Cdqw Ransomware – Virus Removal

Cdqw ransomware is the most recent version of the STOP/DJVU malware family. It is unfortunate for victims that most variants of this crypto-virus are not able to be decrypted by most tools and recovery programs available. That being said, the victims of Cdqw ransomware have no other option but to comply with the demands of attackers, which is to pay the expensive ransom demand. The cyber-criminals behind Cdqw ransomware state that they are going to provide the private key and decryption tool once the victims have settled the ransom payment.

More about Cdqw ransomware

The payload of Cdqw ransomware typically involves encrypting the victim’s files or locking them out of their computer system. Once activated, the ransomware encrypts important files using a strong encryption algorithm, rendering them inaccessible without the decryption key. The victim then receives a ransom note, usually in the form of a pop-up message or a text file, demanding payment in cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin) in exchange for the decryption key. The ransom note often includes instructions on how to make the payment and may threaten permanent data loss if the ransom is not paid within a specified timeframe.

The goal of the Cdqw ransomware payload is to coerce the victim into paying the ransom, as the decryption key is held by the attackers. However, paying the ransom is not recommended, as it does not guarantee the recovery of files, and it funds criminal activities. Additionally, succumbing to ransom demands can make individuals and organizations targets for future attacks. To lessen the impact of ransomware, it is crucial to maintain up-to-date backups of important data, use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software, and educate users about the risks of phishing and malicious downloads. Regularly updating software and implementing strong security practices can also help prevent the initial infection of Cdqw ransomware.

Screenshot of Cdqw Files

Should you pay the Cdqw ransom money?

Computer users must always remember to never trust cybercriminals. Moreover, they should not give in to the demands of ransomware makers. In most infection cases, these offenders do not send the promised decryption tool, even if they received the complete sum of the ransom money. Some were able to fulfill and send the recovery software; hence, it may not fully work because of the damage that the attack has caused to the affected files.

Computer security experts also do not agree on paying the ransom money. According to these malware researchers, the attackers are using the collected money to fund future attacks by creating a more sophisticated form of ransomware.

Sources of Cdqw ransomware infection

In order for computer users to avoid Cdqw virus contamination, they must have an idea of its sources. In most of the recorded incidents, it was observed that Cdqw ransomware arrives at the computer through spam email messages. It is attached to it and disguised as legitimate documents. Opening such fake emails and attachments launches the Cdqw attack, and some anti-virus software may not prevent this from happening.

Another basis for a Cdqw ransomware infection includes pirated software, infected websites, social engineering attacks, and a separate Trojan infection. To be safe, computer users must stay away from such sites, and installing an efficient anti-malware tool is vital to preventing accidental visits to malicious sites and hazardous files.

Technical Details
Threat Name Cdqw Ransomware, STOP/DJVU
Threat Type Crypto-virus, File Locker, Encryption Virus
File Extension .cdqw
Ransomware Note File _readme.txt
Attacker’s email support@freshmail.top
datarestorehelp@airmail.cc

Backup your files

One important step before proceeding with the procedures below is to backup your files. Ransomware are not the same. Each has its unique sets of payloads aside from encrypting the files with complex method. Others tend to delete the infected files after certain period, while others keep them concealed on hidden places. In addition, ransomware decryption tools are not guaranteed to be perfect, there are instances that files suffer from damages during the decryption process.

So, create a backup copy of your entire Cdqw encrypted files right now.

Cdqw Ransomware Removal Guide

First thing to do is remove the Cdqw virus before attempting the decryption. Remember that as long as the ransomware is active, it will repeatedly encrypt the files on the compromised computer.

Infection of Cdqw ransom virus is dangerous to the system because it can inject files that runs each time Windows starts. To prevent the malicious files from loading, Windows operating system must run with minimal process and it can be done through SafeMode With Networking.

Quick Fix - Scan the PC with Combo Cleaner for Windows

Combo Cleaner is a trusted PC security and optimization tool equipped with powerful virus and malware detection engine. This program can get rid of ransomware like Cdqw through this procedure.

1. Download the application from the following page:

2. Save the file to your preferred location.

3. Double-click the downloaded file CCSetup.exe and install with the default settings.

CC for Windows Installation

4. At the end of the setup process, click Finish to run Combo Cleaner.

5. The tool will update the signature file, please wait for this process to complete.

6. To begin checking for threats like Cdqw ransomware, click on the Start Scan button. Wait for this scan to finish.

CC for Windows Start Scan

7. At the end of the scan process, click on Remove all threats to delete Cdqw ransomware including all malicious objects from the computer.

Free features of Combo Cleaner for Windows include Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus, privacy scanner, and to delete identified threats, users have to upgrade to a premium version.

Please continue with the succeeding removal procedures if your are comfortable to manually get rid of the threat and malicious items linked with it.

Step 1 : Start Windows in Safe Mode With Networking

The method of running Windows in Safe Mode before running a virus scan is effective in getting rid of Cdqw. This process can prevent most viruses and malware from loading, making it easier to detect and remove them.

1. On the Windows Search bar, please type msconfig.

Screenshot of MSConfig Command

2. Select and open System Configutation on the list of found results.

3. Once you are in the System Configuration window, go to the Boot tab.

Screenshot of SafeBoot

4. Under the Boot Options area, please check Safe Boot and select Network. This will allow Windows to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

5. Lastly, click on Apply and OK to save the changes.

6. Please restart Windows.

Do not forget to restore the normal boot process of Windows after running the virus scan. Simply repeat the method above, and this time, uncheck the Safe Boot option to run Windows normally.

Step 2 : Scan the Computer with Sophos Antivirus

Ransomware files are placed deeply into the system and on various locations, thus, thorough scanning is vital to totally remove Cdqw virus. Aside from our suggested tool, you may also run your own security program.

To remove Cdqw ransomware automatically, scanning the computer with this efficient anti-malware tool is suggested. This scanner does not just uncover known threats like viruses or malware, it is also effective in discovering hazardous ransomware like Cdqw.

1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.

2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process.

3. On first windows of installation wizard, click Next to continue. Then, it will display the program’s License Agreement. You need to Accept the terms in order to proceed. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes to proceed.

Screenshot of Sophos EULA Page

4. On succeeding windows, click Next or Continue to carry on with the installation. After completing the installation process, Launch Sophos Virus Removal Tool.

5. Internet connection is required when running this virus scanner in order to download important updates. Make sure that everything is up-to-date to effectively remove Cdqw ransomware and other relevant viruses.

6. Click the Start Scanning button to inspect the computer. This will check the system for presence of malicious objects, malware, and viruses. The tool reveals items that were found linked to Cdqw ransomware and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.

Screenshot of Sophos Virus Scan

The above procedures should have totally eliminated Cdqw ransomware. However, if you found that there are still remnants of the virus, please proceed to succeeding procedures below.

Step 3 : Double Check with Windows Security Apps

Microsoft Windows has a built-in security application that you can use to double-check if your computer is still infected with Cdqw. For Windows 10/11 users, please run Windows Security.

Windows 10 / 11 Instructions:

Windows Security is a free tool that was built to help you remove Cdqw, viruses, and other malicious items from Windows 10/11 systems. Follow these procedures to scan your computer with the tool:

1. Tap or click the Search charm, search for Windows Security, and then open the application.

Image of Windows Security Search

2. On the Home tab, click Virus and threat protection from the sidebar.

3. On the main window, click on Scan Options. Then, click on Full Scan button.

Image of Scan Options

4. Lastly, click on the Scan now button to start scanning for the presence of Cdqw. The process may take a while to complete.

5. After the scan, Delete/Quarantine identified threats, whether they were relevant to Cdqw or not. You may now restart Windows to complete the virus removal process.

For older versions of Windows, you can scan the computer for free with the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT 64-Bit). It is a stand-alone virus scanner tool that targets prevalent malware groups.

Recover Files from Cdqw Ransomware Infection

On this section, we will provide ways to decrypt files infected with Cdqw ransomware. Aside from dedicated decryption software and common tools, other options for file recovery are provided. As much as we can, we will update this area whenever there is new and more suitable decryption tool was made available.

Decrypting Cdqw infected files with Emsisoft Tools

This service from Emsisoft is helpful in unlocking encrypted files without paying the ransom. The page provides the list of ransomware decryption tools. All you have to do is look for the specific tool and start recovering the Cdqw encrypted file.

Option: Use ShadowExplorer to restore files encrypted by Cdqw Ransomware

ShadowExplorer depends on the presence of System Protection on every drive from which you wish to retrieve data. Furthermore, it is crucial that System Protection is enabled prior to any event that requires file recovery. It is worth noting that Windows automatically enables System Protection solely on the system partition (C). 

ShadowExplorer is taking advantage of shadow copy created by Windows system. This tool allows you to retrieve older version of files before it was encrypted by Cdqw ransomware.

1. Download ShadowExplorer from the official web site.

2. Install the program with the default settings.

3. The program should run automatically after installation. If not, double-click on ShadowExplorer icon.

4. You can see the drop-down list on top of the console. Please select proper drive and the most recent point-in-time shadow copies of files you wish to restore prior to Cdqw ransomware infection.

Screenshot of ShadowExplorer

5. Right-click on the Drive, Folder, or File you wish to restore and click Export...

6. Lastly, ShadowExplorer will prompt for location where you want to save the copy of recovered files.

How to protect the computer from Cdqw ransomware?

After the removal of the ransomware, it is important to prevent similar incident from happening again. In order to protect the computer effectively, computer user must know how Cdqw ransomware was able to infect the computer. To minimize the possible infection, staying away from the common sources of this virus is crucial.

How Cdqw ransomware can infect your computer?

The method of infecting the computers was found to be similar as other common viruses. Though, ransomware like Cdqw is seen to have efficient deployment via spam email messages, web injectors, malicious software installers, misleading online advertisements, and through another virus infection.

Once the virus is executed, it immediately infects the system. Then, Cdqw ransomware communicates to remote server so that unique key can be generated for the specific computer. After acquiring the key, it starts to decrypt target files using a complex method that is almost unbreakable. On the last stage of the attack, Cdqw ransomware demands for ransom money as payment for the decryption tool. To further understand the attack scheme, we have included an infographic below.

Infographic image of ransomware attack stages
You can print, download, or share the infographic by clicking the image.

Securing the computer against ransomware attack

Do a Regular File Back-up - Always backup your data on a separate storage devices such as external hard drives, optical discs, or online backup services.

Keep Your Software Updated - Make sure that you have the latest software updates especially on the operating system. Recent updates often contain vital security patches to help protect the computer against all forms of threats.

Install a Security Program - Protect the computer with effective anti-virus application using efficient real-time scanning. Regularly run a complete scan to check the computer for presence of malware.

Protect your files with Controlled Folder Access (Windows 10/11)

For Windows 10/11 users, aside from protecting the computer using anti-virus or anti-malware programs, one way to protect against ransomware attack is by using Controlled Folder Access. This feature of Windows Defender Security Center may not prevent the Cdqw ransomware infection, but it can protect the folder and files in general. Follow the steps to enable Controlled Folder Access in Windows 10/11.

1. Go to Windows Taskbar and search for Windows Defender Security Center.

2. Open Windows Defender Security Center and click on Virus & Threat Protection icon.

Virus and Threat Protection

3. On next window, please click on Ransomware Protection.

4. Under Controlled Folder Access section, switch the slider to On. That will enable the feature and protect the folder against Cdqw virus or any type of ransomware.

Controlled Folder Access

5. Click on Protected Folders link to include additional folders. Make sure that folders where important files are located should be included in the list.

Include Your Protected Folder

Troubleshooting Guide

Certain programs maybe blocked by Controlled Folder Access feature. To fix the issue, simply have the specific program to be white listed.

1. Under Protected Folders, click Allow an app through controlled folder access.

2. Next, click the Add an allowed app and include the target executable file.

This Controlled Folder Access feature is one way to protect files against Cdqw ransomware. Other important things to do in keeping files safe against ransomware is through early prevention like keeping programs updated, install an efficient security program, an do regular file backup on a separate media drive.

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