Ransomware changes Windows login credentials

So far, ransomware has mostly been spotted targeting US, Canadian, Australian and European users, but its not limited to hitting citizens of these traditionally prosperous countries and continents.

Symantec researchers have recently managed to get their hands on an unusual piece of ransomware obviously aimed at Chinese Windows users, which instead of threatening with fines and criminal charges simply changes the login credentials of the current user and restarts the system using the newly created credentials.

The victims, not knowing the new login credentials, believe themselves locked out of their computer and are likely to contact the malware creator / extortionist that, helpfully, listed his IM account user ID on the login screen:

When they get in touch, they are instructed to pay 20 Chinese Yuan (some $3.25) in order to receive the password they need to log in.

“This threat is written in Easy Programming Language and is spread mostly through a popular Chinese instant messaging provider,” the researchers warn, but they also share that this particular variant creates always the same password – tan123456789.

The password can be changed at any moment, but luckily there are other ways to gain access to your computer if hijacked by this piece of malware. “Use another administrator account to log into the system and reset the password,” the researchers advise. “If your current account is not a super administrator account, enter safe mode and log in as super administrator and then reset the password.”

Lastly, you can use the Windows recovery disk to reset the password.

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