By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
You’ll likely have heard of the game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, also known as “PUBG.” It’s one of those uber popular online battle games where up to 100 people can parachute down on a random island, find weapons, and then fight each other until there’s only one player left standing. Millions of people love this game, but recently, people started to notice something weird…
A group called the Malware Hunter Team noticed players of PUBG started reporting strange issues with their computers. They would receive messages that popped up and said their files had become encrypted with PUBG Ransomware. Basically, this ransomware—effectively a virus that locks up your computer until you pay the hacker’s ransom—was encrypting all of their computer’s files. But the hacker wasn’t requesting bitcoin or some other payment to release them.
The only way you could remove the encryption was to play PUBG for one hour.
Now, you might think this is pretty amusing, and actually kind of a fun ‘punishment’. And currently, we have no idea who the hacker is or the motivation behind the hack. Perhaps it’s just a crazy obsessive PUBG fan who wanted others to experience the game they love so much?
As fun as that sounds, you definitely don’t want to seek out this ransomware in order to trick your friends. No one knows what the deal is here and there hasn’t yet been a deep look into the code. Though it’s likely a joke, most hackers and cybercriminals aren’t out there to mess around. So you should definitely tread with caution.
With PUBG’s recent release of its mobile version, along with its biggest patch yet, people are rushing to Facebook for a sneak peek and to check out the trailers. Just be careful. Facebook can’t monitor everything, and though no one knows for sure, there could be a connection between Facebook and the ransomware.
Even though this “hack” isn’t malicious, it’s still imperative to prevent ransomware. While this case is kind of fun, most ransomware attacks have the potential to financially cripple people—and ransomware attacks are becoming more common due to the difficulty in tracing the perpetrator.
Here are some essential tips to protect your data:
- Don’t open links or attachments you’re not expecting. This includes from senders you know or companies you patronize
- Be judicious about clicking links in social media
- Install an extension on your browser that detects malicious websites
- Use a firewall and security software and keep it updated
- Download Hotspot Shield to protect your devices and data on free, unencrypted WiFi
- Regularly back up data, every day ideally