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Remove Fake Cerber Ransomware and Decrypt Encrypted Files

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A virus imitating the notorious Cerber ransomware has been reported b malware researchers to be a part of the notorious EDA2 ransomware project. The fake Cerber malware aims to encrypt the files on the computers it compromises, demanding 10.5 BTC as a ransom payoff from the victims of the virus. The infection goes through a file that pretends to be an Adobe Reader file. All users who have been affected by the fake Cerber ransomware are strongly advised not to pay any form of ransom to cyber-criminals and to read the instructions in this article to help you remove the fake virus successfully and also decrypt your data.

Threat Summary


Fake Cerber

Short DescriptionFake Cerber encrypts user files and leaves instructions to contact the criminals behind it and pay the ransom fee.
SymptomsThe encrypted files may have added file extension and changed names. Wallpaper is changed to typical Cerber wallpaper.
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 Fake Cerber


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss Fake Cerber.
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.

Fake Cerber Virus – More Information

This ransomware is based on the open-source ransomware project, uploaded on github, known as EDA2 or HiddenTear. Once the source code of this ransomware has been released. This ransomware, initially released for educational purposes have been copied by malware writers and their code has started to be used by cyber-criminals for malicious purposes.

And even tough those codes were taken down later on, the cyber-criminals have already been able to copy those codes and implement them, making it possible for many Hidden Tear ransomware variants to be released out in the wild:

And there are many other variants of this “project” as well.

Distribution and Infection

In order for the fake Cerber ransomware to spread, it uses massive spam campaigns of e-mails that contain fraudulent Adobe Reader documents. The e-mails may contain topic and body of a deceptive content. Such may be used to trick the user into opening the attachment which then causes the infection via an obfuscated infection malware.

After this has already been performed, the ransomware is somehow able to download the payload of the virus that may be located in critical Windows folders, such as:

  • %System32%
  • %AppData%
  • %Temp%
  • %Local%
  • %Roaming%
  • %LocalRow%

After the attack has been conducted, the virus may delete any shadow volume copies and backups on the compromised computer via the vssadmin command:

Then, the fake Cerber virus begins to scan for various file extensions to encrypt important user data. Usually, it looks for commonly used files, such as:

*.txt, *.doc, *.docx, *.xls, *.xlsx, *.ppt, *.pptx, *.odt, *.jpg, *.png, *.csv, *.sql, *.mdb, *.hwp, *.pdf, *.php, *.asp, *.aspx, *.html, *.xml, and *.psd.

After the files are located, they are encrypted and the virus makes them seem corrupt and no longer openable.

Then, the fake Cerber ransomware drops several different types of files. One of them is an image which It later changes into a wallpaper. The image resembles one of the first versions of Cerber ransomware:

In addition to this, unlike the cerber’s _README_.hta file, the fake Cerber drops a # DECRYPT MY FILES #.txt file with the following contents:

This file aims to further stress the issue to the user and get him or her to pay the insane ransom amount requested by the cyber-criminals. Fortunatly, Trend Micro researchers have released a decryptor for HiddenTear/EDA2 ransomware that aims to decrypt files encrypted by the malware via the bruteforcing method for free. This is why we advise you to carefully follow the decryption instructions in the next paragraph.

Fake Cerber Ransomware Variant – Decryption and Removal Instructions

The file-decryption process of HiddenTear fake Cerber ransomware is not as difficult, but you need to be prepared and do it from a safe computer that is powerful. Let’s begin!

Step 1: Download the HiddenTear BruteForcer by clicking on the button below and open the archive:


HiddenTear Bruteforcer


Step 2: Extract the program onto your Desktop or wherever you feel comfortable to easily access it and open it as an administrator:


Step 3: After opening it, you should see the main interface of the brute force. From there, choose “Browser Sample” to select a sample encrypted file of the type of ransomware you are trying to decrypt:


Step 4: After this select the type of ransomware from the down-left expanding menu:


Step 5: Click on the Start Bruteforce button. This may take some time. After the brute forcing is finished and the key is found, copy it and save it somewhere on your PC in a .txt file, you will need it later.

Step 6: Download the HiddenTear Decryptor from the download button below:


HiddenTear Decrypter

Step 7: Extract it and open it, the same way with HiddenTear Bruteforcer. From it’s primary interface, paste the key copied from the BruteForcer, write the type of extension being used by the ransomware and click on the Decrypt button as shown below:


After these steps have been completed, you should immediately copy your files to an external device so that they are safe. After this has been done, we strongly recommend removing fake Cerber ransomware via an advanced anti-malware tool:


Malware Removal Tool

Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

HiddenTear Cerber Decryption – Conclusion

Viruses like the fake Cerber are becoming more and more common. Researchers, publish many projects online with the goal to stop ransomware, but this represents an opportunity to coders that develop ransomware and either start infecting users with it or put it up for sale in the deep web. With the expanding of ransomware variants lately, we predict seeing even more infected systems than the year 2015. This is why we advise you to follow our recommendations for securing your computer below:

Advice 1: Make sure to read our general protection tips and try to make them your habit and educated others to do so as well.

Advice 2: Seek out and download specific anti-ransomware software which is reliable.

Advice 3: Backup your files using one of the methods in this article.

Advice 4: : Make sure to use a secure web browser while surfing the world wide web.


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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