The increase in ransomware attacks over the past few years shows no signs of abating, with cybercriminals continuing to develop new methods of extorting businesses and consumers.
We are used to hackers’ demands for payment in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or threats to release compromising names or even photos in exchange for release of data. Last month, researchers at MalwareHunterTeam discovered a new form of malware.
Once infected with the malware, a user’s machine displays a message that “Your computer has been locked. After we reply, you must send at least 10 nude pictures of you. After that we will have to verify that the nudes belong to you.”
The message is displayed over a tiled, smiling image of the popular fictional children’s character Thomas the Tank Engine. Oddly, the malware plays background music which matches the theme from the HBO television series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Fortunately, the ransomware does not appear to actually encrypt files, and instead operates as a screenlocker. Thus, the malware may be intended as a prank. But it is another example how consumers and business need to remain vigilant to protect themselves against cyber-blackmail threats, which continue to multiply and become more novel and sophisticated.