A new kind of ransomware, created by an undergraduate Korean student, tasks victims with mastering a Japanese shooting game so that they would have the important files on their computer unlocked.
Unfortunately for the creator, he found himself infected with the ransomware that he created, prompting him to release software that will neutralize the malware.
The malware is known as Rensenware, named after the anime game Touhou Seirensen which is also known as Undefined Fantastic Object.
Rensenware operates on the same promise as most ransomware. Once a computer has been infected, all the files in the target device are encrypted to block off access for the user. The hackers then send the victim a message that demands for the payment of a certain amount so that the files will be unlocked.
However, the unique characteristic of Rensenware is that it does not ask for money. Once a computer has been infected with the ransomware, the message that will display states that Minamitsu "The Captain" Murasa has encrypted the computer's precious data, and instead of demanding payment to unlock the files, victims will instead need to score 200 million points on the Lunatic level of Touhou Seirensen.
It is revealed that Rensenware will be able to detect the TH12 processes and the score that the victim will reach, with the message also sending out a warning against any form of cheating.
Why would a Rensenware victim have to resort to cheating? The first reason would be because it is very difficult to track a copy of the game for sale, but it should be easy to blast through the game once a victim finds one.
That, however, is the second reason why Rensenware victims might have to cheat. On the Lunatic level, it is hard, if not impossible, to reach such a score.
Rensenware Creator Gets Infected
The creator of Rensenware, who goes by the username Tvple Eraser, intended for the ransomware to be merely a joke. With no monetary ransom, it will not benefit hackers in any way, and so he decided to upload the malware's code to GitHub.
However, news about the ransomware spread, and it is unclear if there are computers that were infected by the malware. In addition, in the programming process of Rensenware, Tvple Eraser himself got infected.
When asked if he would be able to score 200 million points himself, the student said no. He then created software which would neutralize Rensenware and uploaded the code to GitHub as well, along with an apology for the spread of the ransomware.
The student has since taken down the code of Rensenware, and profusely apologized to the people who may have been harmed or inconvenienced with what he thought would be a simple joke.
The Evolution Of Ransomware
While Rensenware was created as a prank by Tvple Eraser, it reveals the constant evolution of ransomware as different kinds of models are being applied to the malware.
In addition, the propagation of Rensenware also highlights the importance of awareness against malware, as in addition to hackers who are trying to victimize users with legitimate ransomware, there are also some people who may release malware as a joke.