THREAT REMOVAL

Remove Fake Cerber Ransomware and Decrypt Encrypted Files

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

Name

Fake Cerber

TypeRansomware
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 malware

Download

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:

Download

HiddenTear Bruteforcer


1-hidden-tear-bruteforcer-download-sensorstechforum

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

2-hidden-tear-bruteforcer-extract-sensorstechforum

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:

3-Hiddentear-sensorstechforum-bruteforcer-main-panel

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

4-hidden-tear-choose-ransowmare-variant-sensorstechforum

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:

Download

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:

5-hiddentear-decrypter-password-decrypt-sensorstechforum

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:

Download

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.

Avatar

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 Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

How to Remove Fake Cerber from Windows.


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

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 Fake Cerber 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 Fake Cerber 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 Fake Cerber 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 Fake Cerber 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.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of Fake Cerber from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Fake Cerber 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 Fake Cerber:

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 Fake Cerber. 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 Fake Cerber. 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 Fake Cerber 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 Fake Cerber. 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 malware from your Mac

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



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove Fake Cerber from Google Chrome.


Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu


Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"


Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Erase Fake Cerber from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window


Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.


Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Uninstall Fake Cerber from Microsoft Edge.


Step 1: Start Edge browser.


Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.


Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".


Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.


Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove Fake Cerber from Safari.


Step 1: Start the Safari app.


Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.


Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Fake Cerber will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Eliminate Fake Cerber from Internet Explorer.


Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.


Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'


Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.


Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.


Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.


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