Your computer is locked (Dec 2016 update) - Recovery Instructions Included

Your computer is locked Removal Guide

What is Your computer is locked?

“Your computer is locked” virus is a scam-based threat that aims to get users' money

Your computer is locked

“Your computer is locked” virus is ransomware which can also be called a “screenlocker” because it rather locks your computer screen rather than encodes files. Though it imitates ransomware and appends a certain extension, however, specialists do not regard it as a highly serious threat in comparison to a notorious cryptovirus [1].

In any case, initiate the malware removal. What is more, this infection generates fake pop-up notifications warning about illegal activities that were supposedly noticed on the victim’s PC. This relatively old cyber infection has recently “reborn” as a “Your computer is locked !” virus and lets us focus on its predecessor and where it all started first.

The malware was created to attack poorly protected systems and generate alert notifications deceiving the infected users into thinking that they are breaking some laws. Since the virus creators choose to deliver these messages under the name of Great Britain’s police, it is likely that the infection is primarily targeted towards computer users in the United Kingdom. Generally, UK citizens remain to be a popular target for gearheads[2].

Here is how an extract from this fake alert looks like:

Your computer is locked
Your actions over the computer are recorded. If you have used a camera, videos and photos were seized as evidence
Your IP address: XXXXX
Your identity will be established by IP-address and the appropirate domain.
If you use an IP-camera photos and videos saved to establish your identity.
The Police of Great Britain have found out that you visited the site with child pornography. In this regard temparary files on your PC contaning pornographic material have been found. These actions are illegal.
(…)

The messages are usually displayed on a lock screen which obstructs the user from accessing his/her desktop, running any applications, or browsing the web. Besides, the scammers demand 50 pounds for the computer’s “unlocking” which sounds very familiar to the blackmailing strategies that the ransomware developers use for money extortion [3].

Name Your computer is locked virus
Type Locker, ransomware
File extension .encrypted
Transfer system used Ukash
Distribution Files from malicious emails or links, other malware
Removal Running the anti-malware tool can find all pieces of the virus and remove them fully
Repair You should also rely on ReimageIntego that can find and fix corrupted files and functions

In reality, police and other governmental organizations have never been using such online methods when approaching potential criminals or trying to get them to respond to their actions, especially by transferring fines through anonymous platforms such as Ukash.

The new “Your computer is locked !” version has apparently undergone some alterations, though the system hijack starts the same — the virus locks the computer screen and displays a notification informing about what happened to the device. Nevertheless, the scammers now drop the Great Britain police aside and pretend to be the Microsoft technicians who are ready to help fix your badly infected PC.

The computer “Unlock” code submission box at the bottom of the lock screen again points out similarities between this malware and ransomware infections which use similar methods to provide the user with a data decryption key [4]. The difference is that to obtain the computer unlocking key, the victim has to contact the “support technicians” and purchase this key by phone.

Fortunately, the experts have found that the lock screen can be disabled by typing 01548764GHEZG784 into the computer unlock code box. It is interesting that after you submit this code another screen will pop up, in which the scammers themselves will continue to provide “Your computer is locked” removal instructions.

Nevertheless, you never know if the hackers are not just playing with you and trying to make you mess up your computer even more. Thus, you should always trust malware removal tasks to antivirus software, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes for instance, instead of trying to solve them yourself.

Update: the cyber threat imitates ransomware

The ransomware business has attracted many brilliant minds. Easy money, even though acquired in an illegal way, did not ward off some users from indulging in these activities. Likewise, after Your computer is locked hijack is complete, it attempts to persuade users that their personal data has been encrypted and the only way to decrypt them is to pay the ransom in bitcoins.

Originally, the variation was designed as a crypto-malware that encodes to encode files, this virus contains significant flaws which prevent the infection from completing its misdeed. The virus was designed to encrypt the files and then append .encrypted extension. Luckily, the infection does not encode any files.

Nonetheless, it does not mean that you should ignore this cyber infection. Eliminate Your computer is locked screenlocker. In addition, you should follow some precautions as well. Carefully reviewing spam emails or avoiding suspicious domains is not enough to escape malware. Safe access to the Internet is of key importance as well [5].

The system gets infected with this malware silently

As the expert investigation shows, the malware seems to be distributed with the help of a Trojan horse. This malware distributor can easily attack poorly protected systems and then download malicious files without any user's knowledge. As a result, it blocks the system down and lets the locker virus in.

As soon as it gets inside, the virus may begin preparing for the system take-over which usually happens during the next system reboot. In order to prevent such viruses, you should avoid illegal websites and fake notifications offering to update some software for free. Typically, they are hacked by cybercriminals and used to spread such screen-locking viruses like this one. If you want to fix your PC, you have to unblock the system first and then remove the virus from it.

Efficient “Your computer is locked” elimination

When trying to get rid of the “Your computer is locked” virus, the biggest problem is unblocking the system. Fortunately, our experts provide a couple of useful screen lock removal tips next to the virus removal instructions below. We also recommend SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes for the thorough system scan.

After you regain access to your home screen, run the system scan with antivirus software immediately. If you do not own a utility like this, make sure you obtain it, be it free or paid. It is your only option to remove “Your computer is locked” from your computer safely and entirely. Do not forget about virus damage that ReimageIntego can find and fix.

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Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of Your computer is locked. Follow these steps

Important steps to take before you begin malware removal

File encryption and ransomware infection are two independent processes (although the latter would not be possible without the former). However, it is important to understand that malware performs various changes within a Windows operating system, fundamentally changing the way it works.

IMPORTANT for those without backups! → 
If you attempt to use security or recovery software immediately, you might permanently damage your files, and even a working decryptor then would not be able to save them.

Before you proceed with the removal instructions below, you should copy the encrypted files onto a separate medium, such as USB flash drive or SSD, and then disconnect them from your computer. Encrypted data does not hold any malicious code, so it is safe to transfer to other devices.

The instructions below might initially seem overwhelming and complicated, but they are not difficult to understand as long as you follow each step in the appropriate order. This comprehensive free guide will help you to handle the malware removal and data recovery process correctly.

If you have any questions, comments, or are having troubles with following the instructions, please do not hesitate to contact us via the Ask Us section.

IMPORTANT! →
It is vital to eliminate malware infection from the computer fully before starting the data recovery process, otherwise ransomware might re-encrypt retrieved files from backups repeatedly.

Scan your system with anti-malware

If you are a victim of ransomware, you should employ anti-malware software for its removal. Some ransomware can self-destruct after the file encryption process is finished. Even in such cases, malware might leave various data-stealing modules or could operate in conjunction with other malicious programs on your device. 

SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes can detect and eliminate all ransomware-related files, additional modules, along with other viruses that could be hiding on your system. The security software is really easy to use and does not require any prior IT knowledge to succeed in the malware removal process.

Repair damaged system components

Once a computer is infected with malware, its system is changed to operate differently. For example, an infection can alter the Windows registry database, damage vital bootup and other sections, delete or corrupt DLL files, etc. Once a system file is damaged by malware, antivirus software is not capable of doing anything about it, leaving it just the way it is. Consequently, users might experience performance, stability, and usability issues, to the point where a full Windows reinstall is required.

Therefore, we highly recommend using a one-of-a-kind, patented technology of ReimageIntego repair. Not only can it fix virus damage after the infection, but it is also capable of removing malware that has already broken into the system thanks to several engines used by the program. Besides, the application is also capable of fixing various Windows-related issues that are not caused by malware infections, for example, Blue Screen errors, freezes, registry errors, damaged DLLs, etc.

  • Download the application by clicking on the link above
  • Click on the ReimageRepair.exe
    Reimage download
  • If User Account Control (UAC) shows up, select Yes
  • Press Install and wait till the program finishes the installation process Reimage installation
  • The analysis of your machine will begin immediately Reimage scan
  • Once complete, check the results – they will be listed in the Summary
  • You can now click on each of the issues and fix them manually
  • If you see many problems that you find difficult to fix, we recommend you purchase the license and fix them automatically. Reimage results

By employing ReimageIntego, you would not have to worry about future computer issues, as most of them could be fixed quickly by performing a full system scan at any time. Most importantly, you could avoid the tedious process of Windows reinstallation in case things go very wrong due to one reason or another.

Restore files using data recovery software

Since many users do not prepare proper data backups prior to being attacked by ransomware, they might often lose access to their files permanently. Paying criminals is also very risky, as they might not fulfill the promises and never send back the required decryption tool.

While this might sound terrible, not all is lost – data recovery software might be able to help you in some situations (it highly depends on the encryption algorithm used, whether ransomware managed to complete the programmed tasks, etc.). Since there are thousands of different ransomware strains, it is immediately impossible to tell whether third-party software will work for you.

Therefore, we suggest trying regardless of which ransomware attacked your computer. Before you begin, several pointers are important while dealing with this situation:

  • Since the encrypted data on your computer might permanently be damaged by security or data recovery software, you should first make backups of it – use a USB flash drive or another storage.
  • Only attempt to recover your files using this method after you perform a scan with anti-malware software.

Install data recovery software

  1. Download Data Recovery Pro.
  2. Double-click the installer to launch it.
    Launch installer
  3. Follow on-screen instructions to install the software. Install program
  4. As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
  5. Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from. Select what to recover
  6. Press Next.
  7. At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned. Select Deep scan
  8. Press Scan and wait till it is complete. Scan
  9. You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
  10. Press Recover to retrieve your files. Recover files

Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future

One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.

Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:

  • Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
  • Use cloud storage services.

The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.

Using Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here's how to setup backups for OneDrive:

  1. Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
  2. Select Help & Settings > Settings.
    Go to OneDrive settings
  3. If you don't see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.
    Add OneDrive account
  4. Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
    Manage backup
  5. Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
  6. Press Start backup.
    Pick which folders to sync

After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).

Using Google Drive

Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.

You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.

  1. Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.
    Install Google Drive app
  2. Wait a few seconds for it to be installed. Complete installation
  3. Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.
    Google Drive Sign in
  4. Click Get Started. Backup and sync
  5. Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password. Enter email/phone
  6. Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
  7. Once done, pick Next. Choose what to sync
  8. Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
  9. Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Important! →
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.

Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking

Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment. 

Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
    Settings
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
    Reboot
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes

Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
    Startup

Step 4. Delete virus files

Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Downloads
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Your computer is locked and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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