GNL Locker is a ransomware trojan bearing resemblance to such viruses as Locky, CryptoWall, TeslaCrypt, CryptoHasYou, just to name a few among others. In ‘‘GNL’’ acronym ‘‘G’’ stands for German, ‘‘N’’ – for Netherlands and ‘‘L’’ – for locker. This selection of countries is not accidental – the virus checks the IP address and targets specifically the German and the Dutch users. GNL Locker is considered to be another version of Hidden Tear open source cryptomalware.
About GNL Locker Ransomware
GNL Locker affects nearly all versions Windows OS and encrypts various files: text, audio, video files, archives, etc. The data is encrypted with RSA-2048 algorithm (with the key of 2048 bits of length) using the unique 32-characters AES password. ‘‘.locked’’ extension is appended to those files (e.g. story.doc is turned into story.doc.locked). The encryption process is hidden under the svchost.exe host process. When it is accomplished, the desktop wallpaper is replaced with UNLOCK_FILES_INSTRUCTIONS.PNG file, in every folder of encrypted files appears UNLOCK_FILES_INSTRUCTIONS.TXT file, and UNLOCK_FILES_INSTRUCTIONS.HTML page may appear when you open the browser. The hackers demand for around 0.4 to 0.6 BTC (Bitcoins), that is from 150 to 250 USD. They threaten to triple the ransom if the payment does not reach them until the given date. GNL Locker may use .bat file to give commands to Windows kernel.
How does GNL Locker Ransomware Spread?
GNL Locker cryptomalware spreads through spam e-mails and their malicious attachments. These attachments contain suspicious files which are infected with the virus. The e-mails may enclose links to harmful websites either. These spam e-mails are typically fake lottery tickets, promotions, unexpected money transfers to PayPal accounts, etc. The other way ransomwares like GNL Locker proliferate is the system vulnerabilities being taken advantage of exploit kits. For instance, GNL Locker, just as KimcilWare ransomware, may exploit Macro functionality.
How to Decrypt Files Encrypted by GNL Locker Ransomware
There are no decryption tools available at the moment. But, as luck would have it, Shadow Volume Copies are not destroyed by GNL Locker and can be used to restore corrupted files. This can be done via the Volume Shadow Copy Service. Additionally, data recovery tools such as Photorec, Kaspersky virus-fighting utilities or R-Studio can be applied.
All in all, it is highly recommended to use backup systems such as Google Drive, Elephant Drive or to store your most valuable data in some external drive. For virus removal employ professional anti-virus tools such as Reimage, SpyHunter, Malwarebytes or StopZilla. The best-case scenario would be if you took care of your data and computer security beforehand and installed a reputable anti-malware program for prevention.
- About GNL Locker Ransomware
- How does GNL Locker Ransomware Spread?
- How to Decrypt Files Encrypted by GNL Locker Ransomware
- Automatic GNL Locker Ransomware removal tools
- How to recover GNL Locker Ransomware encrypted files and remove the virus
- Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
- Step 2. Complete removal of GNL Locker Ransomware
- Step 3. Restore GNL Locker Ransomware affected files using Shadow Volume Copies
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover GNL Locker Ransomware encrypted files
- Removal guides in other languages
Automatic GNL Locker Ransomware removal tools
How to recover GNL Locker Ransomware encrypted files and remove the virus
Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
1. Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt:
for Windows 7 / Vista/ XP
- Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
- Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
for Windows 8 / 10
- Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart.
- Choose Troubleshoot → Advanced Options → Startup Settings and click Restart.
- When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings.
2.Restore System files and settings.
- When Command Prompt mode loads, enter cd restore and press Enter.
- Then enter rstrui.exe and press Enter again.
- Click “Next” in the windows that appeared.
- Select one of the Restore Points that are available before GNL Locker Ransomware has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of GNL Locker Ransomware
After restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Reimage and remove all malicious files related to GNL Locker Ransomware. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore GNL Locker Ransomware affected files using Shadow Volume Copies
If you do not use System Restore option on your operating system, there is a chance to use shadow copy snapshots. They store copies of your files that point of time when the system restore snapshot was created. Usually GNL Locker Ransomware tries to delete all possible Shadow Volume Copies, so this methods may not work on all computers. However, it may fail to do so.
Shadow Volume Copies are only available with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. There are two ways to retrieve your files via Shadow Volume Copy. You can do it using native Windows Previous Versions or via Shadow Explorer.a) Native Windows Previous Versions
Right-click on an encrypted file and select Properties → Previous versions tab. Now you will see all available copies of that particular file and the time when it was stored in a Shadow Volume Copy. Choose the version of the file you want to retrieve and click Copy if you want to save it to some directory of your own, or Restore if you want to replace existing, encrypted file. If you want to see the content of file first, just click Open.
b) Shadow Explorer
It is a program that can be found online for free. You can download either a full or a portable version of Shadow Explorer. Open the program. On the left top corner select the drive where the file you are looking for is a stored. You will see all folders on that drive. To retrieve a whole folder, right-click on it and select “Export”. Then choose where you want it to be stored.
Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover GNL Locker Ransomware encrypted files
There are several data recovery programs that might recover encrypted files as well. This does not work in all cases but you can try this:
- We suggest using another PC and connect the infected hard drive as slave. It is still possible to do this on infected PC though.
- Download Data Recovery Pro (commercial)
- Install and scan for recently deleted files.
Note: In many cases it is impossible to restore data files affected by modern ransomware. Thus I recommend using decent cloud backup software as precaution. We recommend checking out Carbonite, BackBlaze, CrashPlan or Mozy Home.
Important Note: Although it is possible to manually remove GNL Locker Ransomware, such activity can permanently damage your system if any mistakes are made in the process, as advanced spyware parasites are able to automatically repair themselves if not completely removed. Thus, manual spyware removal is recommended for experienced users only, such as IT specialists or highly qualified system administrators. For other users, we recommend using Reimage or other tools found on 2-viruses.com.