Keep systems safe from .cmd ransomware attacks

Also Known As: .cmd virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

.cmd ransomware removal instructions

What is .cmd ransomware?

Discovered by Jakub Kroustek and belonging to the Dharma ransomware family, .cmd is one of many ransomware-type programs on the internet. It encrypts data stored on the system and blocks access to it until a decryption tool is purchased from the cyber criminals who developed the .cmd ransomware. Only then can victims restore their files. This malicious software renames all encrypted files by changing extensions to ".cmd" and adding an email address and unique ID to the filenames. For example, "1.jpg" might be renamed to "[].cmd". Note, however, that .cmd is a valid extension for Batch files used by Windows OS. Therefore, there is a high probability that developers are attempting to conceal the encryption for some reason. It also creates a ransom message within a text file named "RETURN FILES.txt". As .cmd is a genuine extension on Windows operating systems, it is very likely that the people who developed this ransomware seek to disguise their files in this way. Updated variants of this ransomware use the ".[].cmd" extension for encrypted files.

This ransomware encrypts data with the RSA-1024 encryption algorithm. To get instructions about how to pay ransoms, victims must contact .cmd developers by sending an email to or, which must contain a unique ID that is appointed to each victim. Victims are also permitted to attach one file (no larger than 1 MB), which should contain no valuable information. As 'proof' that cyber criminals have valid decryption software and keys, they offer to decrypt the file free of charge and return it with instructions about how to make payment for the software/keys. Victims are encouraged to pay the ransom immediately, since decryption keys might be overwritten after one week of encryption. When a transaction is made, they supposedly send a decryption program, key, and instructions about how to use them. In fact, cyber criminals often do not send anything. In many cases, people trust ransomware developers, pay ransoms, and are then scammed. Unfortunately, there are no other tools that can decrypt files encrypted with .cmd. Only the cyber criminals who developed this ransomware can provide them. Since it is not recommended that you trust these people, we advise to restore all files from a backup.

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

.cmd decrypt instructions

There are many other ransomware-type programs similar to .cmd including, for example, Peta, Shariz, and Seto. Most encrypt files and ensure that they can only be decoded with specific tools. Main differences between these programs are usually cryptography algorithm used for encryption and cryptocurrency sum that must be paid. Unfortunately, encryptions caused by these programs are generally impossible decrypt without the involvement of the developers. Typically, the safest option to recover files is to use backups. Therefore, maintain regular backups and keep them on a remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

In most cases, cyber criminals proliferate malicious software through spam campaigns, Trojans, unofficial software updating and activation tools, or untrustworthy software download channels/tools. Spam campaigns are used to proliferate malware via emails that contain malicious attachments. Typically, attached files are Microsoft Office documents, archive files such as RAR, ZIP, PDF documents, executable files (.exe and others files of this type), JavaScript files, and so on. If opened, these infect computers with ransomware or other malware. People with computers infected by Trojans usually experience multiple installations of malware. Trojans cause chain infections by installing additional malicious software. Fake software update tools can also be used to proliferate these programs - they infect systems by downloading and installing malicious programs rather than updates, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Software 'cracking' tools are by people who seek to bypass paid activation of installed software, however, they often download and install ransomware or other malware rather than activating any programs free of charge. Computers are also infected with malicious programs when using dubious download sources such as free file hosting, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, and so on), unofficial websites, and other similar channels. People who use these channels risk downloading malicious files that are disguised as legitimate or harmless. When opened, however, they install high-risk malware.

Threat Summary:
Name .cmd virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .cmd (cyber criminals use this extension, which is also a genuine extension in Windows systems).
Ransom Demanding Message pop-up window and RETURN FILES.txt file.
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Detection Names Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransom.Crysis.E), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Crysis.P), Kaspersky (, Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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 malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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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

Do not trust attachments or web links presented in irrelevant emails sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. Typically, these emails are disguised as official or important, however, when the attached files are opened, they often install malicious software. Furthermore, download all software using direct downloads links and official websites. The tools mentioned above should not be used. Update installed software (and operating systems) using tools or implemented functions that are provided by official software developers. Other (third party) tools can be used to distribute malicious programs. The same applies to third party activation ('cracking') tools - they often install malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to activate programs with these tools. We also recommend that you scan the operating system with reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software. If any threats are detected, remove them immediately. If your computer is already infected with .cmd, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in .cmd ransomware pop-up window:

You can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
When you make sure of decryption possibility transfer the money to our bitcoin wallet. As soon as we receive the money we will send you:
1. Decryption program.
2. Detailed instruction for decryption.
3. And individual keys for decrypting your files.
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Screenshot of .cmd text file ("RETURN FILES.txt"):

.cmd text file

Text in this file:

All your data is encrypted!
for return write to mail: or

Screenshot of files encrypted by .cmd (".cmd" extension):

Files encrypted by .cmd

.cmd ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: 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 malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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 .cmd 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 .cmd 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 .cmd 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 .cmd 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 .cmd, 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 .cmd 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 .cmd 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
.cmd 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 .cmd virus on your mobile device.
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