Hit by coronavirus tracker ransomware? Here's how to unlock your phone for free

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As if the continuing spread of coronavirus was not enough to contend with, cybercriminals have been taking advantage of the concern and panic to try to extract money from people. Just a couple of days ago, we wrote about the CovidLock ransomware – a malicious Android app pretending to be a coronavirus tracker.

The ransomware was discovered by DomainTools, and the researchers at the security firm promised they would release the decryption key free of charge as soon as they has managed to reverse engineer CovidLock. And now the decryption key has been released

DomainTools was successful in its attempt to reverse engineer the ransomware and found that a decryption key was hardcoded in CovidLock. The group says that it is not clear whether or not this is the one and only decryption key that works, or if it is the one that is sent out to victim who agree to pay the ransom, but the point is that it works.

Security firm EMET tweeted about the discovery, sharing the good news with Twitter users:

Data decryption for free

Since our original story, DomainTools has now published a technical write-up about the CovidLock ransomware. In it, the company notes that – having monitored the relevant Bitcoin wallet -- there is currently no indication that anyone has paid the ransom, so the cybercriminals behind the tool have failed to profit.

So, as both DomainTools and EMET note, if you were unlucky enough to fall victim to the CovidLock ransomware, the code you need to enter is 4865083501. Type in these digits and you should find that your data is unlocked and available to you without the need for you to part with a $100 Bitcoin payment.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

You can find her on Twitter and Mastodon.