Cradle ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Ransomware
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Cradle ransomware virus is offered as a RaaS

Cradle is a ransomware virus which emerged in April 2017[1]. It is also known as CradleCore and CradleCore C++ ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). These names were given to this threat because it tends to add .cradle file extension to the files it corrupts. The ransom note which is opened by default on victim’s web browser is called _HOW_TO_UNLOCK_FILES_.html. It claims that there is the only way to recover encrypted files – to pay the ransom of 0.25 Bitcoins[2]. In case the victim refuses to pay the ransom and fails to change his or hers mind within 14 days, the ransomware promises to leave victim’s files “locked forever,” in other words, it will destroy the decryption key. From the first day of virus detection, the “Contact” page of Cradle ransomware has been saying: “Ransomware Source Code for sale.” It suggested an idea that the virus might be a RaaS[3]. It seems that it is true, so beware that there might be more copies based on the CradleCore spreading on the Internet.

Cradle

Once installed, ransomware starts encrypting all victim’s files that it finds as it scans the computer system thoroughly. CradleCore makes the encrypted files inaccessible and drops a ransom note on each of web browsers. This ransom-demanding message, just like the majority of similar notes, informs the victim that his or hers files were encrypted with military-grade encryption and that the only way to restore corrupted files is to purchase a private decryption key. The ransomware demands to pay the ransom within seven days; otherwise, the price will be doubled. _HOW_TO_UNLOCK_FILES_.html file also provides the address of Bitcoin wallet that belongs to cyber criminals and asks to transfer purchased Bitcoins to it. Finally, the note provides some links to websites where the victim can obtain some Bitcoins. We really hope that you won’t think about making the payment to hackers. Before you start trying to restore your records, make sure Cradle removal process is completed successfully. For that, we recommend using Reimage software.

Cradle ransomware is nothing else than a filthy cyber extortion tool[4] which is used to infect computers of unsuspecting computer users who like to explore the world wide web without having a decent anti-malware software to protect their computers from malware attacks. Consequently, these users lose all of their files in seconds, and there’s no one to blame because it is nearly impossible to track down cyber criminals[5]. If your files were encrypted, we are sure that you will be on a hunt for decryption tools; however, we can save you some time by explaining that it is nearly impossible to restore files once ransomware encrypts them. The only way to restore them is to reverse the encryption process, and for that, the decryption key is needed. It is the private key that is kept in criminals’ servers, and there is no way to get it unless cyber criminals willingly provide it. However, it rarely happens, so we suggest you remove CradleCore using anti-malware tools and use data backup to restore your files. 

Speculations have been confirmed: the ransomware comes as CradleCore RaaS

Racketeers seem to enjoy dropping hints. However, their hints often happen to come true. Shortly after the original version was introduced, virus researchers have detected its version as CradleCore C++ ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). It operates via Tor2Web onion link gateways. Its operation peculiarities do not differ much from the rest of crypto-malware. It employs RSA and Blowfish encryption key for data encoding purpose. It also connects to Command and Control server to make a direct request for the decrypter in case a victim decides to remit the payment. In the ransom note, it does not waste a chance to scare victims not to opt for alternative solutions. The very RaaS malware is offered for $428. Interestingly, that the developer of this malware seemed to make a fatal mistake which helps virus researchers reveal his identity! The Apache elements of the ransomware site trace to the developers’ website used in the clearnet. the indicated onion.link has its identical counterpart used in World Wide Web domain. Thus, this link even leads to the hacker’s personal Twitter and Facebook accounts[6]. Such disclosure indicates that the hacker is a freelancer C++ programmer and software developer. Such fatal mistakes may cost highly more for the crook in contrast to the estimated profit collected from RaaS earnings.

Ransomware prevention techniques

To prevent infiltration of ransomware virus, you should know that the main methods used to infect systems with such viruses are spam and exploit kits. To know more, carefully look into these the following ransomware distribution methods and tips how to protect your PC from a ransomware attack.

    • First of all, the main ransomware attack vector is email spam. Typically, users get dozens of malicious emails, but the majority of them falls into Spam section, which users typically tend to ignore. However, some malware-laden virtual letters are designed so precisely and sent from specifically prepared email accounts, and consequently, they manage to slip into Inbox folder, and users usually believe that these emails are trustworthy. The main rule to follow when trying to avoid ransomware is to avoid opening emails sent by unknown users or companies that you recently had no business with.
    • The second attack vector is exploit kits. Exploit kits typically are hosted on infected websites or precisely prepared malicious domains, and as soon as the user visits or gets redirected to such site, the exploit kit scan’s victim’s computer for software with security vulnerabilities. If found, it uses such vulnerabilities to execute malicious scripts on victim’s PC. Keep your programs up-to-date if you do not want to be attacked by ransomware spread by exploit kits.

Eliminating Cradle crypto-malware from computer

The easiest and quickest way to remove Cradle virus is to use anti-malware software. We do not provide or recommend trying to delete the virus manually because ransomware is highly sophisticated and shady piece of software that tries to stay in the system for as long as it is possible. To delete the virus efficiently, reboot your PC according to CradleCore removal guidelines provided below. Submit your questions to our support team if you have any – we hope that you have a backup and you will manage to restore all of your files successfully.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Cradle ransomware virus. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

Manual Cradle virus Removal Guide:

Remove Cradle using Safe Mode with Networking

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

Delete Cradle ransomware after rebooting your PC into a Safe Mode with Networking:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove Cradle

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete Cradle removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove Cradle using System Restore

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of Cradle. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with Reimage and make sure that Cradle removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Cradle from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If your files are encrypted by Cradle, you can use several methods to restore them:

Use Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro can restore corrupted, deleted or missing files. It might also help you to convert .cradle file extension files to their initial versions.

Restore files with ShadowExplorer

If you’re lucky enough, Cradle ransomware may have failed to delete Volume Shadow Copies, which can be used for data restoration. Run ShadowExplorer to find that out.

  • Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
  • Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.

No Cradle ransomware decryption tools are available

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Cradle and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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  • Zalb

    Ive been infected with this! patiently waiting for a decryption tool to arrive!

  • noble

    I dont know if I was ever more disappointed in my life than at the moment I saw those words : no decryption tool available…

  • Whale

    Thanks! Deleted the virus, had a backup. No worries for me, whew 😀

  • starlight_c

    So ttheres really no way to open the files?:((