Windows 10, virus danger: freezes PC booting

A new MBRLockers virus is spreading in recent days, affecting computers running Windows 10. Here's how to defend yourself.

There's no shortage of bad news for Windows 10 users. After the problems with updates that have been plaguing the operating system in recent months, with Microsoft forced to release several patches to fix errors and bugs, now comes new news: a new malware is spreading rapidly and affecting thousands of computers, especially of people who are at home and working in smart working mode these days.

The virus name is MBRLockers and it's not new to the world of computing. As early as last year, it started spreading and was also treated by researchers from Avira, one of the many PC antivirus software. Now the virus is back to infest users' computers, albeit in a rather peculiar way. In fact, it might have been developed by teenagers who think they are hackers and have found a way to pass the time when they are at home: to develop a virus that can block the PC from booting.

In fact, more than malware, we should talk about ransomware. It is a type of virus that has become very popular in recent years and has a peculiarity: after infecting the PC, it encrypts all data on the hard disk and asks for a ransom (usually in Bitcoin) to unlock it. The new MBRLockers works in a very similar way, but fortunately there is a way to defeat it without having to pay a ransom: here's how to do it. 

What is MBRLockers

This is a malware that has been spreading since last year and is a member of the ransomware family. Viruses MBRLockers infect the PC and overwrite the MBR of the hard disk, i.e. the Master Boot Record, making it impossible to boot the computer.

The new MBRLockers that is spreading these days works the same way: it overwrites the Master Boot Record and when the user restarts the PC for the first time, he/she finds the computer locked and with no possibility to overcome the lockout, unless he/she pays for it.

How the new MBRLockers affecting Windows 10 works

With billions of people in homes and forced to smart work, the new version of the malware has found fertile ground to spread. And hackers have precisely used the Covid-19 pandemic to speed up the spread of the malware: via Discord chat and email campaign they convinced thousands of people to download an infected attachment. As soon as the users downloaded the attachment, the ransomware started its work by replacing the Master Boot Record of the hard disk.

The first time the computer is restarted, the virus shows its face: it makes it impossible to log into Windows 10 and a message with a picture "This computer has been infected by Coronavirus" appears instead of the login. If you try to turn the computer off and on again, you can no longer start the system and a new message "Your computer has been trashed" appears.

The peculiarity of this new MBRLockers, however, is that no files are encrypted and no ransom is demanded to unlock the hard drive. Why?

How to defeat MBRLockers virus

The reason is very simple: the virus is not "a real virus". It is more of a bad prank set up by some kids. In fact, when the virus image appears with the message "This computer has been infected by Coronavirus", all you have to do is press Ctrl + Alt + Esc keys at the same time to defeat the new MBRLockers and get back to using your Windows 10 computer as if nothing had happened.

This virus reminds us of an important fact: you should never download attachments or files that are sent to you via email or messaging app chats that you do not know about. Even if they are sent by our friends, you should never trust them as they might be hiding a virus, as it happened in this case.