.Cezar File Virus (Dharma) - Remove and Restore Files (Update 2018)

.cezar File Ransomware (Dharma Virus) – How to Remove + Restore Data

This article aims to help you remove the newly emerged variant of Dharma ransomware from your computer and shows how to restore files encrypted with the .cezar file extension added to them.

Dharma ransomware has been reportedly brought back up to life and this time it may be operated by more sophisticated cyber-criminal group. The new Dharma virus uses the .cezar file extension, which it adds to your important documents, photos, videos and other types of files once it encrypts them. The virus then drops a ransom note in which Dharma ransomware demands you to make a so-called ransom payoff to the cyber-criminals in BitCoin. Once that has been done, they promise to get the files decrypted once more. Experts strongly recommend not to pay the ransom and use other alternatives if you have become a victim of this virus. In the event that your files have been encrypted by with the .cezar file extension added to them, we strongly advise you to read this article thoroughly and learn how to remove this virus plus restore as much files as you can without having to pay the ransom.

Threat Summary

Name.cezar Dharma Virus
TypeRansomware Infection
Short DescriptionAttacks your computer and holds your files hostage for a ransom by encrypting them with a powerful cipher.
SymptomsAfter infection, all of the files become appended with the .cezar file extension added to them.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by .cezar Dharma Virus


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss .cezar Dharma Virus.
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.

.Cezar Virus (Dharma Ransomware) February 2020 Attack Campaigns

A new attack campaign featuring the .cezar Dharma virus infection has been spotted in Italy. It is probably run by a different hacking group as the campaign is directed against visitors from this country. What we know for sure is that the likely source of infections are malware-infected documents that include dangerous Visual Basic Scripts (VBS). A common tactic is to create files that are of the most popular document types used by regular end users — text files, presentations, databases and spreadsheets. They can also be placed in ZIP archive files and send to the intended victims via phishing email messages or posted on hacker-controlled sites. In some cases the VBS scripts can automatically even by opening the malware-infected script.

The security analysis shows that the .Cezar virus does contain advanced functionality. The captured samples have been found to contain modules such as the following:

  • Network Trojan Operations — Some of the virus samples have been found to contain the functionality to allow the remote attackers to spy on the victims, take over their computers and hijack their data.
  • Memory Hookups — The main engine can be used to hijack the user actions and input in already running applications. This can lead to the harvesting of sensitive information as it is filled by the users.
  • Information Gathering — The .Cezar virus can be programmed to acquire sensitive information about the victims and/or their machines.

In some cases the infections can be used to deploy other infections including ones that are part of the STOP ransomware family.

The rest of the actions that are part of the sequence will probably start the relevant encryption process — it will target certain user data and make it inaccessible. A strong cipher will be used and the data will be marked with the relevant extension. A ransom note or lockscreen will be generated to blackmail the users into paying.

.cezar Ransowmare – Update September 2017

The .cezar ransomware has been reported to use a specific way of infecting victims. That happens via the Necurs botnet with malspam in the same way that the other variant of Dharma (.cesar Files Virus) does. The Necurs botnet sends an e-mail with an attachment – usually an archive, accompanied by a short message or lack thereof. If a message is present, the email’s contents will show the reason for the mail is a legitimate receipt, invoice or another file that you should open. Opening the file eventually infects your computer with the .cezar ransomware virus.

How Does .cezar Ransowmare Infect?

The .cezar file extension variant of Dharma is not that different in comparison to other Dharma ransomware variants in terms of how it infects a given computer. As before, the methods are more than one and they may have even increased in number since malware researchers report that this ransomware virus has been uploaded as a RaaS (ransomware-as-a-service) in the deep web marketplaces. This essentially means that anyone can spread it, as long as they pay for it and the cyber-criminals take a huge percentage of the ransom paid, kind of like an affiliate scheme. This essentially means that all possible programs can be used to cause an infection with Dharma ransomware. The most widely known infection files that may be associated with this file encryption virus are believed to be the following:

  • File Joiners to combine the malcious files of Dharma with legitimate documents, like Microsoft Word or .PDF files.
  • Obfuscation software that conceals the actual malicious files of Dharma from conventional and unpatched security software.
  • Malware droppers that pretend to be legitimate files, but actually may extract the malicious payload of the malware.
  • Trojan.downloaders that connect to a malicious host from which they secretly download the payload of Dharma ransomware on your computer.
  • Spamming websites or spamming services that help spread malicious comments on forums, e-mails and other deceitful online content in order to increase the infection rate.
  • Online hosts which keep the malware uploaded and ready to be downloaded on the victim’s computer. These are changed a lot, since they are often blocked.

All of these tools together may result in different methods by which the cyber-criminals who have the task of infecting your computer with Dharma ransomware to spread it via different methods.

The primary of those methods is the most effective and most often used one – e-mail spam. Such messages may often pretend that the attachment they have is legitimate and important, like an invoice, a receipt or a letter of importance. If the file is malicious executable it causes the infection on your computer directly, but since those files have become easier to be spotter, cyber-criminals have the tendency to spread Microsoft Word documents carrying malicious macros. Such documents, like the example below can trigger infection with Dharma .cezar ransomware if you click on the “Enable Content” button.

Besides via macros and e-mail, other infection methods can also exist. The malicious files of Dharma .cezar variant can be uploaded on torrent websites or other suspicious sites as:

  • Fake setups.
  • Key generators.
  • Game cracks.
  • Files pretending to be photos, documents, programs, etc.

.cezar Dharma Ransomware – Malicious Activity

After an infection with Dharma’s .cezar file variant has been triggered, the ransomware may drop files on your computer that contain different names, for example:

→ {random alpha-numerical name}
{a name of a program that has spelling mistakes, for example pecman instead of pacman}

The files are generally hidden from plain side as they may reside in suspiciously named folders that may be created in the following Windows directories:

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

When dropped, the malicious files of Dharma .cezar ransomware are also executed automatically, which results In multiple malicious processes being active on the victim’s computer. These processes ensure that Dharma ransowmare assumes control over your computer and your files. They can be detected briefly in Windows Task Manager during the infection process.

As soon as Dharma ransomware has been triggered, the virus may modify your Windows Registry Editor, more specifically attack the Run and RunOnce registry sub-keys, in which Dharma .cezar ransomware will add custom value strings that aim to make it’s files run on Windows boot. The keys have the following locations:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\

Among the malicious acitivty of Dharma ransomware may be to delete the Shadow Volume copies of your computer. These are the backed up files from the VSS (Volume Shadow Service) on your computer. To delete them, .cezar ransomware may execute a batch file that inserts the vssadmin command in quiet mode, meaning that you do not see it while it is executed. The command is as follows:

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

How Does Dharma .cezar Ransomware Encrypt Files

The process of encryption of Dharma Ransomware’s .cezar file variant Is no different than it’s previous versions. The virus may attack the important files on your computer, while it skips encrypting files in Windows system folders in order to ensure that your operating system works after the encryption. Among the files which the .cezar Dharma virus may render no longer to be able to be opened may are likely:

  • Adobe .PDF files.
  • Microsoft Office file formats.
  • Virtual drive files (Virtual Box, etc.)
  • Image files (photos, photoshop files, etc.)
  • Audio files.
  • Videos.

If files of such types are detected by the Dharma .cezar ransomware, the virus may begin to immediately perform various different types of modification on the files, likely using the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) algorithm. The usage of this encryption is on the original structure code of the files and it replaces a part of this structure with the encrypted code. This results in the files becoming no longer openable with any type of program. The Dharma virus then adds the .cezar file extension to the files, making them look like the following:

After the encryption process has completed, the .cezar file ransomware may use a brief ransom note, which may look somewhat like the following:

“To decrypt files, write to my email {e-mail of the criminal}”

Remove Dharma Ransomware and Restore .cezar Encrypted Files

For the removal of this version of Dharma ransomware, we recommend that you take advantage of the instructions we have suggested below. We strongly suggest if you are not an advanced user to focus on the automatic removal instructions instead of manual removal below. Also, according to security experts, the best method to remove Dharma ransomware is to use an advanced anti-malware software which aims to make sure that all of the files and related registry objects to this virus are permanently erased from your computer and that it is protected against future threats as well.

If you want to restore files that have been encrypted by this ransomware on your computer, we have suggested multiple alternative methods for file recovery below in step “2. Restore files encrypted by .cezar Ransowmare” . They may not be 100% effective but their goal is to help you restore as many files as you possibly can without having to pay the ransom.


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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