New Anonymous-branded ransomware demands victims pay about $100 or else face the hackivist network’s most popular attack: leaking personal information about the victim online.
The ransomware, discovered by malware researchers at abuse.ch, adds a new twist to the police-themed variety targeting victims for the past two years across Europe, the US and more recently Australia. The police trojan demands payment of a $100 fine usually for fictitious crimes supposedly committed by victims while using their computers.
Like police ransomware that customises messages by using local law enforcement logos, the Anonymous ransomware employs the network’s familiar icon, a V for Vendetta take on the Guy Fawkes mask, and its mantra, “We are legion, We do not forget”.
Instead of playing on victims’ fears about surveillance and the law, this ransomware threatens victims with hacking and “doxing” -- a tactic which hacking groups use to damage their adversaries by leaking personal information about them online.
While it’s impossible to say whether the criminals behind this malware actually have participated in Anonymous activities, the ransom message uncharacteristically refers to itself as “the Anonymous Hackers Group”. On the other hand, it uses familiar phrases such as "Tango Down!", which Anonymous have used after knocking a website offline or breaching a target’s defences.
The message reads:
“Tango Down! Your computer has been hacked by the Anonymous Hackers Group and locked for the moment. All files have been encrypted. You need to pay a ransom of £100 within 24 hours to restore the computer back to normal. If the ransom is not paid on time all the contents of your computer will be deleted and all your personal information such as your name, address, DOB, etc will be published online, after this time has been done the processor and ram and motherboard will be fried. Any attempts to remove this virus will result in the consequences mentioned.”