"We have proven that be doing evil deeds, retribution does not come. We proved that in a year you can earn money for a lifetime. We have proved that it is possible to become number one not in our own words, but in recognition of other people," the hackers wrote in a forum post.
Bitdefender believes the $2 billion figure is "clearly exaggerated," but notes that GandCrab was prolific enough to allow its authors to retire.
It was hoped at the time of the farewell message that the hacking group responsible would make available a decryption tool of its own. However, it does not appear that it did. Fortunately for those affected, the latest update to Bitdefender's tool is capable of neutralizing the latest versions of GandCrab, including version 5.2.
Researchers believe GandCrab is based in the former Soviet space, with its victims spread around the world. In less than a year, GandCrab became the most widespread ransomware—it's estimated to have accounted for around half of all ransomware infections.