Removal of Cratful ransomware

Also Known As: Cratful virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Cratful ransomware removal instructions

What is Cratful?

Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Cratful is a high-risk ransomware that stealthily infiltrates computers and encrypts most of stored data using RSA-1024 encryption algorithm. During the encryption, Cratful appends the name of each encrypted file with ".cratful" extension (thus, its name). For instance, "sample.jpg" would be renamed to "sample.jpg.cratful". In addition, Cratful generates a text file named "FilesInfo.txt" and drops its copy in every existing folder.

As a rule, created text file contains a ransom-demanding message. It informs victims about the current situation and states that decryption requires a unique key/tool. It is also said that all victims' keys are stored in a remote server controlled by Cratful's developers. For this reason, victims have to pay a ransom in order to retrieve it. Unfortunately, claims that decryption requires a unique key are true. As mentioned above, Cratful uses RSA-1024 algorithm, which is asymmetric. This means that a unique public (encryption) and private (decryption) key is generated individually for each victim. This algorithm is uncrackable and restoring data without the private key is impossible. For this reason, cyber criminals can easily blackmail victims by offering a paid recovery. The price isn't specified - such details are provided via email. Yet it is noted that the price will be doubled if victims won't contact cyber criminals within 72 hours after the encryption. Additionally crooks allow victims to attach up to two selected files which will be restored and sent back. Crooks do this in order to prove that they're capable of restoring data and to gain victims' trust. Unluckily, ransomware developers often ignore victims once payments are submitted. For this reason, paying usually gives no positive result and users merely get scammed. We highly recommend to ignore all encouragements to submit payments and even contact these persons. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking Cratful's encryption and restoring data for free. Hence, the only possible solution is to restore everything from a backup, if there is one created.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:

Cratful decrypt instructions

Cratful is virtually identical to hundreds of other ransomware-type infections, such as TROLL, Cbs0z, WALAN. Almost every single one is designed to compromise data (usually, to encrypt it) and to make ransom demands. Infections of this type typically employ cryptographies like AES, RSA, and other that generate unique decryption keys. Hence, it is virtually impossible to decrypt data without developers interference. The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed and/or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or something like that). Users are strongly advised to maintain regular data backups. Keep in mind that locally stored backups will be compromised alongside with regular data. For this reason, we recommend to store backups in a remote server or an unplugged storage device, because locally stored backups will be compromised alongside with regular data. In addition, we highly to have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, because there's always a chance that used server/storage device will be damaged.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The way developers proliferate Cratful is currently unknown. However, these infections are often distributed using trojans, fake software updaters/cracks, email spam campaigns, and unofficial software download sources. Trojans are basically malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and download/install additional malware. Fake updaters and cracks infect computers rather than updating outdated software/providing access to paid features. Spam campaigns are used to send hundreds of thousands of emails consisting of deceptive messages encouraging recipients to open malicious attachments (links/files). Last but not least are third party software download sources which present malicious executables as legitimate software, thereby tricking users into downloading and installing malware by manual. The list of such sources includes freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks (torrents, eMule, etc.) and many others.

Threat Summary:
Name Cratful virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .cratful
Ransom Demanding Message FilesInfo.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Symptoms Can't open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension, for example my.docx.locked. A ransom demanding message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals are asking to pay a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
Damage All files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.

To eliminate Cratful virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To begin with, users must realize that the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and reckless behavior. The key to its safety is caution and, therefore, paying attention when browsing the Internet, as well as downloading/installing/updating software is paramount. It is extremely important to carefully analyze every email attachment received. Files/links that are irrelevant should never be opened. Same goes for attachments received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses. Similar rules apply to software updates. It is very important to keep installed applications/operating system up-to-date. Yet it should be updated by using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Users should also be informed that cracking installed applications is illegal (software piracy is a cyber crime) and the risk of infections is extremely high. For this reason, you should never attempt to do so. Lastly, be sure to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - tools of this type will help you to detect and eliminate malware before it harms the system. If your computer is already infected with Cratful, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Cratful ransomware's text file ("FilesInfo.txt"):

All your important files were encrypted on this PC.

All files with .craftul extension are encrypted.

Encryption was produced using unique private key RSA-1024 generated for this computer.

To decrypt your files, you need to obtain private key + decrypt software.

The single copy of the private key, with will allow you to decrypt the files, is locate on a secret server on the internet.

To retrieve the private key, you need to contact us by email send us an email your FilesInfo.txt file and wait for further instructions.

For you to be sure, that we can decrypt your files - you can send us a 1-2 not very big encrypted files and we will send you back it in a decrypted form free.

To send files you can use hxxp://

Do not waste your time! After 72 hours the main server will double your price!

Your personal id:


E-mail adress to contact us:

Reserve e-mail:

Screenshot of files encrypted by Cratful (".cratful" extension):

Files encrypted by Cratful

Cratful ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Cratful virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Cratful virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

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 Cratful 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.

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 Cratful 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 Cratful 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 Cratful 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 Cratful, 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 Cratful ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default this feature automatically protects files stored in Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.

Controll Folder Access

Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here's more information on how to get this update and add additional protection layer from ransomware infections.

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 Cratful ransomware:

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Cratful virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Cratful virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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