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Watchout: COVID-19 Malware Can Wipe Your PC

Mac Slavo
April 2nd, 2020
SHTFplan.com
Comments (2)

Some malware authors have developed malware that destroys infected systems, either by wiping files or rewriting a computer’s master boot record (MBR). With help from the infosec community, ZDNet has identified at least five malware strains, some distributed in the wild, while others appear to have been created only as tests or jokes.

Rather than using the coronavirus as a means for more power (politicians) or financial gain, this malware appears to be simply destructive.

Of the four malware samples found by security researchers this past month, the most advanced were the two samples that rewrote MBR sectors.

Some advanced technical knowledge was needed to create these strains as tinkering with a master boot record is no easy feat and could easily result in systems that didn’t boot at all.

The first of the MBR-rewriters was discovered by a security researcher that goes by the name of MalwareHunterTeam, and detailed in a report from SonicWall this week. Using the name of COVID-19.exe, this malware infects a computer and has two infection stages. –ZDNet

Here’s what you will want to watch for:

In the first phase, it just shows an annoying window that users can’t close because the malware has also disabled the Windows Task Manager.

While users attempt to deal with this window, the malware is silently rewriting the computer’s master boot record behind their back. It then restarts the PC, and the new MBR kicks in, blocking users into a pre-boot screen.

Users can eventually regain access to their computers, but they’ll need special apps that can be used to recover and rebuild the MBR to a working state.

mbr-msg.png
Image: SonicWall

There is another coronavirus-themed malware strain that re-wrote the MBR and it is a far more convoluted malware operation.

The malware’s primary function was to steal passwords from an infected host and then mimic ransomware to trick the user and mask its real purpose.

However, it wasn’t ransomware either. It only posed as one. Once the data-stealing operations ended, the malware entered into a phase where it rewrote the MBR, and blocked users into a pre-boot message, preventing access to their PCs. With users seeing ransom notes and then not being able to access their PCs, the last thing users would thing to do is to check if someone exfiltrated passwords from their apps.

coronavirus-rw.png
Image: Bleeping Computer

According to analysis from SentinelOne security researcher Vitali Kremez and Bleeping Computer, the malware also contained code to wipe files on the user’s systems, but this didn’t appear to be active in the version they analyzed.

Norton anti-virus has offered tops to help keep your PC safe from these and other destructive problems. If you can, do a scan of your computer to make sure your anti-virus software is catching all the problems.

Please read the entire article by ZDNet by clicking here.

 

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Author: Mac Slavo
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Date: April 2nd, 2020
Website: www.SHTFplan.com

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2 Comments...

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  1. You can be very careful what you click on.
    You can back up all data and reinstall if hit.
    You can switch to Linux.
    You can pay Norton Security, for no Security at all.

  2. Mr_Yesterday says:

    Norton, AVG, and so many like them, complete failures in the day of zero point infection approaches. They merely load up your registry with dummy entries, hoping to land a match. It’s not the same as day 1 zero point recognition.

    Use malwarebytes, S&D, a clever assimilation of manual permissions, process allowances, and firewall settings, as well as shutting down nearly every possible 10ware function to the point your PC only does what you need and want it to do. Run disc clean admin and wipe everything but your backups out. Use S&D immunization to detect residual threads and work them until they are conquered. If in doubt, hard start, degauss hard reset by holding the power button, thusly purging temporary chip memory and sata directives in temporary memory.

    Then start it all over, check your tokens, credentials, immunization and manual settings again. Run advanced packet analysis if you need to and check your event logs, log everything if there is a problem w/ manual restart upon failure to log in a bad case. Repeat until vanquished. It’s not rocket science but if you’re relying on 1 stop shop out of the box security, you’re going to fail eventually, probably sooner than later.

    Wish I’d have kept 7 right about now but who needs the headache? Shut down the telemetry instead. There is balance to all things.

    Run in cognito quantum with privacy badter, UBlock and ab+. Toss in some other ones like java and flash block items if you don’t really need open surfing. Absolutely never use google products, toss edge and chrome in the trash can.

    Check your device manager, turn off all wifi capable dongle related devices, turn off your bluetooth all 3 or 4 different ways through all control avenues, remove your wifi card and be sure to purchase a wifi non capable router or put it in a faraday cage instead. Wifi is the enemy of privacy.

    If you’re using mobile devices to surf the internet, you’ve already lost the battle and I can’t help you.

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