Error code 0x00AEM0D1489 – “Windows Update cannot continue as your software copy is Expired/Corrupt. Please enter a valid product key to continue” – this is what users see after the malicious process “Microsoft.exe” locks their screen, pretending to be Windows Update. This is classified as a Tech Support scam because it points out to call a number to fix the nonexistent issue. However, the difference here is that the scammers mean business, installing a Lockscreen type of Trojan on the compromised computer.
|Name||Windows Lock Screen Virus|
|Short Description||The threat pretends to be Windows Update, but locks down the user from his computer after which demands to call tech support “representatives” to help. Most likely a scam to drain money.|
|Symptoms||You will see a “Configuring Updates” screen after which a screen showing that you activation key for Windows has expired. Usually they ask you to call tech support.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages, Via malvertising.|
See If Your System Has Been Affected by Windows Lock Screen Virus
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Windows Lock Screen Virus.|
Windows Update Lock Screen – How Did I Get It
The Trojan is believed to infect computers via a rogue PC cleaning software, named PC Cleaner. Similar to other rogue programs such as System Healer, PC Clean Pro . Such misleading software may exhibit rogue behavior and automatically scan your computer. It appears that users may have been misled that they are downloading a legitimate software to help them clean their computer, and it has installed the malware on their PC. The other scenario is that the program has most likely automatically slipped onto the victim computer.
Windows Update Lock Screen In Detail
Once it has infected your computer, during installation, the malware has been reported by Symantec to create similar to the following files in key Windows locations:
→ In %WinDir%:
In %Program Files%\PC Cleaner Inc\PC Cleaner:
In addition to that, the virus creates a run value to make the “Microsoft.exe” process run on system log on. This is done if the following registry entries are modified:
- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\”Shell” = “microsoft.exe”
- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\”AlternateShell” = “microsoft.exe”
After the files and registry entries have been created, the tech support scam malware gets right down to business. It begins by connecting to the malicious domain of the cyber-criminals controlling it:
After being connected, the ransom lock Trojan begins to send information to the criminals’ domain:
- PC name.
- MAC addresses.
- Operating System Information.
- Region and Time Zone Information.
After doing so, the Trojan may log the user out of his Windows account and display an “Update In Process” message, similar to the following:
After this is “complete” Symantec report that the ransomware immediately locks down the user from his computer and displays the following message:
The message resembles an official Windows lock screen virus that explains to the user he has to call a tech support number for more information. The main concern according to the message is that the product key of the user PC has expired. The scamming number to contact has been reported to be 1-844-872-8686 – a number that has been reported to be associated with other scams of such type by ESG researchers.
Stop Windows Update Lock Screen and Remove It for Free
To stop this Lock Screen, you should first press the following key combination:
This combination will make sure the lock screen is temporary removed. After this, we strongly advise you to isolate this Trojan by entering safe mode and scanning your computer with an advanced anti-malware software. There is the manual option of finding the malicious files that are reported in this article after which manually removing them, using the manual instructions below. These may help you effectively deal with the Windows Update Trojan permanently.
Manually delete Windows Lock Screen Virus from Windows and your browser
Note! Substantial notification about the Windows Lock Screen Virus threat: Manual removal of Windows Lock Screen Virus requires interference with system files and registries. Thus, it can cause damage to your PC. Even if your computer skills are not at a professional level, don’t worry. You can do the removal yourself just in 5 minutes, using a malware removal tool.