.CADQ File Extension
CADQ Ransomware Encrypted File
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What is a CADQ file?
A CADQ file is a file that has been encrypted by Cadq ransomware, which is malware distributed by cybercriminals. It contains a file, such as a .DOCX or .JPG file, that has been renamed and encrypted by the virus. CADQ files cannot be opened, and they likely cannot be decrypted.
In February 2021, some PC users began reporting that their computers had been infected by ransomware that encrypted and renamed their files to use the .cadq extension. Further investigation revealed that .cadq was a new extension used by STOP ransomware, which is a commonly-distributed type of ransomware. Other variants of STOP ransomware append users' files with the .STOP, .djvu, .rumba, .radman, or .gero extensions.
How did my computer get infected by Cadq ransomware?
Cadq ransomware is most commonly hidden within "free programs" available from software download websites, especially programs that claim to be free copies of paid programs. When users install the free program, they also unwittingly install the ransomware the program contains.
How to open a CADQ file
CADQ files are encrypted, so you cannot open them. You can attempt to decrypt your CADQ files using Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu, but because the ransomware's encryption changes over time, the decryptor may not work on your files. Read the instructions at the program's website carefully before attempting to decrypt your CADQ files.
FileInfo.com recommends you never pay a ransom to decrypt files encrypted by ransomware. Paying a ransom encourages ransomware distributors to continue their efforts, and there is no guarantee that paying a ransom will give you access to your files. Instead, you should restore your data from a recent backup created before the ransomware infected your computer.