Cyber threats are becoming more and more creative – we have seen malware that targets corporate IT systems and smart phone users and now gamers are being made the victims. This new threat comes in the form of ransomware that is designed to lock down various game files until the user hands over a ransom either in bitcoin or via PayPal.
The malware is called TeslaCrypt and is a variant of crypto-ransomware that has been created to look for the file extensions related to popular video games and then put those under lock and key until the unfortunate user pays the ransom. Affected games include Resident Evil 4, Call of Duty, StarCraft II, Warcraft III, Half-Life 2, Dragon Age: Origins.
Last reports indicated that the ransom was currently set at $500 in Bitcoin or $1,000 in PayPal My Cash cards. This malware comes with a time limit too – pay up within three days or all that precious data is deleted and users have to start again with the games.
The malware is being spread via compromised WordPress website, which uses a hidden malicious Flash clip to redirect users – it only affects Internet Explorer (up to IE 11) and Opera browsers. When a machine has been compromised a warning screen appears headed ‘Your personal files are encrypted!’ Victims then have to install Tor in order to be able to make the required payment anonymously.
If you’re a gaming fan and concerned about this threat then security experts are advising people to back up to external drives and keep those unplugged when not in use. They’re also recommending that people don’t pay the ransom but of course that depends on how valuable your gaming data is to you.