In 2017, even malware is anime. Anyone affected by the new malware Rensenware, named after the anime-style game Touhou Seirensen (Undefined Fantastic Object), has to score over 200 million points on the game’s “lunatic” level or they won’t be able to access their computer files.
Ransomeware is a malicious brand of malware that holds files hostage until you pay its creator a fee. After it installs, it locks down your computer’s functions. A message usually explains what users have to do to remove it. Victims have lost several million dollars in the process of retrieving files from hackers’ malware, the FBI reports. It’s a super serious problem that, like many things, is really funny when someone makes it anime.
A Korea-based undergraduate student originally developed Rensenware as a joke. It’s a pun on the name Touhou Seirensen, a 2009 Japanese shooting game. Affected users saw an anime sailor girl pop up on their dashboard. “Minamitsu ‘The Captain’ Murasa encrypted your precious data like documents, musics, pictures, and some kinda project files,” she says. “How can I recover my files? That’s easy. You just play TH12 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object and score over 0.2 billion in LUNATIC level. This application will detect TH12 process[es] and score automatically.”
The “lunatic level,” of course, is pretty punishing. An independent malware analyst confirmed to me that the malware works as intended.
“I was bored,” its creator told me over e-mail. The creator fell asleep after releasing the joke onto GitHub, and when he woke up, he learned through Twitter that his malware had spread. “I realized that it [had] become a huge accident and [was] confused,” he said. He’s not sure how many were affected, but added that, in the programming process, he’d accidentally infected himself. When asked whether he could score 0.2 billion himself, the creator said, “Uh, oh…. nope.”
After malware aficionados traced Rensenware to him, he immediately designed software that neutralized Rensenware and uploaded it to GitHub along with an apology. In it, he explained, “I’d like to apologize [to] everyone for making [them] shocked, or annoyed. Ransomeware is definitely kind of highly-fatal malware, but I made it. I made it for [a] joke, and just laughing with people who like Touhou Project Series.”
Let this be a warning to you all: anime was a mistake.
Tip via MalwareHunterTeam