Files that became encrypted and appended with .cerber extension indicate an aggressive ransomware attack that requires an urgent fix on the user’s end.
The term “Cerber”, which is somewhat reminiscent of a scary mythical creature’s name, denotes a piece of ransomware that may cause infected people just about as much terror. The main concern for victims in terms of this threat has to do with the risk of losing their personal files, which is a likely outcome of the attack if the extortionists’ demands are not met. The virus uses AES cryptographic standard to encrypt the user’s most important files, focusing on popular data formats found on the target computer’s hard drive. On the outside, these items become considerably skewed as well – the filenames undergo the same type of ciphering and get a .cerber extension at the end. Obviously, the user is unable to open any of those.
When the Cerber virus is installed, the first thing it does is determine the country that the machine is located in. If it’s in a country that matches the infection’s hard-coded blacklist mostly composed of Eastern European states, then no further action is taken. Otherwise, the targeted system gets configured to go through several reboots so that the malicious code takes effect. To this end, the ransomware displays a number of rogue system notifications which, once closed manually, trigger a forcible restart of the PC.
The next phase is encryption proper. The malware disregards objects in several directories, including Program Files, ProgramData, Windows, Drivers, and AppData\Local. In the meanwhile, it encodes everything found during the HDD scan with the above-mentioned Advanced Encryption Standard. Cerber then adds ransom instructions to the desktop as well as each folder that got hit. The names of these files are # DECRYPT MY FILES #.html, # DECRYPT MY FILES #.txt and # DECRYPT MY FILES #.vbs. According to these notes, the victim needs to navigate to a Tor page titled “Cerber Decryptor” and use it to send 1.24 Bitcoin as the ransom, doing which will supposedly make the file decryption tool available to download.
An unordinary feature of this infection is the VBS variant of recovery directions. When opened, this VBScript plays an audio message that explains what happened to the data and how to get it back. Notwithstanding the whole sophistication of Cerber ransomware, some techniques can help victims restore their files without having to pay the fee or somehow crack the strong encryption.
Automated removal of Cerber virus
Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:
1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button
2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.
Ways of non-ransom recovery of encrypted .cerber files
Cracking the crypto used by this ransom trojan is more of a science fiction thing rather than an attainable prospect for the masses. This is why the troubleshooting in predicaments of this sort is a matter of two approaches: one is to pay the ransom, which isn’t an option for many victims; and the other is to apply instruments that take advantage of the ransomware’s possible weaknesses. If the latter is your pick, the advice below is a must-try.
Backups can make your day
Not only are you a lucky person in case you’ve been backing up your most important files, but you’re also a wise and prudent user. This isn’t necessarily a resource-heavy activity these days – in fact, some providers of online services are allocating a sufficient size of cloud storage space for free so that every customer can easily upload their critical data without paying a penny. Having removed Cerber ransomware, therefore, all you have to do is download your stuff from the remote server or transfer it all from an external piece of hardware if that’s the case.
Restore previous versions of encrypted files
A positive upshot of using this technique depends on whether or not the ransomware has erased the Volume Shadow Copies of the files on your PC. This is a Windows feature that automatically makes and keeps the backups of data elements on the hard drive as long as System Restore is enabled. The cryptoware in question is programmed to switch off the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), but it has reportedly failed to in some cases. Checking one’s options regarding this workaround is doable in two ways: through the Properties menu of each file or by means of the remarkable open-source tool called Shadow Explorer. We recommend the software-based way because it’s automated, hence faster and easier. Just install the app and use its intuitive controls to get previous versions of the encrypted objects reinstated.
Data recovery toolkit to the rescue
Some strains of ransomware are known to delete the original files after the encryption routine has been completed. As hostile as this activity appears, it can play into your hands. There are applications designed to revive the information that was obliterated because of malfunctioning hardware or due to accidental removal. The tool called Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic features this type of capability therefore it can be applied in ransom attack scenarios to at least get the most important files back. So download and install the program, run a scan and let it do its job.
Revise your security status
Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup.