GASH Virus Removal: Decrypt .gash Files & Recover Lost Data

Written by Brendan Smith

The Gash virus belongs to the STOP/DJVU family of ransomware-type infections. Once it infects your computer, it encrypts your files, including videos, photos, and documents, with a specific “.gash” extension. The virus utilizes a powerful encryption method, making it nearly impossible to decipher the key.

If you’ve fallen victim to the Gash virus, it’s important to act quickly to prevent permanent loss of your valuable files. The virus typically demands a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key. However, we strongly advise against giving in to the hacker’s demands, as there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually receive the decryption key after payment.

I’ve put together a complete listing of all the possible solutions, tricks and techniques for neutralizing the Gash virus as well as encryption of files. In certain situations it is simple to recover your files. And sometimes it is just impossible.

Brendan Smith
Brendan Smith
IT Security Expert

First, scan your PC with antivirus tool!

I will try to help you remove Gash virus and will assist how to decrypt or restore encrypted files. There are several universal methods for recovering encrypted .gash files, which will be demonstrated below. It is vital to read the entire instruction manual carefully and make sure to understand it all. Do not skip any steps. Each of these steps is very important and must be completed by you.
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The Gash virus is a dangerous threat that can cause irreversible damage to your computer system. Once it infects your computer, it encrypts all of your files and adds a “.gash” extension to them. The virus then demands a ransom payment in exchange for a decryption key that can unlock your files. In most cases, the ransom note is displayed as a text file named “_readme.txt”.

Gash uses a unique key for each victim, but there is a limitation. If Gash cannot connect to the command and control server (C&C Server) before starting its encryption process, it will use an offline key that is identical across all users. This makes it possible to decrypt encrypted files during a ransomware attack.

What is Gash?

☝️ Gash can be correctly identify as a STOP/DJVU ransomware-type virus.

GASH

🤔 Gash virus is a type of ransomware that belongs to the DJVU/STOP family. It encrypts crucial files, rendering them inaccessible to the victim. In exchange for the decryption key, the ransomware demands a hefty sum ranging from $490 to $980 in Bitcoin.

The STOP/Djvu ransomware is a specific kind of threat that encrypted your documents and then forces you to pay to restore them.

Gash ransomware is similar to other representatives of the same DJVU family: Xash, Qore, Qopz, Saba. This virus encrypt all popular file types and adds its particular “.gash” extension into all files. For instance, the file “1.jpg”, will be amended into “1.jpg.gash“. As soon as the encryption is successfully accomplished, virus creates a specific message file “_readme.txt” and adds it into all folders that contain the modified files.

The image below gives a clear vision of how the files with “.gash” extension look like:

Gash Virus - encrypted .gash files

Encrypted Gash Files

NameGash Virus
Ransomware family1DJVU/STOP2 ransomware
Extension.gash
Ransomware note_readme.txt
RansomFrom $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)
Contactsupport@fishmail.top, datarestorehelp@airmail.cc
DetectionWacatac: How to remove trojan from your computer?, Trojan:Win32/Azorult.CC!MTB, Trojan.Polyransom
Symptoms
  • Encrypted most of your files (photos, videos, documents) and adds a particular “.gash” extension;
  • Can delete Volume Shadow copies to make victim’s attempts to restore data impossible;
  • Adds a list of domains to HOSTS file to block access to certain security-related sites;
  • Installs password-stealing Trojan on the system, like Vidar Stealer or RedLine Stealer;
  • Manages to install a SmokeLoader backdoor;
Fix Tool To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:


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This message asking payment is for restore files via decryption key:

_readme.txt (Gash Ransomware)

_readme.txt (STOP/DJVU Ransomware) – The scary alert demanding from users to pay the ransom to decrypt the encoded data contains these frustrating warnings

Gash ransomware arrives as a set of processes that are meant to perform different tasks on a victim’s computer. One of the first ones being launched is winupdate.exe, a tricky process that displays a fake Windows update prompt during the attack. This is meant to convince the victim that a sudden system slowdown is caused by a Windows update. However, at the same time, the ransomware runs another process (usually named by four random characters) which starts scanning the system for target files and encrypting them. Next, the ransomware deletes Volume Shadow Copies from the system using the following CMD command:

vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet

Once deleted, it becomes impossible to restore the previous computer state using System Restore Points. The thing is, ransomware operators are getting rid of any Windows OS-based methods that could help the victim to restore files for free. In addition, the crooks modify the Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of domains to it and mapping them to the localhost IP. As a result, the victim will run into a DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error when accessing one of the blocked websites.

We noticed that ransomware attempts to block websites that publish various how-to guides for computer users. It is evident that by restricting specific domains, the crooks are trying to prevent the victim from reaching relevant and helpful ransomware-attack-related information online. The virus also saves two text files on the victim’s computer that provide attack-related details – the victim’s public encryption key and personal ID. These two files are called bowsakkdestx.txt and PersonalID.txt.

Gash ransomware virus saves public encryption key and victim's id in bowsakkdestx.txt file

After all these modifications, the malware doesn’t stop. Variants of STOP/DJVU tend to drop Vidar password-stealing Trojan on compromised systems. This threat has a lengthy list of capabilities, such as:

  • Stealing Steam, Telegram, Skype login / password;
  • Stealing cryptocurrency wallets;
  • Downloading malware to the computer and running it;
  • Stealing browser cookies, saved passwords, browsing history, and more;
  • Viewing and manipulating files on victim’s computer;
  • Allowing the hackers to perform other tasks on the victim’s computer remotely.

The cryptography algorithm used by DJVU/STOP ransomware family is AES-256. So, if your documents got encrypted with an online decryption key, which is totally distinct. The sad reality is that it is impossible to decrypt the files without the unique key.

In case if Gash worked in online mode, it is impossible for you to gain access to the AES-256 key. It is stored on a remote server owned by the criminals who distibute the Gash ransomware.

For receiving decryption key the payment should be $980. To obtain the payment details, the victims are encouraged by the message to contact the frauds by email (support@fishmail.top).

The message by the ransomware states the following information:

ATTENTION!

Don't worry, you can return all your files!

All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.

What guarantees you have?

You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.

You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:

https://we.tl/t-WJa63R98Ku

Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.

Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.

Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:

support@fishmail.top

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

datarestorehelp@airmail.cc

Your personal ID:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Do not pay for Gash!

Please, try to use the available backups, or Decrypter tool

Don’t fall victim to ransomware scams! If your files have been encrypted by Gash, you may see a message in the readme.txt file instructing you to contact their representatives within 72 hours for a 50% rebate on the ransom. However, we strongly advise against paying the ransom. Instead, try using available backups or a decrypter tool to recover your lost data.

Ransomware viruses like Gash typically use a standard method for generating a unique decryption key to unlock encrypted files. If the ransomware is not flawed and still in development, it’s nearly impossible to recover the data manually. Therefore, the best way to avoid data loss is to regularly back up your important files. Be sure to store your backups in a separate location from your main workstation, such as on an external hard drive or in online (cloud) storage. Never keep your backups on your main device, as they can be encrypted just like your other data.

Don’t let ransomware thieves hold your files hostage. Keep your data safe by regularly backing it up and staying informed about the latest threats.

How I was infected?

Ransomware has a various methods to built into your system. But it doesn’t really matter what method had place in your case.

Gash virus attack

Gash ransomware attack following a successful phishing attempt.

Nevertheless, there are several ways in which the Gash ransomware can infiltrate your PC:

  • It may be installed along with other apps, particularly freeware or shareware utilities.
  • You may unknowingly download the virus installer by clicking on dubious links in spam emails.
  • Online free hosting resources may also be a source of Gash ransomware.
  • Using illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) resources for downloading pirated software can also put your PC at risk.

If you receive messages urging you to initiate unwanted software or browser updates, be wary as the Gash virus may be disguised as a legitimate tool.

Moreover, cracked apps obtained through P2P are illegal and can also result in serious malware infections, including the Gash ransomware.

While there is no foolproof way to prevent your PC from getting damaged, there are certain steps you can take to reduce the risk of Gash ransomware infection:

  • Be cautious while installing free software and read the installers’ terms carefully.
  • Avoid opening dubious email attachments or files from unknown senders.
  • Keep your security program up-to-date.

The Gash ransomware operates silently and may run in the background without showing up on the list of available programs.

Preventing the infiltration of the Gash ransomware into your device requires a proactive approach. By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, you can avoid the potential financial and data loss that the Gash ransomware can cause.

How To Remove Gash Virus?

In addition to encode a victim’s files, the Gash virus has also started to install the Vidar Stealer on PC to steal account credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, desktop files, and more.3
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft4

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft5.

  1. Download Removal Tool.

    You can download GridinSoft Anti-Malware by clicking the button below:

  2. Run the setup file.

    When setup file has finished downloading, double-click on the setup-antimalware-fix.exe file to install GridinSoft Anti-Malware on your computer.

    Run Setup.exe

    An User Account Control asking you about to allow GridinSoft Anti-Malware to make changes to your device. So, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Setup

  3. Press “Install” button.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Install

  4. Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Splash-Screen

  5. Wait for complete.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your computer for Gash infections and other malicious programs. This process can take a 20-30 minutes, so I suggest you periodically check on the status of the scan process.

    Scanning after Gash ransomware attack

  6. Click on “Clean Now”.

    When the scan has completed, you will see the list of infections that GridinSoft Anti-Malware has detected. To remove them click on the “Clean Now” button in right corner.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result
  7. Trojan Killer for special instances

    In some certain instances, Gash ransomware can block the running of setup files of different anti-malware programs. In this situation, you need to utilize the removable drive with a pre-installed antivirus tool.

    There is a really little number of security tools that are able to be set up on the USB drives, and antiviruses that can do so in most cases require to obtain quite an expensive license. For this instance, I can recommend you to use another solution of GridinSoft – Trojan Killer Portable. It has a 14-days cost-free trial mode that offers the entire features of the paid version 6. This term will definitely be 100% enough to wipe malware out.

How To Decrypt .gash Files?

Restore solution for big “.gash files

Try removing .gash extension on a few BIG files and opening them. Either the Gash ransomware read and did not encrypt the file, or it bugged and did not add the filemarker. If your files are very large (2GB+), the latter is most likely. Please, let me know in comments if that will work for you.

The newest extensions released around the end of August 2019 after the criminals made changes. This includes Sato, Fofd, Foty, etc.

As a result of the changes made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer supported. It has been removed and replaced with the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu Ransomware developed by Emsisoft.

You can download free decryption tool here: Decryptor for STOP Djvu.

  1. Download and run decryption tool.

    Start downloading the decryption tool.

    Make sure to launch the decryption utility as an administrator. You need to agree with the license terms that will come up. For this purpose, click on the “Yes” button:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - license terms

    As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - user interface

  2. Select folders for decryption.

    Based on the default settings, the decryptor will automatically populate the available locations in order to decrypt the currently available drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. Extra (optional) locations can be selected with the help of the “Add” button.

    Decryptors normally suggest several options considering the specific malware family. The current possible options are presented in the Options tab and can be activated or deactivated there. You may locate a detailed list of the currently active Options below.

  3. Click on the “Decrypt” button.

    As soon as you add all the desired locations for decryption into the list, click on the “Decrypt” button in order to initiate the decryption procedure.

    Note that the main screen may turn you to a status view, letting you know of the active process and the decryption statistics of your data:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - the decryption Gash files statistics

    The decryptor will notify you as soon as the decryption procedure is completed. If you need the report for your personal papers, you can save it by choosing the “Save log” button. Note that it is also possible to copy it directly to your clipboard and to paste it into emails or messages here if you need to do so.

The Emsisoft Decryptor might display different messages after a failed attempt to restore your gash files:

✓ Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [your ID]
There is no corresponding decryption key in the Emsisoft decryptor’s database.
✓ No key for New Variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
Your original files were encrypted with an online key. So no one else has the same encryption/decryption key pair. Recovery of gash files without paying the criminals is impossible. 🙁
✓ Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
An offline key was used, but files could not be restored (the offline decryption key isn’t available yet). But, receiving this message is good news for you, because it might be possible to restore your gash files in the future. 🙂
It can take a few weeks or months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. Please follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here.
✓ Remote name could not be resolved
It’s an indication of a DNS issue on your PC. Our first recommendation is to reset your HOSTS file back to default.

How to Restore .gash Files?

In some case Gash ransomware is not doom for your files…

Gash ransomware encryption mechanism feature is next: it encrypts every file byte-by-byte, then saves a file copy, deleting (and not overriding!) the original file. Hence, the information of the file location on the physical disk is lost, but the original file is not deleted from the physical disk. The cell, or the sector where this file was stored, can still contain this file, but it is not listed by the file system and can be overwritten by data that has been loaded to this disk after the deletion. Hence, it is possible to recover your files using special software.

I recently had my pc infected by the Gash virus. It managed to bypass 2 Antivirus software and 2 malware fighters.

Anyway, after realizing it was an online algorithm, it is impossible to retrieve my encrypted files. I also had my backup drive plugged in at the time of the virus, and this was also infected, or so I thought. Every folder within my backup drive had been infected and was encrypted. However, despite losing some important files, I retrieved almost 80% of my 2TB storage.

When I started going through the folders, I noticed the readme.txt ransom note in every folder. I opened some of the folders and found that all files that were not in a subfolder within that folder had been encrypted. However, I found a flaw and glimmer of hope when I went into the subfolders in other folders and found that these files had not been encrypted. Every folder within my c and d drives, including subfolders, had been encrypted, but this was not the case with the backup drive. Having subfolders created within a folder has saved 80% of my data.

As I said, I believe this to be only a small loophole on a backup drive. I’ve since found a further 10 % of my data on another hard drive on a different pc. So my advice is if you use a backup drive, create subfolders. I was lucky, I guess. But I was also unlucky that the virus hit as I was transferring some files from my backup.

Hopefully, this can help some other people in my situation.

Jamie Newland
Some pointers for recovery repair of Gash files (true for all STOP/DJVU variants):

  • I have seen Gash variants fail to encrypt deeper nested folders, so that you can check that. You may find those are not encrypted.
  • This ransomware saves encrypted data to a new file, deletes the original. So there’s a slight chance part of that deleted file can be recovered using file recovery software. It’s unlikely the folder structure can be restored, so a free tool like PhotoRec may be as good as any.
  • This ransomware only partially encrypts (about the first 150 KB), so depending on file size and type of data, the not encrypted part may be recoverable.
  • Joep

    Recovering your files with PhotoRec

    PhotoRec is an open-source program, which is originally created for files recovery from damaged disks, or for files recovery in case if they are deleted. However, as time has gone by, this program got the ability to recover the files of 400 different extensions. Hence, it can be used for data recovery after the ransomware attack

    At first, you need to download this app. It is 100% free, but the developer states that there is no guarantee that your files will be recovered. PhotoRec is distributed in a pack with other utility of the same developer – TestDisk. The downloaded archive will have TestDisk name, but don’t worry. PhotoRec files are right inside.

    To open PhotoRec, you need to find and open “qphotorec_win.exe” file. No installation is required – this program has all the files it need inside of the archive, hence, you can fit it on your USB drive, and try to help your friend/parents/anyone who was been attacked by ransomware.

    PhotoRec file in the folder

    After the launch, you will see the screen showing you the full list of your disk spaces. However, this information is likely useless, because the required menu is placed a bit higher. Click this bar, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.

    Choose the disc in PhotoRec

    After choosing the disk, you need to choose the destination folder for the recovered files. This menu is located at the lower part of the PhotoRec window. The best desicion is to export them on USB drive or any other type of removable disk.

    Choosing the destination folder of recovery

    Then, you need to specify the file formats. This option is located at the bottom, too. As it was mentioned, PhotoRec can recover the files of about 400 different formats.

    Choose the file format

    Finally, you can start files recovery by pressing the “Search” button. You will see the screen where the results of the scan and recovery are shown.

    Recovery process

    Gash files recovery guide


    Frequently Asked Questions

    🤔 How to Open Gash Files Encrypted by Ransomware?


    If you’re wondering how to open “.gash” files, the unfortunate truth is that these files are modified by ransomware and cannot be accessed until they’re decrypted.

    🤔 How to Decrypt Gash Files Containing Important Information?


    If your data in the .gash files is valuable, you might have made a backup copy. If not, try restoring them using the system function – Restore Point. Otherwise, all other methods will require patience.

    🤔 Will GridinSoft Anti-Malware Delete My Encrypted Files?


    No, GridinSoft Anti-Malware won’t delete your encrypted files. The program is designed to remove active system infections. The virus that encrypted your files is likely still active and may install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions, such as stealing passwords and credit cards.

    You need GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove active system infections. The virus that encrypted your files is most likely still active and periodically runs a test for the ability to encrypt even more files. Also, these viruses install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions (for example, theft of passwords, credit cards) often.

    🤔 How to Get the Activation Code When Gash Virus Blocks Infected PC?

    🤔 What to Do When Decryptor Fails to Decrypt All Gash Files?


    If the decryption keys have not yet been released, follow the news on our website. We’ll keep you posted on when new Gash keys or new decryption programs appear.

    🤔 What Can You Do Right Now About Gash Ransomware?


    The Gash ransomware encrypts only the first 150KB of files, which means that some media players, like Winamp, may still be able to play the files, but the first 3-5 seconds (the encrypted portion) will be missing. If possible, try to find an original copy of the encrypted file, such as files downloaded from the internet, shared pictures or photos, attachments in emails, or files on an older computer or external drive.

    Video Guide

    It’s my favorite video tutorial: How to use GridinSoft Anti-Malware and Emsisoft Decryptor for fix ransomware infections.

    If the guide doesn’t help you to remove Gash virus, please download the GridinSoft Anti-Malware that I recommended. Do not forget to share your experience in solving the problem. Please leave a comment here! This can help other victims to understand they are not alone. And together we will find ways to deal with this issue.

    I need your help to share this article.

    It is your turn to help other people. I have written this article to help people like you. You can use buttons below to share this on your favorite social media Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
    Brendan Smith
    GASH Ransomware — How To Restore & Decrypt Files?

    Name: GASH Virus

    Description: Learn how to remove the GASH virus ransomware and decrypt .gash files with our step-by-step guide. Recover your lost data and protect your system from future attacks. Trust our experts for reliable GASH virus removal solutions.

    Operating System: Windows

    Application Category: Virus

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    References

    1. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
    2. About DJVU (STOP) Ransomware.
    3. Windows passwords vulnerability (Mimikatz HackTool): https://howtofix.guide/mimikatz-hacktool/
    4. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
    5. More information about STOP/Djvu Ransomware: https://gridinsoft.com/ransomware/djvu
    6. Trojan Killer Review: https://howtofix.guide/trojan-killer/

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    About the author

    Brendan Smith

    Journalist, researcher, web content developer, grant proposal editor. Efficient and proficient on multiple platforms and in diverse media. Computer technology and security are my specialties.

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