With the release of yet another version of the notorious Cerber ransomware, malware authors have proven that so far they cannot be stopped. The version of the malware (5.0.1) is detected in parallel with Locky’s latest update using the .zzzzz file extension, suggesting competition between the two ransomware makers. Ransomware attacks have continued to increase and users who have had their files encrypted by such viruses are requested to pay a hefty ransom fee in order to get their files back. Anyone who has been infected by the ransomware should not pay the ransom amount and are advised to immediately focus on reading this article to learn more about this particular ransomware, remove it and restore the files.
|Short Description||The malware encrypts users files using a strong encryption algorithm, making direct decryption possible only via a unique decryption key available to the cyber-criminals.|
|Symptoms||The user may witness ransom notes and “instructions” linking to a web page and a decryptor. Changed file names and the file-extension .adk has been used.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by Cerber |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss Cerber.|
|Data Recovery Tool||Windows Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix 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 5.0.1 Ransomware – More Information
What is characteristic for the 5.0.1 version of the Cerber virus is that it is not very different in comparison to other updates of Cerber. In fact, the malware may be distributed via the very same RIG-V exploit kit, typical for the 5th version of Cerber.
The new modifications of this RIG EK include changed web links and highly obfuscated infection code in them that allows to cause a successful infection which is unnoticed by any anti-virus software. The new exploit kit which is characterized by the letter V, and outlined by researchers as a “VIP” type of exploit kit is believed to have RC4 encryption for payload obfuscation.
This means that Cerber ransomware may use .hta, .html or .htm files with which it can cause an infection via a spam message sent out to the users, just like it’s older versions did.
But another method of the infection being caused is also via malicious web links uploaded online and sent out as a message on either social media or other places that favor third-party web links.
Not only this, but Cerber ransomware also has the ability to cause an infection via thumb drives and other methods if executed hands on. This is more common when an attack versus an organization is conducted. It is also likely due to the fact that the Cerber 5.0.1 variants I also more focused on encrypting databases besides widely used types of files.
Cerber 5.0.1 – Encryption and Notification
After an infection the 5.0.1 version of Cerber ransomware may stop any actively running processes on the user that are related to:
- MySQL databases.
- Oracle databases.
- Microsoft Access databases.
Not only this but Cerber 5.0.1 may also delete any shadow volume copies or other forms of backup on the compromised computer. This is technically achievable by executing the vssadmin command, for example:
After this modification n has been completed, the Cerber ransomware begins the encryption process. It may conduct it on system boot while antivirus software has not yet started or it may immediately perform the encryption upon execution. Either way, the following file types may be affected by Cerber:
→ “PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX ..INI .PRF Encoded Files .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJ R.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG ..CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG” Source:fileinfo.com
To encrypt the files on the compromised computer, Cerber ransomware uses advanced encryption algorithms. It uses the combination of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Rivest-Shamir Adleman (RSA). This results in the producing of a unique decryption key corresponding specifically for the particular infection and this key is sent to the cyber-criminals’ command and control servers.
After this has been performed, Cerber 5.0.1 performs it’s standard activity – changes the filenames and the file extension of the encrypted files to completely random:
After performing this, Cerber 5.0.1 changes the wallpaper with URL’s linking to it’s standard Cerber payment web page:
Cerber 5.0.1 – Conclusion, Removal and File Decryption
As a bottom line, malware researchers strongly advise users not to pay any form of ransom to the cyber-criminals primarily due to the fact that collaborating with them may not get your files back and you support their criminal activities to further update Cerber. In fact, the variant 5.0.1 Is likely not the last Cerber variant we will see, because there will be many more after it, mainly because of the large affiliate network, built up by Cerber’s creators. This rapid changing of versions of the two big ransomware families, Locky being the other one is a headache for malware researchers and many feel concerned that this “trolling” may continue.
Advises if you are infected are to remove on sight and wait for a decryptor and in the meantime try the alternative methods posted below to restore your files.
To remove Cerber 5.0.1, it is advisable to follow the removal instructions below. They are designed for maximum effectiveness. In case you lack the experience in manually removing malware, we also recommend using an advanced anti-malware software to perform the removal automatically.
Video Removal Cerber 5.0 Virus
How to Remove Cerber from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Cerber
Step 2: Uninstall Cerber and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Cerber on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Cerber there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Step 4: Scan for Cerber with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Cerber.
Ransomware infections and Cerber aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.
If the above link does not work for you and your region, try the other two links below, that lead to the same product:
Get rid of Cerber from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall Cerber and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove Cerber via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove Cerber files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Cerber, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Cerber on your Mac.
Ransomware for Mac Cerber aims to encode all your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decode, unless you pay money. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files, but only in some cases. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.
What is Cerber ransomware and how does it work?
Cerber is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files. Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithm how to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.
How does Cerber ransomware infect my computer?
Cerber Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, containing virus attachment. This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users. After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.
Another way, you may become a victim of Cerber is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.
How to open .Cerber files?
You can't. At this point the .Cerber files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.
Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?
If a decryptor did not decrypt your .Cerber files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
One way to restore files, encrypted by Cerber ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.
How Do I restore ".Cerber" files (Other Methods)?
We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Cerber files. These methods are in no way 100% guarantee that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.
How do I get rid of Cerber ransomware virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate Cerber ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Cerber files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like Cerber ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.
What to Do If nothing works?
If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:
Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
Try to contact your friends relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.
Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re downloaded from the web.
Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.
You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.
More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.