THREAT REMOVAL

.cesar Files Virus (Dharma Ransomware) – Remove and Restore Data

This post has been created to explain to you how to remove the new CrySiS/Dharma ransomware variant which was recently detected in the wild, using the .cesar file extension.

A new variant of the Dharma ransomware infection has been detected by malware researchers. This version uses a very similar file extension (.cesar) to the recently detected .cezar extension variant. The virus this time uses the e-mail btc2017@india.com for negotiating payments and it does not have any limits on how many files of your hard drive it will render temporary useless, as long as you pay a ransom in BTC as a form of online extortion. If your PC has been infected by the CrySiS/Dharma ransomware using the .cesar file extension, we strongly suggest you to read the following article thoroughly to learn how to remove this ransomware and try to restore .cesar encrypted files without paying any ransom.

Threat Summary

Name Dharma .cesar Virus
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description Another new variant of Dharma ransomware, very similar to the recently detected one.
Symptoms Encrypts files on your computer with the AES cipher, adding the e-mail btc2017@india.com and .cesar as a file extension.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Dharma .cesar Virus.
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.

.cesar Dharma Virus – Distribution

The Dharma .cesar virus is very similar to the original Dharma ransomware, primarily in how it infects and encrypts files. But let us discuss how the infection with this nasty virus takes place first. Since the .cesar variant may have been a part of the RaaS (ransomware-as-a-service) scheme which is quite frequent nowadays, it may not be spread by the same people who are behind the older Dharma ransowmare version. This is because the service itself sells the virus to people who spread it and take a percentage of the paid ransom from the victims, similar to how an affiliate network works.

This is why, to spread the .cesar virus, the cyber-criminals behind the threat may participate in different types of spam campaigns that aim to infect computers in various ways. For this, they are likely using different types of infection tools, like the following:

  • File joiners.
  • Obfuscators.
  • Droppers.
  • Downloader Trojan Horses.
  • Spamming softwares.
  • Pre-set e-mails from which to spam.
  • Online hosts, serving as distribution sites, like the following.

These tools may be combined in different methods of infection, depending on how much the ones infecting with the .cesar Dharma virus have invested in them. The cheapest and most effective method to infect victims with Dharma ransomware has so far been reported to be conducted via the so-called Necurs spam, which exists since 2016. The Necurs strategy is also very famous for spreading viruses, such as the newer Locky ransomware and several other variants. The strategy is the same – an archived e-mail attachment with either a brief message or no message at all, pretending to be legitimate receipt, invoice or other file that should be opened. The spam e-mails which may be sent to you carrying Dharma ransomware may appear like the following example:

Besides this method, other methods may also spread Dharma, like uploading it’s infection file online, posing as a fake installer of programs, games, fake patch, license activator or other type of software.

.cesar File Virus – Malicious Activity

After you have been infected with Dharma ransomware, the malware may connect to one of it’s many distribution websites, after which may download it’s payload files. Those files may pretend to be legitimate Windows processes, such as the following:

{random alpha-numerical name}
{a name of a program that has spelling mistakes, for example pecman instead of pacman}
notepad.exe
svchost.exe
setup.exe
patch.exe
update.exe
software-update.exe

The files may be dropped in multiple different Windows folders, among which may be the following:

%AppData%
%Temp%
%Roaming%
%Common%
%system32%
%Local%
%LocalLow%

When the virus has been activated it triggers it’s payload files as different processes in the Task Manager. The malicious files of .cesar Dharma ransomware have functions within them that provide the virus with administrative control over your infected computer. Once this control is assumed Dharma ransomware deletes the shadow volume copies on your computer by triggering the vssadmin command without you noticing it:

→ vssadmin delete shadows /for={volume} /oldest /all /shadow={ID of the Shadow} /quiet

In addition to this, Dharma also creates new registry entries in the registry sub-keys Run and RunOnce of Windows Registry Editor. This is done with the purpose of the virus running automatically when you start your PC. The sub-keys have the following locations:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\

How Does .cesar Virus Encrypt Files?

The encryption of Dharma .cesar ransomwarenis conducted with the aid of the AES encryption algorithm. It generates a symmetric key after encryption which is then used for the decryption process. The tricky part is that a custom master key is required for the decryption and it is only available to the cyber-criminals and sent to you after you have paid a hefty ransom fee.

For the encryption process, the Dharma ransomware infection scans for the most commonly used file types, which are most of the following:

“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”

After Dharma encrypts the files, it naturally adds the .cesar file extension and the files appear in the following format:

→ {Encrypted File’s name}.id-{custom ID}.{e-mail of the crooks}.cesar

After the encryption, Dharma may display a brief ransom note, which may appear like the following:

“To decrypt files, write to my email btc2017@india.com”

Remove Dharma Virus and Restore .cesar Encrypted Files

If you want to remove the Dharma ransomware virus, we suggest that you follow the removal instructions below. They are designed to help you initially isolate the activity of Dharma and then remove it manually. But bear in mind that manual removal may be tricky, because the virus constantly changes and this is why it is recommended to use the power of the anti-malware removal software. It features regularly updated definitions that will help you remove the .cesar Dharma ransomware automatically and safely.

If you want to restore files that have been encrypted by this ransowmare, we advise you to try our alternative tools in step “2. Restore files encrypted by Dharma .cesar Virus” below. They are not 100% guarantee you will get your files back but with their aid, you may recover most of them.

Avatar

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.

As a site that has been dedicated to providing free removal instructions for ransomware and malware since 2014, SensorsTechForum’s recommendation is to only pay attention to trustworthy sources.

How to recognize trustworthy sources:

  • Always check "About Us" web page.
  • Profile of the content creator.
  • Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
  • Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.


OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy


Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove Dharma .cesar Virus from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Dharma .cesar Virus

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 Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus.

Ransomware infections and Dharma .cesar Virus 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:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of Dharma .cesar Virus from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus:

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 Dharma .cesar Virus. 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 Dharma .cesar Virus. 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 Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus. 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.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for Dharma .cesar Virus:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Dharma .cesar Virus.

Ransomware infections and Dharma .cesar Virus 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:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


Dharma .cesar Virus FAQ

What is Dharma .cesar Virus ransomware and how does it work?

Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus 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 .Dharma .cesar Virus files?

You can't. At this point the .Dharma .cesar Virus files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.

Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?

Do not panic and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .Dharma .cesar Virus files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by Dharma .cesar Virus 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 ".Dharma .cesar Virus" files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus 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 Dharma .cesar Virus ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Dharma .cesar Virus files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Dharma .cesar Virus 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?

There is still a lot you can do. 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.

4 Comments

  1. AvatarJesse K

    I was infected with this, and have the virus file and a few encrypted files available if you need samples. Has any progress been made with a decryption tool?

    Reply
  2. Avatarthebitguru

    A friend’s server was also infected and can share samples for reference. Hopefully, someone can find a solution soon.

    Reply
  3. AvatarJorge Oliveira Silva

    Some Real solution ?

    Reply
  4. AvatarStephen

    What are you using to capture samples with? I’ve run 3 different AV tools looking for a sample that can be analyzed and none of them seem to be able to find the malware even though I have encrypted files with the .cesar extension.

    Reply

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