Cerber Ransomware 5.0 Unleashed – Remove and Restore Files - How to, Technology and PC Security Forum | SensorsTechForum.com
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Cerber Ransomware 5.0 Unleashed – Remove and Restore Files

cerber-5-0-ransomware-sensorstechforum-comMalware researchers have recently detected the notorious Cerber ransomware to reach a new milestone, now calling itself 5.0.0. The new Cerber ransomware is distributed by the updated RIG-V exploit kit, which is regarded as a premium exploit using software for a higher infection rate. Malware researchers feel concerned that unlike the previous Cerber ransomware versions, this one is shaping up to be even more dangerous and more widespread. It has already begun causing infections and anyone who has become an unfortunate victim and has had their files encrypted should not pay any BitCoins to the cyber-criminals behind Cerber 5.0 and read this article to learn more about the virus plus how to remove it and try to recover your files.
Image Source: feelgrafix.com

Threat Summary

Name

Cerber 5.0

TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionCerber 5.0 causes encryption via a strong cipher to the files of the affected machine as well as it’s databases if it has any. Asks for payment in BitCoin for decryption.
SymptomsThe user infected by the 5.0 Cerber version may witness ransom notes and “instructions” as a wallpaper and an .hta file, linking to a web page which is in the Onion(TOR) network. The web page has a decryptor specifically for the infected computer which it offers to sell for BitCoin payoff.
Distribution MethodVia an Exploit kit, Dll file attack, malicious JavaScript or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Cerber 5.0

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss Cerber 5.0.
Data Recovery ToolWindows 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 – What Is New

New RIG-V Exploit Kit Used To Infect

The most impactful modification of all of them in the new Cerber version is the RIG-V exploit kit that is being user with heavier obfuscation than the previously utilized in Cerber v4.1.6 RIG-E (Empire Pack). This exploit kit is reported by researchers at Malware-Traffic-Analysis to be somewhat a “VIP” version of the exploit kits.

It’s new modifications include a unique URL patterns and an increase obfuscation for the landing page which causes the infection. Researchers report that the exploit software uses RC4 encryption algorithm to obfuscate the payload and hence conceal it from any antivirus programs. The exploit kit is currently being used by two large hacking campaigns, belonging to the Afraidgate and pseudoDarkleech. The methodology of this exploit kit is that it may cause an infection via connection to a website that contains an auto-injection script. This is how malware researchers explain the infection process, similar to the one user in Cerber 5.0:

cerber-5-0-rig-v-exploit-kit-infection-process
Source: Malware-Traffic-Analysis

And this compromised website may not only be a malicious URL that may be malvertised on a site or induced by a potentially unwanted program on your computer. It may also be send out as a different type of an HTML file, for example .hta(HTML application), .html, .htm. These types of files are usually posted in spam e-mails like the following Cerber spam message:

“Topic: Suspicious Bank Account Activity
Hello, we at your bank have been informed of a suspicious financial activity on your bank account. Please review the Document Number 3882-124442 from {date} for more information.
Best Regards
{Bank manager fake name}
{copied phone number}
{copied address of a bank office}”

After the user opens the malicious e-mail attachment which may either directly be carrying the exploit kit as an .exe type of file or carrying an HTML file both of which may be in a .ZIP archive, the infection becomes successful.

Cerber 5.0 Ransomware – Post-Infection Activity

After Cerber infects the user, the procedure is standard. It immediately begins inducing a privileged taskkill command in Windows Command Prompt to stop processes of databases. Here are some examples of such commands provided by Windows:

→ taskkill /pid 1230 /pid 1241 /pid 1253
taskkill /f /fi “USERNAME eq NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM” /im notepad.exe
taskkill /s srvmain /f /im notepad.exe
taskkill /s srvmain /u maindom\hiropln /p p@ssW23 /fi “IMAGENAME eq note*” /im *
taskkill /s srvmain /u maindom\hiropln /fi “USERNAME ne NT*” /im *
taskkill /f /fi “PID ge 1000” /im *

These commands may allow Cerber 5.0 to stop MySQL, Oracle and Microsoft Access databases. In addition to this, the ransomware is also believed to attack the following registry subkeys, creating values with data which allows it to take over some components of Windows that give it permission to fully execute the malware and encrypt the databases plus various files:

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

After the modification is complete, the 5th version of Cerber begins to encrypt files, rendering them with changed file names and file extension to completely random A-Z, 0-9 symbols, looking like the following:

cerber-ransomware-file-encrypted-sensorsrtechforum

Not only the files can no longer be opened, but they are appended an encryption algorithm that produces a unique decryption key which corresponds to the decryptor of the ransomware virus being sold on Cerber’s Tor-based web page, linked in the wallpaper changed by the ransomware to notify the victim:

cerber-5-0-ransomware-wallpaper-sensorstechforum-malware-com

The web page of Cerber 5.0 ransomware is exactly the same as the 4.1.6 and the other older versions of Cerber, giving the possibility to pay approximately 500 dollars and a deadline to do it:

cerber-decryptor-decrypt-1-file-for-free

Cerber 5.0 – Conclusion, Removal and File Decryption or Restoration

As a bottom line, the creators of Cerber ransomware go in parallel timelines as the ones behind Locky ransomware, creating a new variant every time Locky comes up with a new one, suggesting competition or cooperation between the two hacking groups. But we will surely be seeing more and more versions of both the viruses, primarily because of the unimaginably large-scale spamming campaigns posted by the ransomware viruses. Affiliates of a ransomware virus belived to be Locky but undisclosed by authorities were arrested several weeks ago in the UK, suggesting that the actual creators of the ransomware are making money without even having to spread the malware themselves, but working with many cyber-criminals from all over the world to generate a percentage from every ransom paid.

It is strongly advisable to not cooperate with those cyber-criminals and not pay any type of ransom to them. Instead we advise you to immediately remove Cerber 5.0’s virus files from your computer, preferably using the instructions we have posted below. In case you lack the experience in manual removal of malware, we suggest doing this in an automatic manner, by downloading and scanning your computer with an advanced malware removal software.

After having removed Cerber 5.0, we urge you to take advantage of the website of Cerber which offers 1 free file decryption after which create copies of the encrypted files by Cerber so that you can try safely the alternative tools for file restoration we have suggested below. They are not 100% guarantee you will decrypt files but users have reported on our forums that using some of the methods they were able to restore a small portion of the files(10 to 50 files).

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove Cerber 5.0 from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Cerber 5.0

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall Cerber 5.0 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. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Cerber 5.0 on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Cerber 5.0 there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for Cerber 5.0 with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Cerber 5.0.

Ransomware infections and Cerber 5.0 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.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

If the above link does not work for you and your region, try the other two links below, that lead to the same product:

and

2. On the download page, click on the "Download" button:

3. Click on "Save File" button:

4. Accept all agreements and click "Next":

5. After all the "Next" steps, click on "Install" and then wait for the installation to complete:

6. Run the software. Click on the location to scan for missing or deleted files and click on "Scan":

7. Wait for the scan to complete, it may take some time. Be advised that this scan is not 100% guaranteed to recover all files, but it does have some chance to get your data back:


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of Cerber 5.0 from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Cerber 5.0 and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Cerber 5.0:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Cerber 5.0. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Cerber 5.0. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • 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 5.0 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:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Cerber 5.0. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Step 2: Scan for and remove Cerber 5.0 files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Cerber 5.0, 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 5.0 on your Mac.

Ransomware for Mac Cerber 5.0 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.

1. Download the recommended Data Recovery Mac app by clicking on the link underneath:

4 Comments

  1. AvatarAndrey Savenok

    I just got this virus on my work computer opening an email with a “job applicant” resume attached. I was 50/50 suspecting foul play but still opened it. If i have thousands of work related files that I need decryption, doesn’t it make sense to pay the $500 and cut my losses?

    Reply
    1. SensorsTechForumSensorsTechForum

      Hi Andrey,

      Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will get a decryption key. After all, don’t forget that you are dealing with cyber criminals. In addition, ransomware payments monetize infections and further enable criminals. We suggest you invest in data recovery software.

      Reply
      1. AvatarAndrey Savenok

        From what I’ve read, there is no recovery software that actually recovers everything. Would the software actually rename all of my files to the proper names and extensions or file formats? And is it automatic? Or would it be a lot of manual work? Which software would you recommend?

        Reply
        1. SensorsTechForumSensorsTechForum

          You are right, no recovery software can recover absolutely everything, but some recover more than others. The software won’t rename your files, but check if their originals have been deleted and recover those. It is automatic, you just have to hit a button to scan, and then choose what to recover from the program’s findings (this could be different for different programs). You could start by trying a free tool like Recuva to see how the software works. Get back to us if you have more questions.

          Reply

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