What is GNS file
The .GNS extension is a file extension that is used by the GNS ransomware belonging to the Crysis/Dharma family to mark files that have been encrypted. GNS ransomware is a malicious program that encrypts user files and demands a ransom for a key-decryptor pair that is necessary to decrypt the affected files. It uses a strong encryption system and a long key, which virtually eliminates the possibility of decrypting files without a key. Files encrypted with .GNS extension become useless, their contents cannot be read without the key that the criminals have.
Text presented in the GNS ransomware pop-up:
YOUR FILES ARE ENCRYPTED
Don’t worry,you can return all your files!
If you want to restore them, follow this link:email firstname.lastname@example.org YOUR ID xxxxxxxxxxxx
If you have not been answered via the link within 12 hours, write to us by e-mail:email@example.com
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.
What is GNS ransomware
GNS ransomware is one of the variants of Dharma/Crysis ransomware. The most common source of infection is cracked apps and games, torrents files, freeware, Windows and Microsoft Office activators, and other similar software. Upon execution, it encrypts files using a key that is individual for each computer. GNS uses a very strong encryption system, which eliminates the possibility of determining the key, even using a super computer. The encryption process is very fast, regardless of what is in the file, the virus can easily encrypt it. GNS ransomware can encrypt almost all files that are on the computer, including those located on network drives. The only thing that the virus does not encrypt is the files that are necessary for the Windows OS to function normally. Below we list some types of files that can be encrypted by the ransomware:
.xx, .wdp, .rwl, .bik, .tax, .sid, .js, .wma, .vfs0, .p7c, .sum, .icxs, .lbf, .xyp, .mov, .webdoc, .z3d, .mp4, .wps, .arw, .yal, .bc7, .xyw, .dwg, .odp, .wdb, .ptx, .mdf, .ff, .xlsm, .1, .sidd, .kf, .3fr, .pdd, .sie, .lrf, .z, .wsh, .wmd, .gdb, .jpeg, .mef, .iwd, .odc, .x, .sidn, .t12, .avi, .srw, .svg, .wbk, .mdbackup, .zif, .pptx, .xar, .zdc, .accdb, .xwp, .wsc, .ysp, .ybk, .xdl, .asset, .pst, .wmo, .rw2, .jpe, .y, .cr2, .itdb, .xls, .iwi, .vcf, .7z, .pak, .py, .indd, .wpd, .bc6, .ods, .wp6, .xy3, .ltx, .2bp, .wbd, .rofl, .wp7, .map, .fos, .sb, .mddata, .csv, .sis, .sav, .wbc, .bkf, .rtf, .slm, .xmind, .ppt, .css, .arch00, .3ds, .psd, .xls, .xlsm, .docx, .erf, .zdb, .db0, .crt, .jpg, .odt, .bar, .hkdb, .dbf, .hplg, .m4a, .xmmap, .bkp, .wot, .p7b, .w3x, .wps, .das, .mlx, .nrw, .vpk, .pptm, .upk, .xbplate, .wma, .zw, .cas, .layout, .kdb, .3dm, .pem, .syncdb, .m3u, .wp, .esm, .wpg, .wbmp, .pkpass, .desc, .doc, .p12, .wn, .m2, .wp4, .gho, .litemod, .der, .xlsx, .x3f, .raw, .vtf, wallet, .odm, .mrwref, .ntl, .wcf, .fpk, .flv, .xf, .wpa, .itm, .hkx, .wpd, .wpt, .0, .fsh, .orf, .pfx, .xpm, .crw, .ztmp, .itl, .wpw, .vpp_pc, .wpb, .wsd, .webp, .1st, .psk, .wotreplay, .x3f, .dng, .raf, .srf, .sql
When a file is encrypted, ‘.id-USERID.[EMAIL-ADDRESS].GNS’ is added at the end of its name, that is, if you had a file of ‘document.docx’, then a file with the name ‘document.docx.id-USERID.[firstname.lastname@example.org].GNS’ will appear in its place. If you change the file name, just delete the added extension, then nothing will change. The file will remain encrypted, and as before, this file will not be possible to open in the program with which it is associated.
Perhaps you found on your computer or its desktop a new file called ‘FILES ENCRYPTED.txt’, which for some reason is not encrypted. An example of such a file is given below.
Text presented in the FILES ENCRYPTED.txt file:
all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
This file is very important, in addition to containing a ransom demand, it also contains information that allows you to contact intruders. According to the message, the victim is invited to contact the attackers using the given email address. In response, the authors of the virus will give a Bitcoin address to which the ransom must be transferred. Of course, you should understand that there is no guarantee that the attackers, after receiving the ransom, will provide you with the key necessary to decrypt your files. In addition, by paying the ransom, you will push attackers to create a new ransomware.
|Type||Filecoder, Crypto virus, Ransomware, File locker, Crypto malware|
|Encrypted files extension||.[email@example.com].GNS|
|Ransom note||FILES ENCRYPTED.txt|
|Ransom amount||$300-$1500 in Bitcoins|
|Detection Names||Trojan/Win32.AGeneric, Trojan.Ransom.Crysis.E, Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom], Win.Trojan.Dharma-6668198-0, W32/Wadhrama.B, Win32.Trojan-Ransom.VirusEncoder.A, Ransom.Crysis!1.A6AA (CLOUD), Ransom/W32.Crusis.98304, Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Crusis.to, Trojan.Win32.Ransom.94720.F|
|Symptoms||When you try to open your file, Windows notifies that you do not have permission to open this file. Your documents, photos and music have a wrong name, suffix or extension, or don’t look right when you open them. Files called such as ‘FILES ENCRYPTED.txt’, ‘#_README_#’, ‘_DECRYPT_’ or ‘recover’ in each folder with at least one encrypted file. Ransom note in a pop-up window with cybercriminal’s ransom demand and instructions.|
|Distribution methods||Malicious email attachments. Drive-by downloads (crypto malware can infect the system simply by visiting a web-site that is running malicious code). Social media, like web-based instant messaging applications. Remote desktop protocol (RDP) hacking.|
|Removal||GNS ransomware removal guide|
|Recovery||GNS File Recover Guide|
As we have already said, GNS is not the first ransomware belonging to the Crysis/DGNS family. The fact that to date, antivirus companies have not created a way to decrypt files, and just have not found a 100% way to protect the user’s computers, indicates the complexity of the ransomware and the method that it uses to encrypt files. Nevertheless, you do not need to despair. There are several ways to detect and remove GNS ransomware, and there is also a chance to restore part or even all encrypted files to their original state. Below we will describe in detail how to do this.
How to remove GNS ransomware, Restore .GNS files
If your files have been encrypted with ‘.GNS’ extension, then first of all you need to remove GNS ransomware and be 100% sure that there is no active ransomware on your computer, and then proceed to restore the files. Both the ransomware removal process and the file recovery process will take a lot of time, so do not believe the magical instructions that say that this can be done very quickly. We definitely recommend, even if for some reason one of the methods proposed below did not suit you, try another one and try all of them. Perhaps one of them will help you. Feel free to ask questions in the special section on our website or in the comments below. And the last, before proceeding with the instructions, we advise you to read it thoroughly carefully, and then print or open it on a tablet or smartphone to have it always at hand.
- How to remove GNS ransomware
- How to decrypt .[firstname.lastname@example.org].GNS files
- How to restore .[email@example.com].GNS files
- How to protect your system from GNS ransomware
How to remove GNS ransomware
First you need to remove the GNS ransomware autostart entries before decrypting and recovering encrypted files. Another option is to perform a full scan of the computer using antivirus software capable of detecting and removing ransomware infection.
It is very important to scan the computer for malware, as security researchers found that spyware could be installed on the infected computer along with the GNS ransomware. Spyware is a very dangerous security threat as it is designed to steal the user’s personal information such as passwords, logins, contact details, etc. If you have any difficulty removing GNS ransomware, then let us know in the comments, we will try to help you.
To remove GNS ransomware, use the steps listed below:
Kill GNS ransomware
Press CTRL, ALT, DEL keys together.
Click Task Manager. Select the “Processes” tab, look for something suspicious that is the GNS ransomware then right-click it and select “End Task” or “End Process” option.
A process is particularly suspicious: it is taking up a lot of memory (despite the fact that you closed all of your programs, its name is not familiar to you (if you are in doubt, you can always check the program by doing a search for its name in Google, Yahoo or Bing).
Disable GNS ransomware Start-Up
Select the “Start-Up” tab, look for something similar to the one shown in the example below, right click to it and select Disable.
Close Task Manager.
Scan computer for malware
Zemana highly recommended, because it can detect security threats such as GNS ransomware, other malicious software and trojans that most ‘classic’ antivirus applications fail to pick up on. Moreover, if you have any GNS removal problems which cannot be fixed by this utility automatically, then Zemana Anti-Malware (ZAM) provides 24X7 online assistance from the highly experienced support staff.
- First, visit the following page, then press the ‘Download’ button in order to download the latest version of Zemana.
Author: Zemana Ltd
Category: Security tools
Update: July 16, 2019
- After the downloading process is complete, close all software and windows on your system. Open a file location. Double-click on the icon that’s named Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup.
- Further, click Next button and follow the prompts.
- Once install is done, press the “Scan” button to perform a system scan for the GNS ransomware, other malware, worms and trojans. A system scan may take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on your system. While the Zemana Free is scanning, you can see how many objects it has identified either as being malware.
- As the scanning ends, Zemana Free will show a scan report. When you are ready, press “Next”. When that process is finished, you can be prompted to restart your personal computer.
In order to be 100% sure that the computer no longer has the GNS crypto malware, we recommend using the Kaspersky virus removal tool (KVRT). It is a free removal utility which can check your personal computer for a wide range of security threats such as ransomware, adware, spyware, PUPs, trojans, worms as well as other malicious software. It will perform a deep scan of the system including hard drives and Microsoft Windows registry. Once a malicious software is found, it will help you to uninstall all detected threats from your PC with a simple click.
Download Kaspersky virus removal tool (KVRT) by clicking on the following link. Save it to your Desktop so that you can access the file easily.
Author: Kaspersky® lab
Category: Security tools
Update: March 5, 2018
After the download is complete, double-click on the Kaspersky virus removal tool icon. Once initialization process is done, you’ll see the Kaspersky virus removal tool screen as displayed below.
Click Change Parameters and set a check near all your drives. Click OK to close the Parameters window. Next press Start scan button to perform a system scan for the GNS ransomware virus and other malicious software. A system scan can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on your personal computer. During the scan KVRT will locate threats exist on your machine.
After finished, Kaspersky virus removal tool will open a list of found items like below.
In order to delete all threats, simply click on Continue to start a cleaning procedure.
How to decrypt .[firstname.lastname@example.org].GNS files
All files with the ‘.GNS’ extension are encrypted. Their contents cannot be unlocked simply by removing this extension or completely changing the filename. Unfortunately, as we already reported in this article, there is currently no way to decrypt files. The reason for this is the complexity of the encryption algorithm that the authors of GNS virus use. In principle, this is what the attackers sought. But this does not mean that you have no choice and you need to pay a ransom for your files.
Never pay the ransom! Every security expert will tell you this over and over. Of course, there is a chance that by paying a ransom, GNS virus authors will allow you to unlock your files, but there is no guarantee. Moreover, you should understand that when you pay a ransom, you unknowingly push the attackers to create new, even more destructive viruses.
Do not forget that besides you, thousands more people around the world have lost their files, that is, you are not alone. Antivirus companies, security experts are working on something that will allow you to decrypt .GNS files. Perhaps in the future an universal method will be developed that will allow all victims to unlock all their data.
Of course, as soon as a way to decrypt the files appears, we will post a message about this to this article or to our facebook account. Therefore, we recommend that you follow the updates.
How to restore .[email@example.com].GNS files
As we wrote above, you cannot decrypt files encrypted with GNS ransomware. But you can use a different way, there is a small chance to restore .GNS files without decrypting them. Programs created for searching and recovering lost and deleted data can help you with this. We recommend you to use the following free programs: PhotoRec and ShadowExplorer. Two more things we want to say about. First, before restoring files, you must be 100% sure that there is no ransomware on the computer. We recommend using free malware removal tools that we examined in this article. Second, and what is very important! The less you use your computer after ransomware infection, the higher the chance that you will be able to recover encrypted files.
Restore .[firstname.lastname@example.org].GNS files using Shadow Explorer
First of all, try to recover your files using a free tool called ShadowExplorer. This program will allow you to recover your files from Shadow Volume Copies. These copies are created automatically by the OS when you work with your files. Unfortunately, very often, the virus automatically deletes all these copies and thus prevents the user from recovering encrypted files. Nevertheless, in some cases, the ransomware cannot delete all copies, and the user gets the opportunity to quickly restore all files. Therefore, our opinion, you should definitely try this method!
First, click the following link, then click the ‘Download’ button in order to download the latest version of ShadowExplorer.
Category: Security tools
Update: September 15, 2019
When the download is finished, open a directory in which you saved it. Right click to ShadowExplorer-0.9-portable and select Extract all. Follow the prompts. Next please open the ShadowExplorerPortable folder as shown on the screen below.
Launch the ShadowExplorer tool and then choose the disk (1) and the date (2) that you wish to recover the shadow copy of file(s) encrypted by the GNS crypto virus as shown on the image below.
Now navigate to the file or folder that you wish to recover. When ready right-click on it and click ‘Export’ button as shown in the following example.
This video step-by-step guide will demonstrate How to recover encrypted files using Shadow Explorer.
Use PhotoRec to recover .[email@example.com].GNS files
Another really working way to recover your encrypted files is to use a program named PhotoRec. It is created to recover deleted or lost files. Does the GNS ransomware block this method? Fortunately, the ransomware cannot block this method of recovering the contents of encrypted files. The more you used (moved, deleted, modified) files before infection, the greater the chance that you will be able to recover them.
Download PhotoRec by clicking on the link below.
Category: Security tools
Update: March 1, 2018
When the downloading process is finished, open a directory in which you saved it. Right click to testdisk-7.0.win and choose Extract all. Follow the prompts. Next please open the testdisk-7.0 folder as displayed in the following example.
Double click on qphotorec_win to run PhotoRec for Windows. It’ll open a screen like below.
Select a drive to recover like the one below.
You will see a list of available partitions. Choose a partition that holds encrypted documents, photos and music like below.
Click File Formats button and specify file types to recover. You can to enable or disable the recovery of certain file types. When this is finished, click OK button.
Next, click Browse button to select where restored documents, photos and music should be written, then click Search. We strongly recommend that you save the recovered files to an external drive.
Count of recovered files is updated in real time. All restored documents, photos and music are written in a folder that you have chosen on the previous step. You can to access the files even if the recovery process is not finished.
When the recovery is finished, press on Quit button. Next, open the directory where restored personal files are stored. You will see a contents as shown in the following example.
All restored documents, photos and music are written in recup_dir.1, recup_dir.2 … sub-directories. If you are searching for a specific file, then you can to sort your restored files by extension and/or date/time.
This video step-by-step guide will demonstrate How to recover encrypted files using PhotoRec.
How to protect your system from GNS ransomware
Most antivirus programs already have built-in protection system against the crypto virus. Therefore, if your computer does not have an antivirus program, make sure you install it. As an extra protection, run the HitmanPro.Alert. HitmanPro.Alert is a small security utility. It can check the system integrity and alerts you when critical system functions are affected by malware. HitmanPro.Alert can detect, remove, and reverse ransomware effects.
HitmanPro Alert can be downloaded from the following link. Save it to your Desktop so that you can access the file easily.
Category: Security tools
Update: March 6, 2019
Once the download is done, open the folder in which you saved it. You will see an icon like below.
Double click the HitmanPro Alert desktop icon. Once the tool is opened, you will be shown a window where you can choose a level of protection, as on the image below.
Now click the Install button to activate the protection.
To sum up
This guide was created to help all victims of the GNS ransomware virus. We tried to give answers to the following questions: how to remove ransomware; how to recover .GNS files. We hope that the information presented in this manual has helped you.
If you have questions, then write to us, leaving a comment below. If you need more help with GNS related issues, go to here.