After I check emails, my computer behaves abnormally. My personal documents have been encrypted. These files are appended to the .cerber3 extension. Meanwhile, I receive a note that asks me to purchase a private key to decrypt my files. Should I pay the ransom? What should I do? Is there any practical solution to the issue? Please help
About Cerber3 Ransomware
|Type||Ransomware ; Malware|
|Operating System||Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10|
|Previous Version||Cerber Ransomware, Cerber2 Ransomware|
|Behavior||Encrypt important files, lock targeted computer, demand a ransom payment.|
|Potential Threats||① Random system crash ②Temporary or permanent loss and leakage of personal information ③ Lose more money|
|Distribution Method||Via spam email/message, malicious torrents, executables and trustless websites.|
|Removal Guide||Read the post or download Cerber Ransomware removal tool now!|
Similar to other file-encrypting ransomware like CryptXXX, Zepto and Jigsaw, Cerber3 Ransomware targets all Windows operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10. It is the third version of Cerber Ransomware that has been gaining some traction over the past couple months. This ransomware is different from Cerber2 which was released in early August 2016, it appends the extension ‘. Cerber3′ to the files it encrypts. Once your computer is attacked by this malware, your personal files stored locally will be detected and encrypted. For example, the picture files will be changed to encrypted files as shown below.
Computer users are recommended to remove Cerber3 Ransomware firstly, and then decrypt important files. If you don’t remove it immediately, your personal information will be in danger of theft and leakage. Can’t identify malicious files and your encrypted files? To avoid mistaken deletion of important files, it is highly recommended to use a professional removal tool to help you to remove Cerber3 Ransomware.
You are not only one that is troubled by Cerber3 Ransomware. Below are what we have found on several different computer security related forums.
- As Nazim says, his/her files are changed to a extension of .cerber3. Meanwhile, he/she receives the message that tells he/she these files have been encrypted. All of the above mean the user’ computer gets infected with Cerber3 Ransomware.
- Another user mohamedshirajudeen also encounters the ransomware, which demand the user to pay the ransom and then get a key to decrypt these files. However, it is unnecessary to pay the ransom note (see below for the reason).
There are many examples including the mentioned above showing Cerber Ransomware is actually a hard nut for many users to crack. The ransom notes will be changed to # HELP DECRYPT #.url, # HELP DECRYPT #.html, and # HELP DECRYPT #.txt. If you click on ransom note with the “.url” extension, you will be redirected to a web page that shows how much you should pay within the stipulated time to decrypt the encrypted files. You are required to pay 0.7154 bitcoin (approximately equal to 413 dollars) within 5 days to buy a tool called Cerber Decrytor so as to recover the encrypted files. If the payment can’t be received in the time frame, the price will increase up to 1.4308 bitcoins (about 826 dollars). This version of ransomware provides free decrypting 1 file service with the goal of making victims believe that it’s possible for their encrypted files to be decrypted. Cerber3 Ransomware has new ‘Command and Control’ servers which used by cyber criminals to receive payments. Anyway, to recover the files encrypted by the ransomware, you have to get an individual private key that is stored on remote servers as well as the Cerber Decrytor tool.
If you open the ransom notes with “.txt” and “.html” extensions, the following texts will be displayed:
“C_E_R_B_E_R R_A_N_S_O_M_W_A_R_E”Cannot you find the files you need? Is the content of the files that you looked for not readable??? It is normal because the files’ names, as well as the data in your files have been encrypted. Great! You have turned to be a part of a big community “#Cerb3r Ransomware”.
!!! If you are reading this message it means the software “Cerber” has
!!! been removed from your computer.
!!! HTML instruction (“# DECRYPT MY FILES #.html”) always contains a
!!! working domain of your personal page!
What is encryption?
Encryption is a reversible modification of information for security reasons but providing full access to it for authorized users. To become an authorized user and keep the modification absolutely reversible (in other words to have a possibility to decrypt your files) you should have an individual private key. But not only it. It is required also to have the special decryption software (in your case “Cerber Decryptor” software) for safe and complete decryption of all your files and data.
Everything is clear for me but what should I do?
The first step is reading these instructions to the end. Your files have been encrypted with the “Cerber Ransomware” software; the instructions (“# DECRYPT MY FILES #.html” and “# DECRYPT MY FILES #.txt”) in the folders with your encrypted files are not viruses, they will help you. After reading this text the most part of people start searching in the Internet the words the “Cerber Ransomware” where they find a lot of ideas, recommendations and instructions. It is necessary to realize that we are the ones who closed the lock on your files and we are the only ones who have this secret key to open them.
!!! Any attempts to return your files with the third-party tools can
!!! be fatal for your encrypted files. The most part of the third-party software change data within the encrypted file to restore it but this causes damage to the files. Finally it will be impossible to decrypt your files. When you make a puzzle, but some items are lost, broken or not put in its place – the puzzle items will never match, the same way the third-party software will ruin your files completely and irreversibly. You should realize that any intervention of the third-party software to restore files encrypted with the “Cerber Ransomware” software may be fatal for your files.
!!! There are several plain steps to restore your files but if you do
!!! not follow them we will not be able to help you, and we will not try
!!! since you have read this warning already. For your information the software to decrypt your files (as well as the private key provided together) are paid products. After purchase of the software package you will be able to: 1. decrypt all your files; 2. work with your documents; 3. view your photos and other media; 4. continue your usual and comfortable work at the computer. 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.
What should you do with these addresses?
If you read the instructions in TXT format (if you have instruction in HTML (the file with an icon of your Internet browser) then the easiest way is to run it): 1. take a look at the first address (in this case it is hxxp://4kqd3hmqgptupi3p.nxmu0x.bid/AA4D-0A83-136F-0046-177F); 2. select it with the mouse cursor holding the left mouse button and moving the cursor to the right; 3. release the left mouse button and press the right one; 4. select “Copy” in the appeared menu; 5. run your Internet browser (if you do not know what it is run the Internet Explorer); 6. move the mouse cursor to the address bar of the browser (this is the place where the site address is written); 7. click the right mouse button in the field where the site address is written; 8. select the button “Insert” in the appeared menu; 9. then you will see the address hxxp://4kqd3hmqgptupi3p.nxmu0x.bid/AA4D-0A83-136F-0046-177F appeared there; 10. press ENTER; 11. the site should be loaded; if it is not loaded repeat the same instructions with the second address and continue until the last address if falling. If for some reason the site cannot be opened check the connection to the Internet; if the site still cannot be opened take a look at the instructions on omitting the point about working with the addresses in the HTML instructions. If you browse the instructions in HTML format: 1. click the left mouse button on the first address (in this case it is hxxp://4kqd3hmqgptupi3p.nxmu0x.bid/AA4D-0A83-136F-0046-177F); 2. in a new tab or window of your web browser the site should be loaded; if it is not loaded repeat the same instructions with the second address and continue until the last address. If for some reason the site cannot be opened check the connection to the Internet. Additional information: You will find the instructions for restoring your files in those folders where you have your encrypted files only. The instructions are made in two file formats – HTML and TXT for your convenience. Unfortunately antivirus companies cannot protect or restore your files but they can make the situation worse removing the instructions how to restore your encrypted files. The instructions are not viruses; they have informative nature only, so any claims on the absence of any instruction files you can send to your antivirus company. Cerber Ransomware Project is not malicious and is not intended to harm a person and his/her information data. The project is created for the sole purpose of instruction regarding information security, as well as certification of antivirus software for their suitability for data protection. Together we make the Internet a better and safer place. If you look through this text in the Internet and realize that something is wrong with your files but you do not have any instructions to restore your files, please, contact your antivirus support. Remember that the worst situation already happened and now it depends on your determination and speed of your actions the further life of your files.”
The ransom notes of Cerber3 Ransomware are not viruses. The content in them tell you what happened to your personal files on the PC and how can you decrypt them. Moreover, the wallpaper of the desktop will be modified by the malware and changed to an awful pixelated image of static that’s not comfortable to look at. But in this way, it will get your attention easily and let you follow its directions to pay the ransom.
Before you pay the ransom, please think twice. The payment will be used by the cybercriminals to continue developing more new variants of ransomware or other malware. As this is the third version of Cerber Ransomware, there might be new versions in the near future. Since cybercriminals use strong encryption methods to create such ransomware, it’s quite difficult to deal with the threats. Even if the malware is removed by an anti-virus program, the encrypted files can’t be decrypted if the victims don’t pay the ransom or there is no an appropriate decryption utility. The free decryption tool that can recover the encrypted files by the first version of Cerber Ransomware will not work with the third version. It’s suggested that you don’t pay the ransom because the payment will encourage the cyber criminals to develop more infections and there is no guarantee that you will receive the means to decrypt the files immediately.
How does Cerber3 Ransomware spread?
Like the previous versions, Cerber3 Ransomware is usually distributed via spam emails. If you open a malicious link or attachment in an email sent by people who have ulterior motives, it’s very likely that some unexpected malware like Trojans, rootkits, adware, spyware and ransomware will enter the PC. So be cautious when you receive strange emails containing contents like “Congratulations! You have won …”that mislead you into clicking on links provided within them. Those links may redirect you to harmful websites and download malware that damage your computer.In addition, clickable advertisements and peer-to-peer file sharing networks can also be used to distribute Cerber3 Ransomware. Anyway, keep away from unsafe websites and do not click on ads or links that are not verified when surfing the web.
For novice computer users, it may be difficult to protect their computer from Cerber3 Ransomware attack. Besides, relying on your own stop malware is also far enough. Some malicious items exploit vulnerabilities to get into your computer. Hence, you are suggested to download a powerful anti-malware tool, which can effectively prevent Cerber3 Ransomware from entering your system by various methods including spam emails, malicious websites and so on.
Cerber3 Ransomware removal guide
Though the malware claims that Cerber3 has been removed from your PC when you’re reading the messages in the ransom notes, you still need to check the PC for viruses by running an advanced security program. The guide below shows you how to remove the ransomware and other cyber infections from your PC step by step. Please note that this won’t help decrypt the encrypted files.
Note: We don’t recommend that you use the manual removal method to remove Cerber3 Ransomware because the manual method is involved in modifying the Windows registry and system files. This procedure is quite risky and any wrong deletion of vital files could lead to very terrible consequences to the system. For the sake of your PC, we suggest you download and install a professional antimalware program to deal with this threat.
Step1: Use SpyHunter to detect and remove Cerber3 and other viruses
SpyHunter is an advanced and professional anti-malware program that is able to find and remove all the traces of Cerber3 Ransomware as well as other threats on your PC entirely. With industry-leading technology, it can scan the system for malware including Trojans, worms, rootkits, spyware and potentially unwanted programs that may harm the system and clear them thoroughly. If your PC is unfortunately attacked by the ransomware, try SpyHunter to remove it.
To do that,
Click on the button below to download SpyHunter to your PC.
Once the file is downloaded, you can run spyhunter-installer.exe to start the installation.
Click Exit when the setup is successful. SpyHunter is now installed on your computer.
Usually, the tool will automatically scan your system after the installation is successful. To effectively scan and clear the infections, you need to check the version of the product version and the DB version and make sure they have been updated to the latest versions. To quickly scan the system, close all running programs and files before scanning.
Then click on Scan Computer Now button to start scanning your system for the infections.
SpyHunter starts to scan the system files, drivers, registry keys and other data. This may take you several minutes or longer.
When the scanning is completed, Cerber3 Ransomware and other threats will be displayed in the scan results. SpyHunter shows brief info of the threats and lists all the traces of them. Click on Fix Threats button to clear all the threats detected on your PC. Make sure that you have purchased the full version of SpyHunter.
You may need to restart the computer after Cerber3 Ransomware and other threats have been removed.
Step2: Run Plumbytes Anti-malware for a double check
Plumbytes anti-malware is able to detect, block and clear malware that your antivirus software misses. The tool can prevent your browsers from being hijacked and detect and remove the most recent adware, spyware, and PUP. Perform a system scan with Plumbytes and make sure your computer is free of virus. Keeping it on the system can also help avoid malware infections effectively.
Run antimalware setup executable file to start the installation.
Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation. Within seconds, Plumbytes will be installed successfully on your PC.
The tool will automatically scan your system once installed. Be patient and wait for the tool to complete scanning. This process may last for minutes.
When the scan is completed, all the threats will be showed in the results. You can find their names and threat levels obviously. Make sure the Select All option is selected then click on REMOVE SELECTED button to remove Cerber3 Ransomware and other infections.
Please note that this tool needs you to activate it first before cleaning up the threats.
Options that you can try to recover the encrypted files:
If your personal files are encrypted by Cerber3 Ransomware or other ransomware but currently there is no effective decryption utility, try the following methods and they might help restore your files.
Option1: Use ShadowExplorer to restore files
File-encrypting ransomware will attempt to delete all shadow copies when it enters your PC and gets executed. But some shadow copies may luckily escape the deletion and still can be restored by ShadowExplorer. Try using ShadowExplorer to restore them.
Here is there guide on how to restore the files with ShadowExplorer.
Option2: Perform a system restore
System Restore is “a feature in Microsoft Windows that allows the user to revert their computer’s state (including system files, installed applications, Windows Registry, and system settings) to that of a previous point in time, which can be used to recover from system malfunctions or other problems.” If the System Restore function was enabled on your infected operating system, this method may work.
Follow the guide below to perform a system restore in different Windows systems.
- 1. Press Windows key + X key or right click on the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen to open the quick link menu. Select the System item in the menu.
- Click on System Protection tab on the left side as shown below.
- Click on System Restore. (If the System Restore become greyed out, you will have to check if your current hard drive has System Protection turned on. By default it should be, but if you want to enable it on another drive simply select it and then click on configure…> select Turn on system protection. )
- If this is your first time doing a System Restore, click on Next. If you had previously done a System Restore, select Choose a different restore point, and click on Next.
(Note: Make sure you have created some restore points otherwise you won’t be able to do a system restore if no restore points are available.)
5. Select a restore point that you would like to restore Windows back to, and click on the Scan for affected programs button.
- Review what will be affected by using the selected restore point. When finished, click on Close.
- When you are ready to do a System Restore with a selected restore point, click on Next.
- Click on Finish to begin the System Restore.
- Click on Yes to confirm. This is your last chance to cancel the System Restore.
- Your PC will now restart and perform a System Restore.
- When the System Restore has completed successfully and you have signed back in to your desktop, click on Close.
For Windows 8/8.1 users,
Hover your mouse over the lower left corner of the screen until the Start menu Right click on the Start menu and select Control Panel. (See screenshot below) If you use Windows 8.1, right click on the Start button and click on Control Panel.
In the Control Panel window, select “Recovery” under Type by: Large icons.
Select “Open system restore”.
The main screen for System Restore will be displayed. If you are prompted to continue, click on Next > button and a recent restore point and your last critical update will be showed there.
If you make sure that the most recent restore point is not the date your problem started, check the box next to Show more restore points in the lower left corner and you will see a list of available restore points.
Select the restore point that your computer issues started to occur and click Next button.
The screen will ask for your confirmation. Click on the Finish button if you are sure to continue.
When you are asked for confirmation again, click on Yes. System Restore will now reboot your computer and begin the restore process. This will take some time to complete the restore task and please be patient.
When the system restore task completes successfully, a confirmation box will be displayed on your desktop after system reboot.
For Windows 7/Vista users
Click on Start button→ All Programs → Accessories → System Tools → System Restore….
When the System Restore window appears, you can directly click on Next button if you are sure that the date of the Recommend restore is the time the computer problem started.
If the computer issue occurred earlier than the time of the recommend restore, you can click Choose a different restore point option and click Next button to select the desired restore point.
Select a restore point you wish to restore and click Next button. If the desired restore point isn’t showed there, check Show more restore points and choose the restore point which caused the computer problem. And then click on Next button.
Confirm your restore point and click Finish button. Make your selections and click Next.
This will take some time to complete.
For Windows XP users,
Click on Start button, click on Programs, click Accessories, click on System Tools and then open System Restore.
When the Welcome to System Restore page window appears, click on Restore my computer to an earlier time option (if it is not already selected), then click on Next button.
3 On the Select a Restore Point screen, locate to On this list, click a restore point list and select the most recent system checkpoint and then click Next button.
A System Restore message may appear that lists configuration changes that System Restore will make. Click OK.
4 Confirm your restore point and click Finish button. Make your selections and click Next.
System Restore restores the previous Windows XP configuration, and then restarts the computer.
After a system restore, right-click on a file you want to restore, select Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the “Restore” button.
Once you’ve got your files back: get those backups sorted out! And maybe consider installing some additional security, like the anti-ransomware app: SpyHunter.
How to protect your computer and files from ransomware like Cerber3?
To avoid being attacked by such ransomware, you need to take some preventive measures. First of all, keep security tools like anti-malware and anti-ransomware programs on the PC. They can effectively block malicious websites and programs and safeguard the system against ransomware effectively.
In addition, be cautious when surfing the Internet. Pay attention to spam emails which are usually used to spread malware. Never click on unknown links or attachments in the emails sent by strangers, otherwise your computer may be infected. It is also important to keep your browser and other software updated. The ransomware sometimes may exploit the browser vulnerability and enter the system without permission.
Finally, back up your files regularly and keep a recent backup off-site. Remember to back up your data by using USBs or an external hard drive where you can save new or updated files. After you make backups of the data, disconnect them from your PC, otherwise the data in them could be also infected with the ransomware.
Important Note: Since Cerber3 Ransomware uses AES-265 and RSA encryption method to encrypt the files, it needs quite a long time to break an AES encryption key. It is not recommended to pay the ransom to get the key. Although you pay the ransom, you still lose these files, even personal information. Removing Cerber Ransomware and prevention should be the first choice. To avoid such malicious threats, you need to take preventive measures like making a regular backup of important data on your PC and keeping an advanced and antivirus program on the PC.
The following video offers a complete guide for Cerber3 Ransomware removal. You’d better watch it in full-screen mode!