Get an accurate analysis of the .cerber2 extension ransomware, learn how it is different from the original Cerber threat, and be instructed on data recovery.
The moment the Cerber ransomware was first detected last March, security researchers realized that it was above and beyond the commonplace modus operandi of these sorts of infections. Not only did the Trojan feature a robust infrastructure and unbreakable crypto, but it also had a text-to-audio functionality built in that alerted victims about the attack and instructed them on data recovery options. The offending code had stayed that way until literally the other day, when its second edition got into malware watchers’ spotlight. Unfortunately, according to preliminary reports, Cerber version 2 is a yet more sophisticated strain on the inside, with some external tweaks in place as well. The extension that’s now being appended to every encrypted file is .cerber2 rather than the previously added .cerber.
Another apparent change is the look and feel of the desktop background set by Cerber2, including the graphical aspect as well as the wording. This warning wallpaper says, “Your documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted! If you understand all importance of the situation then we propose to you to go directly to your personal page where you will receive the complete instructions and guarantees to restore your files.” Below this spooky intro are several, usually up to 6, Tor links that will direct the infected user to the ransomware C2 server. Basically the same information is provided in the editions of ransom notes that the virus creates inside individual folders with scrambled files. Their names are the same as with the previous version, namely # DECRYPT MY FILES #.txt, # DECRYPT MY FILES #.html, and # DECRYPT MY FILES #.vbs. The VBScript file is the one that spells out the warning message via the computer’s speakers.
Cerber2 uses the AES algorithm to encrypt one’s files. This routine, however, has been enhanced as the ransomware now generates a secret crypto key whose size is twice as large as it used to be. The increase of the key’s entropy from 16 to 32 bytes is a more serious hurdle for decryption attempts than before. Another problem is that the virus also makes a mess of filenames, substituting the original ones with 10 random hexadecimal symbols. Such a technique makes it unfeasible to find a specific important file and try to apply forensics to restore it. An example of an entry processed by this plague is 4TRhlps3AG.cerber2.
At the end of the day, victims run the risk of losing their personal data unless they are willing to submit 1.7447 Bitcoins for the “Cerber Decryptor” tool via the dedicated Tor page. The deadline for this payment is 5 days. After this period expires, the ransom will double and amount to 3.4894 Bitcoins. No free decryption for one or several files is provided. In a predicament as tough as this, any means to an end is worthwhile. Go ahead and try the avenues below before considering the ransom-based restoration imposed by the threat actors.
Automated removal of Cerber2 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 .cerber2 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 Cerber2 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.