Tech Support scammers are using a free utility called Lock My PC to lock users out of their PCs unless they pay the requested "support" fees.
For years telephone scammers pretending to be from Microsoft, Google, and other companies have been convincing people to let them access their computer to fix a "detected" issue. Once the scammers gain access to the computer, though, they would use the Windows Syskey program to lock the user out of Windows with a password unless they paid for the "support" call but Microsoft have not removed all support for Syskey from the Windows operating system
With Syskey no longer being available, tech support scammers have switched to another product called Lock My PC to lock victims out of Windows.
When installed Lock My PC will require a user to enter a password before they can gain access to Windows. When used to lock a PC, users will see an animated 'Locked' screen when they start their computer.If they press any button on the keyboard, a password prompt dialog would be shown stating "The computer has been locked".
If they press any button on the keyboard, a password prompt dialog would be shown stating "The computer has been locked".
Lock My PC does not encrypt anything and only blocks access to the computer with the password.
Unfortunately, the software also runs in Safe Mode, which makes it difficult to disable without the password or bootable recovery tools.
To get access to a recovery password, at the Lock My PC password prompt enter '999901111' and a numeric recover code will appear under the password field.
Victims can input this code on the Lock My PC recovery page to receive a recovery password that can be entered into the password field to unlock the PC.
Users can then uninstall the Lock My PC program from their computer.