'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware

Posted: August 8, 2016
Threat Metric
Threat Level: 10/10
Infected PCs 9

'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware Description

The 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware is a Trojan that locks your desktop and asks you to contact a phone number for support on reactivating your version of Windows. Although the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware imitates a real Microsoft alert, it has no legitimate connections to that company or the status of your operating system. Malware experts advocate using standard recovery techniques and anti-malware tools for overcoming this threat's screen-locking function and then removing the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware.

A Software License that's Worth Losing Fast

Just as nature cycles through the seasons, the threat industry often undergoes cyclical shifts in its favored themes and strategies. One theme less-often seen in 2016 is the Windows activation or verification variant of screen-locking Trojan. However, the PC security industry recently confirmed small-scale distribution of the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware, which modernizes its old tactic with additional social engineering techniques.

The 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware seemingly is distributed through illicit downloads, with its original installation file named to resemble a download managing application. Various PC security solutions may identify the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware as being a member of the Ransomlock family, although the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware has no definitive ties to previous threats. Once it restarts the infected PC, the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware loads a screen-locking Windows in imitation of the actual Windows activation screen, claiming that your copy of the OS is expired simultaneously.
The 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware's screen has several differences from a Microsoft-endorsed Windows activation prompt. It asks the user to call a hotline for activation help (most likely for ransoming, although malware experts can't verify any responses from this number). The 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware also includes icons for two well-known remote desktop programs. These programs could be ways to let con artists gain backdoor access to your PC, or simply smokescreens for providing comfort to the victims that a remote entity could reactivate the operating system theoretically.

Restoring an OS that Never Needed Renewing

The 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware's con artists seem to be taking steps towards disseminating misinformation about their campaign that could prevent PC users from identifying the correct recovery solutions. Current Google search results show signs of a 'SEO poisoning,' which exploits keywords to cause a page's ranking to be higher than its content indicates. These results tend to suggest paying the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware's fee or calling its number, rather than correctly identifying the screen as being a symptom of a Trojan infection.

The 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware campaign appears to be isolating itself to American victims, despite using spelling common to UK-style English (along with incorrect punctuation). Even though malware analysts only see small numbers of this threat in deployment, its installer's disguise could enable a seamless transition into broader installation platforms.

Familiarizing yourself with the standards in OS activation screen requests can keep you from mistaking the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware for being a legitimate warning. Avoid the screen-locking properties of this threat by booting into Safe Mode immediately, booting with a remote drive, or inputting the Trojan's hard-coded activation key ('8716098676542789'). Then delete the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware with any anti-malware tool you feel comfortable using.

Hopefully, the 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware's campaign will not prove to be a new trend in threat authors exploiting Google for adding undeserved authenticity to their attacks.

Use SpyHunter to Detect and Remove PC Threats

If you are concerned that malware or PC threats similar to 'Your Windows License has Expired' Ransomware may have infected your computer, we recommend you start an in-depth system scan with SpyHunter. SpyHunter is an advanced malware protection and remediation application that offers subscribers a comprehensive method for protecting PCs from malware, in addition to providing one-on-one technical support service.

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Why can't I open any program including SpyHunter? You may have a malware file running in memory that kills any programs that you try to launch on your PC. Tip: Download SpyHunter from a clean computer, copy it to a USB thumb drive, DVD or CD, then install it on the infected PC and run SpyHunter's malware scanner.

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