THREAT REMOVAL

.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
Type Ransomware Infection
Short Description Attacks your computer and holds your files hostage for a ransom by encrypting them with a powerful cipher.
Symptoms After infection, all of the files become appended with the .cezar file extension added to them.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss .cezar Dharma 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.

.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}
notepad.exe
svchost.exe
setup.exe
patch.exe
update.exe
software-update.exe

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\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\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.

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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 .cezar Dharma Virus from Windows.


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

Ransomware infections and .cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma Virus from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall .cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma Virus:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



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

Ransomware infections and .cezar Dharma 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.


.cezar Dharma Virus FAQ

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

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

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

You can't. At this point the ..cezar Dharma 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 ..cezar Dharma Virus files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by .cezar Dharma 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 "..cezar Dharma 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 ..cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma 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 .cezar Dharma Virus ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important ..cezar Dharma Virus files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like .cezar Dharma 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.

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