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Remove Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware (Virus Removal Guide) - Recovery Instructions Included

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware

Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware – crypto malware that continues encrypting users' files and demanding ransom for the decryptor

Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware

Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware is a file locking virus that was first spotted just before Easter in 2019 by independent security researcher Jakub Kroustek.[1] Just as its predecessors, the malware uses a sophisticated encryption algorithm to lock up data, and appends a random file extension to each file, for example, .JVULZYCBF. Once the procedure is complete, Gandcrab 5.3 changes the wallpaper and drops a ransom note [File extension]-MANUAL.txt or [File extension]-DECRYPT.txt. It explains to users that their computers were infected with ransomware and that allegedly the only way to retrieve access to personal pictures, documents, databases, and other files is by contacting cybercriminals via the email and consequently pay a ransom in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.

However, when the email is not the only hint to Jokeroo ransomware-as-service. According to researchers, when they tried to debug Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware, they spotted a few messages, such as “Jokeroo, new ransom,” “We rulez!!”. Due to different types of ransom notes delivered, there is a chance that there are a few hacker groups that are distributing the virus.

Name Gandcrab 5.3
Type Ransomware
Family GandCrab ransomware
File extension [random characters], for example .wwfew
Ransom note [File extension]-MANUAL.txt, [File extension]-DECRYPT.txt, [File extension]-DECRYPT.html
Decryption tool Not available
Alternative decryption methods Backups, third-party software
Detected as
  • HEUR/AGEN.1039547
  • Ransom.GandCrab
  • Generic.Ransom.GandCrab5.5B2B9420
  • VirTool:Win32/Obfuscator.QV
  • Ransom.Win32.GANDCRAB.SMILC
  • HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic
  • W32/GandCrab_V5_2!tr.ransom, etc.
Termination Use security software that can recognize the threat, we suggest Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner

There are many ways to get infected with Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware, so precautionary measures should be used at all times. Here are some main distribution methods of the virus:

  • Spam email attachments or hyperlinks;
  • Exploit kits;[2]
  • Unprotected RDP;
  • Fake updates;
  • Infected or repacked installers;
  • Torrent files;
  • Steganography;[3]
  • Malicious ads, etc.

As soon as Gandcrab 5.3 virus enters the PC, it performs a variety of system changes: modifies Windows registry, shuts down particular services, executes shell commands, deletes shadow volume copies, etc. The latter is the reason why file recovery might be extremely complicated after Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware removal. As of now, there is no official decryptor for this version created yet, although users can always rely on backups or attempt the recovery using third-party tools.

After file encryption, Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware drops the following message:

—=    GANDCRAB V5.3    =—




All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .JVULZYCBF
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.
Only us can recover your files
You need follow the next instructions:  
1. Send a mail to us at the next address with this note:  ADDRESS:                                     —————————————————————————————-                    
We will send you the instructions to pay.

It is yet unknown how much Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware distributors might ask for the decryptor, but previous versions demanded anywhere between $500 to $4000 in Bitcoin or Dash. Nevertheless, regardless of the price, you should not pay criminals, as, chances are, you will get scammed and lose your money too.

Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware virusGandcrab 5.3 ransomware is a type of virus that tries to blackmail users into paying ransom for the decryptor

To avoid that, remove Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware from your machine using reliable anti-virus software (be aware that not all AV engines can detect and terminate the infection, but we suggest using Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner) and use alternative file recovery solutions we provide below. Additionally, Bitdefender researchers already released three decryptors for the notorious virus,[4] so it is most likely a matter of time until a new tool is released.

Hackers use sophisticated ransomware distribution methods – don't be a victim

Some ransomware viruses are low scale, and affect only a few people worldwide, making almost no impact. Nevertheless, some of the ransomware families, such as SamSam, STOP, and GandCrab dominate the cybercriminal world, earning millions for the illegally run business. In some cases, such as WannaCry attack, the malware is even connected to international espionage groups and even political hacking groups (Lazarus).

Thus, while one of the most common ways of getting infected with ransomware is by opening a malicious spam email attachment or a link, there are other methods too, and some of them do not even require user interaction whatsoever. Even then, there are ways to prevent silent infection.

The first rule of defending yourself from malware is installing reputable anti-malware software and running it at all times. This will protect you from most already known viruses. Nevertheless, new infections might be a problem, and no security software would protect you 100%, although it's a good start.

Once you secure your PC with anti-virus, make sure you avoid downloading suspicious executables from third-party websites (especially torrents), set up automatic updates, use two-factor authentication, use ad-block for potentially dangerous sites, enable Firewall and, also, back up your files! The latter will send you from all the troubles ransomware can cause.

Terminate Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware using anti-malware software

Gandcrab 5.3 ransomware removal should not cause many troubles usually. Nevertheless, if that is the case, you should enter Safe Mode with Networking and perform a full system scan using security software from there. As we previously mentioned, not all AV engines can detect and delete the infection. Hackers often update the malicious code to include additional evasion and persistence techniques.

As soon as you remove Gandcrab 5.3 virus from your machine, you can proceed with file recovery. Connect your backup device to your computer and copy all the data over. If you had no backups prepared, the only way to restore files currently is trying third-party recovery software – check all the download links below. If not successful, make a copy of all your data and wait for the official decryptor to be released.

do it now!
Reimage Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage 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 Reimage, 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.

To remove Gandcrab 5.3 virus, follow these steps:

Remove Gandcrab 5.3 using Safe Mode with Networking

If GandCrab 5.3 proves difficult to terminate, enter Safe Mode with Networking to temporarily stop the malicious activity of the virus

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    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 Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    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 Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove Gandcrab 5.3

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete Gandcrab 5.3 removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove Gandcrab 5.3 using System Restore

System Restore might also be used to stop the malware:

  • 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 5.3. 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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego and make sure that Gandcrab 5.3 removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Gandcrab 5.3 from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by security experts.

If your files are encrypted by Gandcrab 5.3, you can use several methods to restore them:

Make use of Data Recovery Pro

This tool might get at least some of 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 5.3 ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions Feature might be useful when trying to restore files encrypted by GandCrab 5.3 ransomware

  • 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”.

ShadowExplorer might get all of your files back in some cases

In case the virus fails to delete Shadow Volume Copies, this method should be able to recover all 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.

No decryptor is currently available

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Gandcrab 5.3 and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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