*_READ_THIS_FILE_* virus. Get rid of malicious encryption by Cerber Rans0mware:

Ransom-threat actors come up with another spin-off dubbed Cerber Rans0mware, which communicates with its victims via *_READ_THIS_FILE_*.

In the rapidly changing IT environment, Cerber proves to be a pretty viable specimen. This piece of ransomware has been around for one year while its counterparts do not tend to last more than a couple of months. Perhaps, the virus is so prolific due to its highly elaborate design and implementation. That enables the ransomware to execute its infiltration and encryption payload in such a way that most of the security tools just surrender. To make things worse, the crooks have updated their ransomware lately.

*_READ_THIS_FILE_* - Cerber ransomware

*_READ_THIS_FILE_* – Cerber ransomware

The fresh strain has its name changed, 0-digit replaces O letter, hence the name Cerber Rnas0mware.


Another trait that makes this new release different from its predecessors its introduction message having three distinct extensions. The kernel of ransom note name also has two different versions: _READ_THIS_FILE or _READ_THI$_FILE. An arbitrary sequence follows the kernel, for instance, 66AQQ. The ransomware is true to its parental types as it also sets its ransom note as a desktop background.
The formats vary, but the message within remains unchanged. It basically requires the reader to install TOR browser and open the victims’ personal page. The relevant rationale goes for a starter announcing the ransomware has encrypted nearly every bit of data around.
The landing page indicated in the ransom note prompts the visitor to pay 1 BTC. That allegedly releases a decryption key. Please note 1BTC currently amounts to circa 1k USD. Unless paid within the deadline, the ransom amount is going to double as the ‘Cerber Decryptor’ suggests.

The Cerber Rans0mware (both *_READ_THIS_FILE_* and *_READ_THI$_FILE_* strains) sticks to a common infection vector. The crooks rely on spamming. The mass-mailing takes into account the target audience so that the spam uses different languages and styles of writing. A typical appearance for the ransomware carrier would be a delivery notice or a job offer. It contains an archive attached. The latter conceals a malicious JavaScript, which automatically drops the malicious encryptor.
The propagation workflow implies the user is to open a ZIP file. The randomly named JavaScript initiates a communication with the remote server. The server exploits system vulnerability to introduce the ransomware’s executable without disturbing the user, nothing to say of the user’s approval.
Once installed, Cerber Rans0mware examines any memory it can reach spotting the most essential file formats. The data selected undergoes a severe scrambling. Apart from wrecking a file proper the virus also turns its name into a gibberish followed by a weird extension instead of the original file format designation.

Combatting the ransomware is an utmost challenge. Therefore, the best tactic is to avoid the invasion by discarding any suspicious attachments. For those who have actually suffered the invasion followed by the mass encryption campaign, there are some smart workarounds below. Hopefully, these will regain the data affected in sufficient quantity and quality.

Automated cleanup to remove _READ_THIS_FILE encryptor

Infection vector for ransomware typically features a trojan. The one in question definitely subscribes to that routine. The trojan drops its body into target computer and proceeds with disabling the detecting functionality of any security solution installed. The antivirus is thus unable to spot introduction of virus from the remote server.
The ransomware invasion is indicative of its dropper residing in the computer memory. It also hints at other invasions. The PC can hardly be considered properly protected due to the impacts of the above trojan.
Ultimate option implies a total formatting for any drives of your PC. That is not an option for many users, for it destroys all the data hosted by the machine. The best solution to pick would be in-depth system examination with a reliable security suite.
The trojan that has installed _READ_THIS_FILE ransomware, unless removed, is to trigger its installation campaign as soon as a new strain of ransomware is available. Thereby, it is critical to kill it as soon as possible.

The technique successfully overcomes malicious software, including any ransoming threats. It deploys a reputable security suite that offers not a single chance for malicious components to avoid detection and extermination. The software is incredibly user-friendly and operates on a single-click basic.

It is good to note the removal of _READ_THIS_FILE ransomware does not recover the data affected. However, the virus is subject to compulsory extermination or else is going to introduce related infections into the machine.

1. Click the button to download the stub installer and go through several setup dialogs. Once the tool is up and running, click Start Computer Scan

2. Wait until the cleaner checks the PC for _READ_THIS_FILE malicious code. As soon as the scan is completed, the report will list all malware objects spotted in the system. Make sure the entries for detected infections are checked, and select the Fix Threats feature. This will result in malware removal and system remediation, so you should now be good to go.

Restore the encrypted files

_READ_THIS_FILE ransomware encryption is a sophisticated data modification. There is no simple and single solution to cover all the cases. Transferring the ransom as demanded by the crooks is not the way either.Kindly apply the methods outlined below as they have been carefully developed to provide a recovery help for the most severe cases of encrypting assaults.

Data recovery with automatic software

Good news is that the virus actually deals with copies of the files. The originals have been deleted. The removed data still can be restored by virtue of such tools as Data Recovery Pro.

Shadow Volume Copies

As Windows creates backups at given periods of time, a victim is advised to address relevant restore points. Unfortunately, the method cannot apply unless the System Restore had been enabled prior to the invasion. Please also note the recovery returns files as saved before the time associated with the restore point addressed.

  • Previous Versions dialog to target individual files
    One can open Properties for any file. The menu has a tab called Previous Versions. It indicates versions of a file that have been backed up.
    To make use of the feature, right-click an affected file and choose Properties in the drop-down list. Proceed with clicking the above-mentioned tab. You can opt between the Copy or Restore procedures, the former enabling to copy the item into the location specified by the user.

test properties

shadow explorer

Backups and removing remaining traces of _READ_THIS_FILE ransomware

Prevention is the best cure. If you stick to making regular reserve copies of your data and store those outside your operating system, the impacts by the ransomware are very limited. However, prior to copying the data from backups into the system hit by _READ_THIS_FILE encryptor, make sure the removal of this virus has completed.

Your manual removal attempts may kill the ransomware in general. In most of the cases, some remnants manage to survive and are still capable of causing a significant damage. Please apply a reliable anti-malware scanner to detect and remove, if applicable, any remaining infections.

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