PUBG Ransomware is a new type of malware that locks your files unless you play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
A new piece of ransomware locks the files of infected computers until its victims play a round of the popular battle-royale shooter, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).
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The malware, called “PUBG Ransomware”, was first discovered by MalwareHunterTeam and reported by Bleeping Computer. Like other types of ransomware, it works by encrypting a user’s files to make them inaccessible until the user does something that will decrypt them. Unlike other types of ransomware, this doesn’t involve the exchange of money or sexual imagery, just some time with a video game.
“Your files is encrypted [sic] by PUBG Ransomware!” the ransom note reads. “But don’t worry! It is not hard to unlock it. I don’t want money! Just play PUBG 1Hours [sic]!”
As Bleeping Computer notes, the ransomware does indeed lock down your computer, and checks to see if you’re playing PUBG by monitoring a running process related to the game. This lock is lifted after playing the shooter for three minutes, as opposed to the stated hour. The malware is also pretty easy to bypass – because it only looks for the process name, you can get around playing a few moments of PUBG by running any executable called TslGame.exe.
The creators of the malware also include a decryption code within the ransom note itself, which can be typed into the programme to free your files. This goes some way to suggest the malware’s creators aren’t dead set on disrupting lives and national services, and that the ransomware is most likely intended as a joke.
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It’s not the first time a video game has been used as a bargaining chip for malware. In 2017, MalwareHunterTeam unearthed a piece of ransomware that would only unlock its victims’ files if they scored over 0.2 billion in the ‘lunatic’ level of the Japanese game TH12 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object. This transpired to be a joke, and the developers of the malware eventually released a tool to force the game into getting the needed score.
The threat of some time with a multiplayer shooter may not be the most terrifying prospect, but if the lockdown becomes more sophisticated will it force the NHS to install PUBG throughout its infrastructure? Most likely not.
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