Fornite is a popular online game released in 2017 and has gained much popularity since then. The players of the online game are being targeted by ransomware disguising as aimbots in order to improve their aiming abilities.
Reportedly, the game has introduced some kind of ransomware pretending to be hacked for the players to aim more accurately. According to the security research team at Cyren Ltd., the Syrk ransomware is misleading the players pretending to be an ‘aimbot’. This ‘aimbot’ claims to improve the players’ aiming skills and to assist them in locating other players in the game.
For Fortnite, Syrk is using the same code because the same code was used for Hidden Cry. Hidden Cry is open-source ransomware that was available on GitHub at a time.
Ransomware is a kind of malicious software. It is designed to deny access to a computer system or data until the players pay a certain amount of ransom. The Syrk ransomware encrypts the code of the players and threatens to delete files unless a ransom is paid. The disguised Fortnite ransomware will delete some of the files and folders in every two hours if its demand is not fulfilled.
In a SiliconANGLE report, Chris Morales, head of security analytics at cybersecurity firm Vectra AI Inc. said that using malware to demand ransom has become a new trend in the online gaming world.
Combining game malware with ransomware was inevitable… Social engineering through online video games has been going on for some time. It is a large audience to target and an industry that is known to look for shortcuts – Chris Morales, head of security analytics at cybersecurity firm Vectra AI Inc in a SiliconANGLE report.
He also pointed out that the ransomware is pretending to be a hack tool. Therefore it is cheating the players using cheat codes in the game.
Malware posing as a hack tool is novel as it will not be validated by any app store and bypasses the normal security controls. This makes encrypting files using a game hack highly opportunistic and easy to execute. This ransomware is effectively cheating the cheater – SiliconANGLE report.
Alex Guirakhoo, strategic intelligence analyst at Digital Shadows Ltd. referred to the threat imposed on the video game industry and gamers.
A lot of this builds on the wide media attention that popular games receive on social media and sites such as Twitch or YouTube. The more attention a game gets because of a new release or update, the more likely it is that a cybercriminal will be able to successfully distribute malware – Alex Guirakhoo, strategic intelligence analyst at Digital Shadows Ltd.
However, ransomware includes opensource coding. Therefore, the players can easily decrypt targeted files and recover their lost data.
This scamming technique is not the first time for the players of Fortnite. They were previously targeted by a number of malware programs demanding ransoms.