Remove 0x00AEM0D1489 Windows Update Lock Screen Virus - How to, Technology and PC Security Forum | SensorsTechForum.com
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Remove 0x00AEM0D1489 Windows Update Lock Screen Virus

shutterstock_271501652Error 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.

Threat Summary

NameWindows Lock Screen Virus
TypeLockscreen Trojan
Short DescriptionThe 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.
SymptomsYou 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 MethodFreeware Installations, Bundled Packages, Via malvertising.
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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%:
microsoft.exe
tv.exe
In %Program Files%\PC Cleaner Inc\PC Cleaner:
MicrosoftTool.exe
MicrosoftTool.InstallState
p.ico
pccleaner.jpg
PC_cleaner.exe
PC_cleaner_database.exe

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:

  • 208.91.198.59

After being connected, the ransom lock Trojan begins to send information to the criminals’ domain:

  • IP.
  • 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:

post-1-0-76697400-1354885174

After this is “complete” Symantec report that the ransomware immediately locks down the user from his computer and displays the following message:

Windows Lock Screen - Sensorstechforum

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:

  • CTRL+SHIFT+S

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.

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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