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New coronavirus malware 'trashes' Windows PCs

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Researchers have identified a new coronavirus-themed malware scam, able to lock Windows users out of their PCs.

The malware was first spotted by MalwareHunterTeam and reported by Bleeping Computer. In essence, it is an MBRLocker, which means it replaces the master boot record (MBR), preventing the machine from booting the operating system.

The malware is itself entitled Coronavirus, and the filename is Covid-19.exe. Once a machine is infected, the malware displays a warning that “Coronavirus has infected the PC”.

If the infected computer is restarted, the victim is prompted with a message saying “Your Computer Has Been Trashed.”

Although seemingly catastrophic, the malware is thankfully bypassed using a simple keyboard shortcut. By simply pressing CTRL+ALT+ESC at the same time, the victim can restore the original Master Boot Record and boot the device as normal.

The ease with which the malware can be bypassed suggests the hacker intended to prank victims, or use this project as practice for future attacks.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in writing various types of content, from blogs, whitepapers, and reviews to ebooks, and many more, across sites including Al Jazeera Balkans, TechRadar Pro, IT Pro Portal, and CryptoNews.