Complete Microsoft Windows Locker Removal Guide (Full Instructions)

An infection with the dangerous Microsoft Windows Locker leads to serious security issues. Victims can restore and protect their computers by following our complete removal guide.

Remove Microsoft Windows Locker and Restore PC
Manual Removal Guide
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Distribution of Microsoft Windows Locker

The Microsoft Windows Locker is a new virus which has been sighted in a limited attack campaign. At the moment the security researchers cannot determine the primary infection strategy. We presume that the most widely used tactics are going to be employed.

Among them are the email messages created in an automated way and sent to large lists of potential victims. The Microsoft Windows Locker can be directly attached to the messages. This is one of the easiest way for the criminals to attempt the infection. However a lot of email hosting providers usually capture the signatures of the virus and as such discard such messages or label them as dangerous or spam. Other infection methods related to this one is the option of inserting hyperlinks in the body content of the messages. The links are usually labeled as leading to a familiar website or a file of user interest. Redirects can redirect to hacker-controlled sites, infected payloads or other instances that can lead to an Microsoft Windows Locker infection.

The computer criminals behind the malware can create malicious sites or download portals which distribute malware of different kinds, including the Microsoft Windows Locker. A popular option is the use of infected documents which may be of different types ‒ spreadsheets, rich text documents, presentations and databases. They are modified to initiate the virus once the built-in scripts are run. Usually when the files are opened a notification will ask the users to run the macros (scripts). If this is done the infection follows.

The hacker-controlled sites are specialist portals that have been created either manually or automatically by the criminals behind the Microsoft Windows Locker. They can either directly distribute the threat by initiating various scripts or automated operations or link to such instances. Redirects are usually caused by email interaction, ad networks or other browsing activity. However one of the main sources is the availability of browser hijackers. They are malicious addons made for the most popular web browsers ‒ Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Microsoft Edge and Safari. Once installed they not only infect the users with the malware, but also redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled site. Depending on the configuration the browser hijackers can also steal sensitive information such as any stored passwords, account credentials, history, bookmarks, form data and settings.

Impact of Microsoft Windows Locker

In the last few months security experts have faced numerous infections with threats that include lockscreen instance in themselves. It seems that standalone versions are being devised as well. Victims reported attacks by a virus known as the Microsoft Windows Locker which is a combination of a generic malware and a tech support scam.

This threat is currently under detailed analysis by the security community and there is not a lot of information available about its base engine. If it follows the design patterns of other similar threats then it is possible to assume that the Microsoft Windows Locker can be used for different purposes depending on the hacker strategy.

One of the possible scenarios is that it can be a first-stage infection component capable of serving as a distraction or carrier for other malware. In other cases it can be the sole threat that is set to infect the victim. Depending on the configuration it can contain the following modules which can be executed automatically via scripts or manually when the hackers send the respective command:

  • Trojan Function ‒ The hackers can use this to spy on the users in real time. Trojan components can be used to record keystrokes and any mouse movement as well.
  • Data Theft ‒ Microsoft Windows Locker can be used to hijack files from the victim computer before they are processed by ransomware components if such are part of the payload.
  • Settings Modification ‒ The Microsoft Windows Locker can contain code that is able to change important settings on the compromised machines. This includes the registry, operating system values and user settings. As a result the victims may experience performance issues, software failure and boot up problems.
  • Additional Malware Delivery ‒ Microsoft Windows Locker is able to install different viruses on the compromised computers.

Once all preliminary checks have complete the Microsoft Windows Locker is institutioned on the victim machine. It shows a tech support scam message and prohibits any ordinary interaction with the computer. The message is designed to appear as a generic Windows warning. The virus is composed of a several step screen, the first of which shows a fake tech support phone number on the top followed by the Microsoft Windows logo imposed. Next a series of boxes are shown: Region/MAC Address/ Computer Name/ Operating System.

Microsoft Windows Locker image

When the victims press the button they will be shown the second screen of the Microsoft Windows Locker shows a social engineering message. It reads the following:

Product Key

Please enter product key

Windows Defender prevented an unrecognized and malicious software on your computer. Please enter your windows product key. Your product key should be on the box that the windows DVD came in or an email that shows that you bought Windows which you’ll find on your PC or inside the battery compartment of your laptop.

The product key looks similar to this:
PRODUCT KEY: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

Microsoft Windows Locker image

The security analysts discovered that the unlock code is integrated in the base engine itself. As a result the screen can be removed by entering the following into the box: 85080-83080-04260-27040-32290. However this may not work for all computers and will not remove any additional threats that have been delivered.

The currently active Microsoft Windows Locker virus instances are used to facilitate fake tech support schemes. The victims are instructed to call the provided phone number for help with the apparent “issue”. In many cases viruses of this kind are either directly made or operated in close cooperation with the criminals that operate the phone lines.

When the victims call the phones they are walked through a process of inputting standard commands and then coerced into paying a large amount of money for troubleshooting. The fake tech support scams are very convincing and succesful especially with computer users with little knowledge or IT skills. Reported cases showcase that a lot of the phone operators are done from large call centres from countries like India and Pakistan.

The blackmail tricks used by the criminals may include any of the following:

  • Impersonation of Microsoft Staff ‒ The phone operators attempt to use social engineering tricks into making the victims believe that they are talking to Microsoft support engineers or a specialized “recovery team”.
  • Commands Entry ‒ The criminals usually instruct the victims into entering commands into the command prompt or PowerShell console. The output of ordinary commands like “ping”, “netstat” and “tasklist” is reported to them to be a “virus check”.
  • Remote Access ‒ The operators can manipulate the victims into installing software for remote access into their computers. This essentially gives the criminals access to the machines without resorting to Trojan components.
  • Additional Malware Delivery ‒ By making the victims input commands on their computers they may download other threats.
  • We recommend that all users abstain from communicating with the hackers and use our full Microsoft Windows Locker removal guide below to recover their data and delete the active infections.

    Remove Microsoft Windows Locker and Restore PC

    WARNING! Manual removal of the Microsoft Windows Locker requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removing important data accidentally can lead to permanent system damage. If you don’t feel comfortable with manual instructions, download a powerful anti-malware tool that will scan your system for malware and clean it safely for you.

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    Microsoft Windows Locker – Manual Removal Steps

    Start the PC in Safe Mode with Network

    This will isolate all files and objects created by the ransomware so they will be removed efficiently. The steps bellow are applicable to all Windows versions.

    1. Hit the WIN Key + R

    2. A Run window will appear. In it, write msconfig and then press Enter

    3. A Configuration box shall appear. In it Choose the tab named Boot

    4. Mark Safe Boot option and then go to Network under it to tick it too

    5. Apply -> OK

    Remove Microsoft Windows Locker from Windows

    Here’s a way to remove the program. This method will work regardless if you’re on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP. Simply selecting the program and pressing delete won’t work, as it’ll leave a lot of small files. That’s bad because these leftovers can linger on and cause all sorts of problems. The best way to delete a program is to uninstall it. Here’s how you can do that:

    1. Hold the “Windows” button (It’s between CTRL and Alt on most keyboards) and press “R”. You’ll see a pop-up window.

run-window-windows

2. In the textbox, type “appwiz.cpl”, then press“ Enter ”.

appwiz-cpl-command-run-windows

3. The “Programs and features” menu should now appear. It’s a list of all the programs installed on the PC. Here you can find the program, select it, and press “Uninstall“.

uninstall-malicious-software-control-panel-programs-features-windows

Remove Microsoft Windows Locker Virus From Your Browser

Before resetting your browser’s settings, you should know that this action will wipe out all your recorded usernames, passwords, and other types of data. Make sure to save them in some way.

Removal guide for Mozilla Firefox Removal guide for Google Chrome Removal guide for Internet Explorer

    1. Start Mozilla Firefox. In the upper right corner, click on the Open menu icon and select “Add-ons“.
    add-ons-mozilla-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    2. Inside the Add-ons Manager select “Extensions“. Search the list of extensions for suspicious entries. If you find any, select them and click “Remove“.
    remove-suspicious-extensions-mozilla-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    3. Click again on the Open menu icon, then click “Options“.
    options-mozilla-firefox-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    4. In the Options window, under “General” tab, click “Restore to Default“.
    restore-to-default-settings-mozilla-firefox-removal-guide-browser-hijacker

    5. Select “Search” in the left menu, mark the unknown search engine and press “Remove”.
    search-remove-unknown-search-engine-mozilla-firefox-removal-guide-browser-hijacker

    1. Start Google Chrome. On the upper-right corner, there a “Customize and Control” menu icon. Click on it, then click on “Settings“.

    settings-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    2. Click “Extensions” in the left menu. Then click on the trash bin icon to remove the suspicious extension.
    delete-suspicious-extension-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    3. Again in the left menu, under Chrome, Click on “Settings“. Go under “On Startup” and set a new page.
    set-new-page-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    4. Afterward, scroll down to “Search“, click on “Manage search engines“.
    manage-search-engines-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    5. In the default search settings list, find the unknown search engine and click on “X“. Then select your search engine of choice and click “Make default“. When you are ready click “Done” button in the right bottom corner.

1. Start Internet Explorer. Go to the “Tools” menu and click on “Manage add-ons“.
manage-add-ons-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker-bestsecuritysearch

2. In the “Manage add-ons” window, bellow “Add-on Types“, select “Toolbars and Extensions“. If you see a suspicious toolbar, select it and click “Remove“.
remove-suspicious-toolbars--internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

3. Then again in the “Manage Add-ons” window, in “Add-on Types“, Select “Search Providers“. Chose a search engine and click “Set as default“. Select the unknown search engine and click “Remove and Close”.
search-providers-set-engine-delete-suspicious-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

4. Open the Tools menu, select “Internet Options”.
internet-options-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

5. In the “General” tab, in “Home page”, enter your preferred page. Click “Apply” and “OK”.
enter-preferred-homepage-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

Repair Windows Registry

1. Again type simultaneously the WIN Key + R key combination

2. In the box, write regedit and hit Enter

3. Type the CTRL+ F and then write the malicious name in the search type field to locate the malicious executable

4. In case you have discovered registry keys and values related to the name, you should delete them, but be careful not to delete legitimate keys

Click for more information about Windows Registry and further repair help

Preventive Security Measures

  • Enable and properly configure your Firewall.
  • Install and maintain reliable anti-malware software.
  • Secure your web browser.
  • Check regularly for available software updates and apply them.
  • Disable macros in Office documents.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe.
  • Backup regularly your data.
  • Author : Martin Beltov

    Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.


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