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Remove Cerber 4.1.5 Ransomware – Restore Your Files

stf-cerber-ransomware-4-1-5-4-1-5-ransom-lock-screen-message-note

Developers of the Cerber ransomware have released version 4.1.5 for their malware. Apparently, besides the change in its desktop background image, the address for the payment site has also been switched. The same randomized extension is used for the encrypted files of each victim. To see how to remove this ransomware and how you can try to restore your files, read the article to the end.

UPDATE! Users report that files which have the .mp4 extension and files located on your Desktop may not get encrypted. In addition, there is a new, updated version of Cerber, called 4.1.6.

Threat Summary

Name Cerber 4.1.5
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description The ransomware will encrypt your files and make them inaccessible. A ransom note with instructions for payment will be placed in a file named “Readme.hta” spread across different directories on your computer.
Symptoms All encrypted files will receive an extension with 4 random symbols. The symbols are letters from A to Z or digits from 0 to 9. (Example: “.be5c”)
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Cerber 4.1.5

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Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Cerber 4.1.5.
Data Recovery Tool Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic Notice! This product scans your drive sectors to recover lost files and it may not recover 100% of the encrypted files, but only few of them, depending on the situation and whether or not you have reformatted your drive.

Cerber 4.1.5 Ransomware – Delivery

The criminals behind the Cerber 4.1.5 virus continue to spread its malware with spam and phishing e-mail campaigns. The result of such campaigns is e-mails that are designed to look like they require immediate attention and try to urge you to open up a document. Usually, that document is a Microsoft Office .doc file, as shown below:

spam-e-mail-cerber-ransowmare-4-1

Cerber 4.1.5 ransomware developers implement their malicious script into such documents, which also require from users to enable Macros on those specific documents. When the Macros function is allowed by users, that triggers the script and the computer becomes infected. Here is how a file with such a notification looks like when opened:

microsoft-office-enable-macros-sensorstechforum

Unfortunately, these files are highly obfuscated, to avoid detection by Anti-malware vendors and are rarely detected in the hour of their release. Like its previous version, after the malicious script is initiated, it launches a download for the payload of Cerber via PowerShell, as seen right here:

power-shell-command-second-malicious-macro-sensorstechforum

As seen in the above image, Cerber ransomware downloads its payload from a file with the name “winx64.exe” located in the %AppData% directory.

Cerber 4.1.5 Ransomware – Description

Cerber ransomware continues to spread newer and newer versions and now Cerber 4.1.5 is a fact. You can read more about how it came to this version from the article called The Cerber 4 Iteration Tango. The core of this cryptovirus hasn’t really changed – the same way of operation as the previous few versions is observed in this one as well.

You can be sure that the following registry entries will be modified so that the Cerber 4.1.5 virus becomes more resilient:

→HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce

→HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices

→HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

→HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

→HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

→HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

→HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes

→HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes

→HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Cryptography

The registry entries will make the ransomware to start with each boot of the Windows operating system.

Afterward, the Cerber 4.1.5 ransomware also drops the “Readme.hta” file as its previous iterations. The file contains the ransom note which leads to the Web page with instructions for payment. You can view the page from the below image:

cerber-payment-page-sensorstechforum-768x423

Here is what the instructions for payment read:

“How to get «Cerber Decryptor»?
1. Create a Bitcoin Wallet (we recommend Blockchain.info)
2. Buy necessary amount of Bitcoins
Do not forget about the transaction commission in the Bitcoin network (≈ 0.0005).
Here are our recommendations:
btcdirect.eu – A good service for Europe
bittylicious.com – Get BTC via Visa / MC or SEPA (EU) bank transfer
localbitcoins.com – This service allows you to search for people that want to sell Bitcoins directly (WU, Cash, SEPA, Paypal, etc).
cex.io – Buy Bitcoins using Visa / Mastercard or Wire Transfer.
coincafe.com – It is recommended for the fast and easy service. Payment methods: Western Union, Bank of America, cash through FedEx, Moneygram, and/or wire transfer
bitstamp.net – Old and proven Bitcoin dealer
coinmama.com – Visa/Mastercard
btc-e.com – Bitcoins dealer (Visa/Mastercard, etc.)
Could not find Bitcoins in your region? Try searching here:
buybitcoinworldwide.com International catalog of Bitcoins exchanges
bitcoin-net.com – Another Bitcoins sellers catalog
howtobuybitcoins.info – International catalog of Bitcoins exchanges
bittybot.co/eu – A catalog for the European Union
3. Send 0.1196 to the following Bitcoin address:
[Redacted]

You should NOT in any circumstances even consider of paying the extortionists, especially when you find out how quickly they can come up with a new version of their ransomware. You probably will just end up giving your money to them and still have your files inaccessible.

The files which get encrypted receive one and the same extension, but that extension is different for each victim – it is comprised of 4 random symbols. These symbols can be either single digits from 0 to 9 or letters from A to Z. An example would be “.be5c” and the encryption algorithms that are used are RSA and AES.

Remove Cerber 4.1.5 and Restore Your Files

If your computer got infected with the Cerber ransomware virus, you should have some experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this ransomware as fast as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect more computers. You should remove the ransomware and follow the step-by-step instructions guide given below. To see ways that you can try to recover your data, see the step titled 2. Restore files encrypted by Cerber 4.1.5.

Manually delete Cerber 4.1.5 from your computer

Note! Substantial notification about the Cerber 4.1.5 threat: Manual removal of Cerber 4.1.5 requires interference with system files and registries. Thus, it can cause damage to your PC. Even if your computer skills are not at a professional level, don’t worry. You can do the removal yourself just in 5 minutes, using a malware removal tool.

1. Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Cerber 4.1.5 files and objects
2.Find malicious files created by Cerber 4.1.5 on your PC

Automatically remove Cerber 4.1.5 by downloading an advanced anti-malware program

1. Remove Cerber 4.1.5 with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool and back up your data
2. Restore files encrypted by Cerber 4.1.5
Optional: Using Alternative Anti-Malware Tools

Berta Bilbao

Berta is the Editor-in-Chief of SensorsTechForum. She is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space.

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  • Nuno Nunes

    Can anyone help me?
    I seem to have been affected by the Cerber Ransomware 4.1.5
    What do I do? They say I have to buy the decryptor!!!

    • Hello, Nuno Nunes!
      First of all – do not pay money to the extortionists for their decryptor!
      They could easily encrypt your files again and you will end up only giving them money.

      Unfortunately, there is no working solution at this time. Same advice goes to you – try Data Recovery programs, in case you have not formatted your disk drives yet. And try forming a habit of doing backups, so even if your files get encrypted in the future, you could restore them after removing the malware that caused that havoc.

      The article will be updated, whenever there is new information available.

      • Nuno Nunes

        I have another question:
        The hackers offer a 1 file free-recovery which i used.

        Can the values of the crypted file and the decrypted one be compared to find the decryption key??

        • Hey Nuno,

          If a decryptor is developed later on, it may use 1 original and 1 encrypted file to factorize a decryption key, so be sure to take advantage and then backup the files. If late a decryptor becomes available we will make sure to post it on our blog and post a link here.

  • jesus andres semidey

    Good evening my friend, 2 days ago I was attacked by this information hijacking system, I managed to eliminate the virus but my files were still encrypted, the extension is .8358, I need help, what do you think I can do? Do you have any solutions? I can pay for that!

    • Hello! We at SensorsTechForum do not take payment if decryption is possible – we share information if there is a working decryptor.

      So, it does seem like the past variant with a different extension for each victim…

      Currently, this cryptovirus is not decryptable. What you can try is Data Recovery tools and hope you get some data back. If you have formatted your disk drive – even Data Recovery software wouldn’t help you. What you can do from now on is to always have a Backup strategy, so you can recover your files in such situations.

      Also – how did you get infected? Did you open a file? Did it come with an email?

  • Nuno Nunes

    MAJOR UPDATE!!!!
    (I think)

    I managed to alter the extensions of some files and did some modification on their names and I recovered 4 music videos.
    This means a lot to me. (I just turn 16 years old last week)

    On the other way I did the same thing with screenshots but they show disfigured stripes that prevent the whole image from being seen.
    Those hackers did a pretty good (bad for me) job…..

    But I will never lose hope…..

  • Trevor

    an hour ago while playing online i heard an audio from pc saying it was encrypted. all my docs, pics and other files are encrypted with .829c extension…. i checked and found some suspicious file called tmp9289.exe was in processes and in startup. i tried changing the extensions of some videos back to mp4 which worked but for images and documents no luck….. how do i decrypt my files… Need HELP!!!

    • Hi Trevor,

      What you can do is try and recover some of your files via the methods described here: 2. Restore files encrypted by Cerber 4.1.5. Find it at the bottom of the article, in the removal section. Get back to us in case you need any help.

      • Trevor

        i havent set a restore point, shadow explorer didnt work, there isnt a cerber 4.1.5 version decrypter, and i hadnt set up a network sniffing software b4 the attack happened! what do i do now

        • Can you be more specific about what “playing online” you did? Playing a game on a site or something else?

          Now, all that’s left for you to do is to wait if eventually a decryptor is made or the master decryption key is released. I doubt any of those two things will happen in the near future, but it could as it is happened before with other ransomware viruses.

          You should save your encrypted files somewhere, along with at least one file that you have a non-encrypted variant of, in case a decryptor tool comes out.

          You can read about ransomware prevention tactics from our forum topic (http://sensorstechforum.com/forums/pc-tips-tricks/tips-about-ransomware/) and warn others about this threat. Also know, that ransomware can wait for days before starting the encryption process.

          • Trevor

            I was playing a game called hawken using steam app. Anyway i copied some of the necessary encrypted files in a flash drive along with a non-encrypted variant. So now should i reset the windows 10 or should i format the entire C drive and install a fresh copy?

          • Hello Trevor,

            Steam is trusted, so I doubt it’s related – just the ransomware finished its encryption process while you were playing (I asked in case you clicked on something in a website, while playing an online Flash game or something).

            Good that you made a backup of those files. Ransomware is really tricky and especially this one – it is one of the strongest ransomware families up to this date. That means that even reset/reinstall of the Windows OS may not remove some of its files which might download the ransomware again and repeat the process.

            Formatting the drive may be a sure way to get rid of it, but an anti-malware program should do that for you. Also, if you format, you lose your chance to try a Data Recovery program. There are plenty of free ones which might not be as good as paid ones, but worth a shot (An example of a free data recovery software is Recuva by Piriform). To elaborate – ransomware might copy your files, encrypt the copies and delete the originals – so this is saved on your disk. Thus, a recovery program might work, unless you formatted your drive.

            Unfortunately, this ransomware is less likely to encrypt files in that way, but formatting or not – it won’t hurt if you give that recovery method a try.

          • Trevor

            Well i dont play online flash games,i only play from steam so i dont know how i got infected…I tried the recovery software ,it recovered some files but they were damaged (not working). Now im left with no choice but formatting..

          • Well, at least you tried. Format if you want. As far as the infection method – you could have opened a suspicious email, or some file, installed some software. The downloader for the ransomware must have been activated somehow…

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