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Dangerous new virus destroys your PC if you try to remove it

There's a new virus in town, and this one is really dangerous.

Researchers from Cisco, Ben Baker and Alex Chiu spotted a virus (opens in new tab) they call Rombertik, and this one is out for blood. Once installs, it will attempt to steal all the passwords saved within your browsers, and if you happen to have antivirus software installed and try to get rid of it, it will break your computer.

Rombertik starts off the same way most viruses do – by a phishing attack. The victim will get an e-mail, pretending to be from Microsoft, asking the recepient to download the attachment and check a technical specification.

The attachment is, of course, not the PDF it says it is, but instead a screensaver application which installs Rombertik.

The virus then attempts to steal all the passwords from the browsers.

The virus comes with 75 images and more than 8,000 redundant functions in order to try and fool security software into thinking its a legitimate app, according to the Cisco team.

Things get really nasty if you have antivirus software installed. Even before it starts stealing data, if it notices it's being analysed, it will attempt to destroy the Master Boot Record, putting the machine in an endless reboot loop.

If it can't get into the Master Boot Record, it will just encrypt all the files in the user's home folder, thus destroying basically everything the user has on the machine.

Most antivirus software will block Rombertik from being installed in the first place, but the researchers warn everyone to double check the attachments before running them.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.