  • Follow the steps of Data Recovery Setup and install the program on your computer;
  • Launch it and scan your computer for files encrypted by GandCrab 5.0.3 ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use Windows Previous Versions feature

This option is only available if you had System Restore feature enabled before the attack occurred.

  • Find an encrypted file you need to restore and right-click on it;
  • Select “Properties” and go to “Previous versions” tab;
  • Here, check each of available copies of the file in “Folder versions”. You should select the version you want to recover and click “Restore”.

Recover your files encrypted by GandCrab 5.0.3 with ShadowExplorer

Most of the ransomware viruses attempt to remove Shadow Volume Copies. However, some of them fail to do so. If you are lucky, you will be able to recover all of your data.

  • Download Shadow Explorer (;
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
  • Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.

GandCrab 5.0.3 decryptor is already available

To recover files encrypted by this cryptovirus, download this tool.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from GandCrab 5.0.3 and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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