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

The new text file contains a ransom-demand message informing victims of the current situation and stating that decryption requires a unique key/tool. It is also stated that all keys are stored on a remote server controlled by Cratful's developers. Therefore, victims must pay ransoms to retrieve them. Unfortunately, claims that decryption requires a unique key are accurate. As mentioned above, Cratful uses the RSA-1024 algorithm, which is asymmetric. Thus, 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. Therefore, cyber criminals are able to blackmail victims by offering paid recovery of files. The cost is not specified - these details are provided via email, however, it is stated that the cost will double unless victims contact cyber criminals within 72 hours of encryption. Additionally, criminals allow victims to attach up to two selected files, which are then restored and returned. Criminals do this to 'prove' that they are capable of restoring data and to gain victims' trust. Unfortunately, ransomware developers often ignore victims once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying usually gives no positive result and users are scammed. We strongly recommend that you ignore all requests to submit payments or even contact these people. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking Cratful encryption and restoring data free of charge. Therefore, the only solution is to restore everything from a backup, if one has been 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, and WALAN. Most compromise data (usually, by encryption) and make ransom demands. Infections of this type typically employ cryptographies such as AES, RSA, and others that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to decrypt data without developers' involvement. The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally or similar). Users are strongly advised to maintain regular backups. We recommend that you store backups on a remote server or unplugged storage device, since locally stored backups are compromised together with regular data. In addition, have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, since there is always a chance that servers and storage devices can 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, spam email campaigns, and unofficial software download sources. Trojans are essentially malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and download/install additional malware. Fake updaters and cracks infect computers rather than updating outdated software or providing access to paid features. Spam campaigns are used to send hundreds of thousands of emails containing deceptive messages encouraging recipients to open malicious attachments (links/files). Finally, third party software download sources present malicious executables as legitimate software, thereby tricking users into manually downloading and installing malware. The list of these 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 Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand payment of 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?

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Carefully analyze each email attachment received. Files/links that are irrelevant should never be opened. The same applies to attachments received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses. Similar rules apply to software updates. Keep installed applications/operating system up-to-date, however, use implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Furthermore, cracking installed applications is illegal (software piracy is a cyber crime) and the risk of infection is extremely high. Therefore, never use 'cracks'. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools 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 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 a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the 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 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:

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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