ZDNet identified five COVID-19-themed malware strains that can wipe an infected PC's files or rewrite its master boot record (MBR).
When one strain, COVID-19.exe, infects computers, it first displays an irritating window that users cannot close because it disables Windows Task Manager while rewriting the MBR; the malware then restarts the PC, and the new MBR blocks users into a pre-boot screen.
Another malware steals passwords from a compromised host and emulates ransomware to fool the user, while also secretly rewriting the MBR.
The two file-wiping strains were described as "poor wipers" because the techniques they use to delete files on infected PCs are inefficient, error-prone, and time-consuming methods—but they work, which means their release into the wild is dangerous.
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