Remove Cerber 2.0 ransomware / virus (Virus Removal Instructions)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware

Cerber 2.0 virus Removal Guide

What is Cerber 2.0 ransomware virus?

Cerber ransomware virus version 2 has been released. What should you know about it?

Cerber2 virus virus is an updated version of Cerber ransomware. The authors of this ransomware project have decided to step up the ransomware game and create an even more complicated variant that would differentiate from other crypto-ransomware viruses and, of course, surpass them. The second version of the indicated virus cannot be decrypted with Cerber Decryptor anymore, as the flaws in the ransomware code were patched. This threat also has also been secured with a different packer to aggravate malware researchers’ work and prevent them from analyzing the virus.

Just like the previous version, the second version encrypts victim’s files and instead of adding .cerber file extension, it appends .cerber2 file extension to them. Another important fact is that this variant uses Microsoft API CryptGenRandom to create an encryption key, which is twice longer than the one that was used in the previous version of the virus – now the key weights 32 bytes. Our researcher has discovered that the virus has been programmed not to encrypt computers that have these languages set as default:

Armenian, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, Georgian, Kirghiz, Kazakh, Moldovian, Russian, Turkmen, Tadjik, Ukrainian, Uzbek.

If it detects that the computer user speaks one of these languages, it exterminates itself, in other words, implements Cerber 2.0 removal. Otherwise, it begins the encryption procedure. The virus is set not to encrypt default system folders and leave basic program unencrypted (such as basic Internet browsers, Flash Player, local settings, sample music, videos, pictures and similar default computer data). The rest of personal victims files get encrypted with a powerful encryption and become useless. It is impossible to manipulate these files anyhow unless the victim has a decryption key, which, unfortunately, has to be bought from cyber criminals who have created this virus.

Ransom notes left by Cerber 2.0 ransomware virus

The Cerber 2 virus creates # DECRYPT MY FILES #.txt and # DECRYPT MY FILES #.html files and leaves them on the computer, besides, it changes the wallpaper, and activates .vbs file, which speaks to the user, stating that all documents, photos, and databases have been encrypted. These files left by the virus can be called ransom notes; both .html and .txt files begin with such lines:

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.

The rest of the text in ransom notes explains what happened and provides instructions on how to decrypt .cerber2 files. Traditionally, the victim is instructed to download Tor browser and pay the ransom in Bitcoins. No matter what, we advise you not to pay the ransom and remove Cerber 2.0 virus without any hesitation. By paying the ransom, you would support cyber criminals, who already live a wealthy lifestyle because of victim who pay them for decryption tools. To remove the virus, use anti-malware program, for instance, ReimageIntego.

Distribution methods

Ransomware distribution methods vary, but the most popular ones are still these two:

  • Spam email campaigns;
  • Malvertising.

It is not a secret that crooks often send deceptive emails to computer users, pretending to be employees or representatives of well-known organizations or institutions. They commonly attach several attachments to the letter and kindly ask the victim to open them. Obviously, such attachments contain malicious attachments and can execute the virus immediately. The next malware distribution method – malvertising is an efficient technique for those cyber criminals who want users to click on malicious links and activate codes that can plant malware on victim’s computer. We strongly recommend you to stay away from ads that urge you to install updates, apps, or that try to threaten you by stating that your computer is severely infected. After clicking on such ad, you can end up downloading a malicious software bundle that contains a virus like ransomware.

How to remove Cerber 2.0 ransomware virus and decrypt files?

If you have become a victim of Cerber 2.0 ransomware virus, you should have seen statements in its ransom note, stating that you should not rely on antivirus companies and use their products as they cannot decrypt your files. Indeed, antivirus products cannot restore encrypted data, but they CAN protect your computer from malware attacks (if they have real-time protection feature). To remove this virus from your computer, we suggest using one of the tools that are provided below. We do not recommend you to try and decrypt your files using random decryption tools; you can corrupt your data this way. We suggest waiting until malware researchers discover a free Cerber 2.0 decryption tool so that you could recover your data safely. Of course, you can recover your files from backups; before you do that, you must complete Cerber 2.0 removal first.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of Cerber 2.0 virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Important! →
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.

Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking

Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment. 

Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
    Settings
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
    Reboot
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes

Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
    Startup

Step 4. Delete virus files

Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Downloads
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove Cerber 2.0 using System Restore

  • 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 Cerber 2.0. 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 ReimageIntego and make sure that Cerber 2.0 removal is performed successfully.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Cerber 2.0 and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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