CYBERRESEARCHER ransomware removal instructions
What is CYBERRESEARCHER?
First discovered by MalwareHunterTeam, CYBERRESEARCHER is high-risk ransomware based on an open-source ransomware project called Hidden Tear. Following successful infiltration, CYBERRESEARCHER encrypts most stored files using AES cryptography. In addition, this malware appends filenames with the ".CYBERRESEARCHER" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.CYBERRESEARCHER"). Once files are encrypted, using them becomes impossible. Immediately after encryption, CYBERRESEARCHER creates an HTML file ("READ_IT.html") and places a copy in every existing folder.
The new text file contains a short message informing victims of the encryption and encourages them to pay a ransom in exchange for decryption of their files. As mentioned above, CYBERRESEARCHER uses AES cryptography, a symmetric encryption algorithm and, thus, a single unique key (generated individually for each victim) is used to encrypt and decrypt data. Keys are not stored locally - criminals hide them on a remote server and victims are encouraged to pay a ransom of 2.5 Bitcoin (currently equivalent to approximately $23000) for their release. The message also states that payment must be submitted within 48 hours, otherwise the files are permanently deleted. Note, however, that users are only provided with an address of developers' Bitcoin wallets. There are no contact details or decryption instructions. Therefore, paying will deliver no positive result, you will simply lose many thousands of dollars, and support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. Furthermore, many ransomware developers ignore victims, even if the aforementioned information is provided and victims are scammed. For these reasons, ignore all requests to pay any ransoms. There are currently no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by CYBERRESEARCHER and the only solution is to restore everything from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
CYBERRESEARCHER is regular ransomware and, thus, shares many similarities with dozens of other viruses such as, for example, Iron, RSA2048Pro, Vurten, and My Decryptor. Although these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, their behavior is identical - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. They have just two major differences - size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, most use algorithms that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, decryption without involvement of the developers (not recommended) is typically impossible. The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, and so on). Malware such as CYBERRESEARCHER presents a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. Always store backup files on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged external storage, otherwise backups are encrypted together with regular files.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Never open email attachments before checking their source. If the file seems irrelevant or has been sent from a suspicious/unrecognizable address, immediately delete the email and certainly do not open any attachments. Furthermore, download your apps from official sources only (using direct download links) and avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since they often include rogue apps. Keep installed applications updated and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite. Bear in mind that criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters. Therefore, update applications using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. The key to computer safety is caution.
Text presented in CYBERRESEARCHER ransomware HTML file ("READ_IT.html"):
Your files have been encrypted by CYBERRESEARCHER
Send 2.5 Bitcoins to 126HY2x4gBWDxzff3PRi8hrcqoHpgNSvr6
Your files will be deleted permanently if the Bitcoins are not sent in the next 48 hours
Screenshot of files encrypted by CYBERRESEARCHER (".CYBERRESEARCHER" extension):
CYBERRESEARCHER ransomware removal:
- What is CYBERRESEARCHER?
- STEP 1. CYBERRESEARCHER virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. CYBERRESEARCHER 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 CYBERRESEARCHER 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 CYBERRESEARCHER virus
1) Download and install 2) Run system scan 3) Enjoy your clean computer!
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 CYBERRESEARCHER 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 CYBERRESEARCHER 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 CYBERRESEARCHER 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 CYBERRESEARCHER ransomware.
Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.
Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here is more information on how to get this update and add an additional protection layer from ransomware infections.
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 CYBERRESEARCHER ransomware: