Most ransomware, as the name implies, locks down computer files until infected users pay a ransom – sometimes millions of dollars.
A new virus making the rounds just wants people to play “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” an online battle royale game, reports BleepingComputer.
The ransomware, discovered by MalwareHunterTeam, encrypts files and folders on the user’s desktop, then posts a message onscreen that reads, “PUBG RansomwareYour files, images, musics, documents are Encrypted!Your files is encrypted by PUBG Ransomware!but don't worry! It is not hard to unlock it.I don't want money!Just play PUBG 1Hours! Or Restore is [ s2acxx56a2sae5fjh5k2gb5s2e ]”
Users can either input the code or play “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” known as PUBG, for at least three minutes – not the full hour claimed in the message – to decrypt their files, reported ExtremeTech.
While ordering users to play a game to restore their files might seem like a joke, the tactic could have a darker side if ransomware demands people perform seemingly small tasks that open their computers to further infiltration, the blog warns.
“If you’ve surfed the net for any length of time, you’ve probably encountered pop-up ads that insist you need to install a certain plugin or application to view content,” Joel Hruska wrote on the site. “Chain that attack vector to ransomware, and people might willingly compromise their own machines.”
In January, a hospital owned by Hancock Health in Greenfield, Ind., paid a $50,000 ransom in bitcoins to unlock its computers after a ransomware attack, reported The Indianapolis Star. And in May, the WannaCry ransomware virus hit more than 200,000 computers across 150 countries, including the NHS in Great Britain, according to The Sun.
“PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” which debuted in March 2017, is a last-man-standing multiplayer arena shoot-out. Up to 100 players control soldiers airdropped onto one of several maps to forage for weapons, armor and other supplies while fighting it out with each other until only one remains, reported Polygon.
The game hit 30 million sales in February, although the number of active players has fallen, reported PC Gamer.