Cradle Ransomware

Also Known As: .cradle virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: <strong>Severe</strong>

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Description Removal Prevention

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:

Cradle decrypt instructions

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:
hxxps://pn6fsogszhqlxz4n.onion.to/5Z5
hxxps://pn6fsogszhqlxz4n.onion.cab/5Z5
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:
hxxp://pn6fsogszhqlxz4n.onion/5Z5

Screenshot of Cradle website:

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
Website: hxxp://pn6fsogszhqlxz4n.onion/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:
hxxps://coinatmradar.com/
The best place online to find Bitcoin is the Buy Bitcoins World Wide website:
hxxps://www.buybitcoinworldwide.com/
Another website offering quick Bitcoin purchases is LocalBitcoins:
hxxps://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
This is the official bitcoin website:
hxxps://bitcoin.org/

Screenshot of files encrypted by Cradle (".cradle" extension):

Files encrypted by Cradle

Cradle ransomware removal:

Quick menu: Quick solution to remove .cradle virus

Step 1

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.

Safe Mode with Networking

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.

Windows 8 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.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

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.


DOWNLOAD
Remover for .cradle virus

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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.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

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).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

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.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

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 regain control of the files encrypted by Cradle, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

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:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • 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:

About the author:

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Google+ to stay informed about the latest online security threats.

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