Lock My PC fights tech support scammers with free recovery keys

(Image credit: Future)

In order to stop tech support scammers from abusing its software, FSPRO Labs has removed Lock My PC from the public domain and the company is now providing free recovery keys to affected users.

The company offers both a free and a business version of its Lock My PC software which is designed to protect PCs from unauthorized access by creating a lock screen that requires a password to remove. The software also disables hotkeys, CD and DVD systems and the mouse to prevent unauthorized users from finding a workaround. 

Lock My PC used to be widely available for users to download for free but unfortunately scammers took advantage of this offer as well.

Tech support scammers would impersonate well-known companies either over the phone or through phishing emails which would warn potential victims that their PC was infected with a virus and required a clean, update or maintenance. They would then try to gain control of a users' system through remote control software or by abusing the Windows Syskey.exe program, although this is no longer possible after support for Syskey was removed by Microsoft in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Finally the scammers would encrypt the machine, set a password and force victims to pay a fee to have their access restored.

Lock My PC misuse

According to a notice posted on Lock My PC's development page, FSPRO Labs says that there have been “too many reports of Lock My PC misuse” by scammers impersonating tech support teams who install the software remotely and then restrict user access.

To help affected users, the company is no providing a free password recovery feature and the free version of Lock My PC can be unlocked by typing “999901111” in the site's password line and this will produce a numeric recovery code. This code can then be submitted to the software's recovery page to generate a new recovery password that will allow users to unlock their PCs.

FSPRO Labs has also decided to remove Lock My PC from the public domain. Existing customers will still be able to download the software and the business edition is still available though new users will have to apply using a corporate email address.

Via ZDNet

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.