Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
Cradle ransomware removal instructions
What is Cradle?
Cradle is a ransomware-type virus discovered by malware security researcher, Michael Gillespie. Once infiltrated, Cradle encrypts various files and appends the ".cradle" extension to the name of each encrypted file. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.cradle". Following successful encryption, Cradle creates an HTML file ("_HOW_TO_UNLOCK_FILES_.html") containing a ransom-demand message, and places it on the desktop. Note also that, in dark forums, Cradle is offered as a RaaS (Ransomware as a Service).
Cradle's HTML file contains a message stating that files are encrypted and can only be restored using a unique key. It is currently unknown whether Cradle uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. Unfortunately, in either case, decryption without a unique key is impossible. Cyber criminals store this key on a remote server and victims are encouraged to pay a ransom of .25 Bitcoin (currently, 1 Bitcoin is equivalent to ~$1200) to receive it. It is also stated that the ransom must be paid within seven days, otherwise the cost will double. If the payment is not submitted within 14 days, the key is permanently deleted, making it impossible to restore encrypted files. Bear in mind, however, that you should never trust cyber criminals. Research shows that these people often ignore victims, once payments are submitted and it is highly probable that you will be scammed. We strongly advise you to ignore all requests to pay a ransom or contact these people. Unfortunately, there are currently no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by Cradle and you can only restore your files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses virtually identical to Cradle including, for example, Cerber, Salsa, AngryKite, Happydayzz, and BTCWare. These viruses have identical behavior - they encrypt files and make ransom demands. The only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Research shows that ransomware is often distributed via spam emails (malicious attachments), third party software download sources (peer-to-peer networks, freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, etc.), fake software updaters, and trojans. Therefore, be cautious when opening files received from suspicious emails, and when downloading software from unofficial sources. Furthermore, keep your installed applications up-to-date and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite. Be aware, however, that criminals employ fake updaters to proliferate malware - updating installed applications via third party tools is risky.
Text presented within Cradle HTML file ("_HOW_TO_UNLOCK_FILES_.html"):
!!! ATTENTION !!!
What happened to my files?
All your documents, pictures, music, and other important files are locked. Your files are locked with military-grade encryption technology.
It is impossible to unlock your files without the secret password and decryption software.
Do not try to unlock the files yourself -- you will certainly damage your files if you try.
What should I do?
You have 2 options:
1. Wait and pray for a miracle that will unlock your files.
2. Purchase the password and decryption software as soon as possible.
If you wait for a mircale, this is what will happen ...
In 7 days the price of the password and decryption software will double.
In 2 weeks, the secret password will be deleted from the server -- and your files will be locked forever!
How do I purchase the software?
To purchase the password and decryption software, follow these easy steps:
1. Visit one of these web sites:
2. If that doesn't work, download and install the Tor Browser at hxxps://www.torproject.org/. If you need help, please Google search for "access tor sites".
3. Visit the following web site with the Tor Browser:
Screenshot of Cradle website:
Text presented within this website:
Unlock Your Files
You are here because your files are locked with military-grade encryption! To unlock your files you must purchase the decryption software. It is the only way to restore your files.
As soon as payment is received, a software download button will appear on this page. Only software from this site can unlock your files! To bookmark this page press [Ctrl+D].
Payment ID: 5Z5
Price: 0.25 Bitcoins ($315.65 US Dollars)
Bitcoin Address: 15Be7gHu6bvcCshqU5LRuARGN3DYXYXBuH
Time Left: 6 days, 23 hrs 57 mins 55 secs
Follow these instructions carefully:
1. Payment must be made in Bitcoin currency. No other form of payment is accepted.
2. Time is running out! The price will double when the time expires!
3. After 14 days of nonpayment, your files will be locked forever!!!
4. DO NOT attempt to restore the files yourself! You WILL destory them if you try.
5. Purchase 0.25 Bitcoins and send to 15Be7gHu6bvcCshqU5LRuARGN3DYXYXBuH
6. Return to this page and download the software.
7. Confirmation of payment can take up to 1 hour. Be patient and check back often.
Contact For Help
Where do I Buy Bitcoins?
Bitcoin ATM's near you:
The best place online to find Bitcoin is the Buy Bitcoins World Wide website:
Another website offering quick Bitcoin purchases is LocalBitcoins:
This is the official bitcoin website:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Cradle (".cradle" extension):
Cradle ransomware removal:
Quick menu: Quick solution to remove .cradle virus
- What is Cradle?
- STEP 1. Cradle virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Cradle ransomware removal using System Restore.
Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the Cradle virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.
If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.
Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":
1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the Cradle ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining Cradle ransomware files.
To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of Cradle are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.
To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.
If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.
To protect your computer from file encryption ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as Cradle ransomware.
HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.
Other tools known to remove Cradle ransomware: