New Ransomware Forces Victims to Take Online Surveys

Ransomware is computer malware that installs covertly on a victim’s computer, executes a cryptovirology attack that adversely affects it, and demands a ransompayment to decrypt it or not publish it. Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it.

While initially popular in Russia, the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally; in June 2013, security software vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected over 250,000 unique samples of ransomware in the first quarter of 2013, more than double the number it had obtained in the first quarter of 2012.

A new report discovered that someone is making particularly annoying new type of ransomware. Instead of asking infected users for money, it forces them to fill out tedious online surveys.

This new ransomware strain is apparently still in development, and hasn’t infected anyone yet, according to the blog Bleeping Computer, which first wrote about the ransomware on Thursday, after it was discovered by GData security researcher Karsten Hahn.

This new ransomware strain is apparently still in development, and hasn’t infected anyone yet, according to the blog Bleeping Computer, which first wrote about the ransomware on Thursday, after it was discovered by GData security researcher Karsten Hahn.

Bleeping Computer’s Lawrence Abrams theorizes that eventually, when and if the ransomware ever gets released, the text file will “contain a code that will be used to unlock and remove the lock screen.”

Hahn, the researcher who uncovered it, said that rather than a real ransomware, this is more of a “survey locker,” given that it doesn’t appear to actually lock or encrypt your files.

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