GAQQ Ransomware Joins the STOP/Djvu Ransomware Family
GAQQ Ransomware has been discovered as another variant of the infamous STOP/Djvu Ransomware family. Like other associated strains of the prominent malware threat, this ransomware locks files and then demands a ransom fee to restore file access.
Infections like GAQQ Ransomware can be distributed via software bundles, so if you tend to download freeware or pirated apps distributed via torrent or cracked software sites, you may end up installing such threats.
GAQQ Ransomware locks most of the popular file types, including photos, music, documents, and videos. During the file encryption process, GAQQ Ransomware adds the .GAQQ extension to the affected files and leaves a ransom note on the user’s desktop and in every folder that contains encrypted files.
Once downloaded and installed, GAQQ Ransomware will employ the AES encryption algorithm to lock up your files. Oftentimes, information stealers like ZueS and CoreBot are deployed alongside ransomware, and this allows hackers to access sensitive information before encrypting the files. Thus, it is possible that GAQQ Ransomware comes with these information stealers, too.
When the file encryption is complete, the ransomware demands a ransom payment in order for victims to obtain a decryption key. The decryption key costs $980, but the ransomware’s operators will offer a 50% discount, and only charge $490, if the victim contacts them within the first 72 hours after infection. The hackers are supposed to be contacted at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. We discourage establishing contact, as there is no guarantee the hackers will provide decryption tools after payment or even communicate with you.
It is important to note that GAQQ Ransomware does not just encrypt data; it also attempts to delete all shadow copies of the affected files stored on your computer. This can make recovery of your documents and data extremely difficult, if not impossible. It is highly recommended that you never attempt to pay the ransom for the decryption key as this does not guarantee access back to the encrypted files. The best course of action is focusing on methods that could help you restore your data and protect your system from similar threats.
How Do I Deal with the GAQQ Ransomware Infection?
To protect yourself from the GAQQ Ransomware attack, you should practice safe web browsing habits like refraining from opening email attachments from unknown senders and downloading programs from unreliable sources. You should also have a reputable malware remediation tool installed on your computer. That way, you can regularly scan for elements associated with this troublesome ransomware infection and other malware. Also, to reduce the potential damage of a future ransomware infection, please consider backing up your files on an external hard drive or cloud storage.
If you are still having trouble, consider contacting remote technical support options.