April 11, 2017
Ransomware has taken a devious new turn with a new campaign that really takes cybercrime to the next level.
A new form called ‘Rensenware’ has been detected that forces users to play through a bizarre video game in order to win back control of their device.
Ransomware is a form of malware that typically locks a user’s device and the files within until a ransom is paid to the criminals.
First detected by Ars Technica, Rensenware appears to offers a rather peculiar way for victims to gain back control of their files.
Instead of paying a ransom, users instead have to reach a high score in a popular Japanese video game.
Namely, ‘players’ have to hit a high score of 200 million points in the anime-themed shooter TH12 – Undefined Fantastic Object on the “Lunatic” difficulty level.
Victims access the game via a link in the pop-up windows that appears when their device gets infected, with the ransomware detecting their progress automatically.
Fortunately, it seems that Rensenware is not a typical criminal operation, but rather a very odd prank.
Once the program was detected and documented on social media, the creator, who goes by the Twitter name Tvple Eraser, apologised for the release.
Saying sorry for the release of what he admitted was “a kind of highly-fatal malware,”, the user admitted that, “I made it for joke, and just laughing with people who like Touhou Project Series.”
“So I distributed source code except compiled binary on the web. However, at the point of the distribution, the tragedy was beginning.”
The apology was also found in an eraser tool released by Tvple Eraser that can be downloaded on the Github hosting site now to get around the malware’s own code.
Ransomware has exploded in popularity in recent years as cyber-criminals look for more ways to infect victims and steal their data.
Recent figures revealed that over half of all British businesses have been targeted by a ransomware attack over the past twelve months.
Hackers often disguise the warning as coming from law enforcement or government agencies, warning the user that they are being suspected of illegal or criminal activity, which often scares them into paying up.