Hackers have spread malicious software that prompts its victims to subscribe to the PewDiePie Youtube channel to regain access to their data.
Pewdiepie, the world’s biggest YouTuber, was recently surpassed in the subscriber’s count by the Indian music label T-Series. However, after the release of the highly controversial video which had a few jabs at the music label as well as a few remarks on Indians, the Youtube celeb regained his top spot.
Called “PewDiePie ransomware”, this virus is supposed to be ransomware which encrypts the user’s data until the victim does what he’s asked for (usually paying a ransom). But, in this case, the ransom is simply Subscribing to PewdiePie.
A more notorious ransomware named PewCrypt surfaced the internet, this ransomware, described by ZDNet as “fully functional,” was coded in Java. Like the majority of ransomware circulating on the web, it encrypted victims’ files and offered to recover them at a later date. Unlike typical ransomware (which usually claims money in exchange for a decryption key) affected users had to wait for Pewdiepie to reach the threshold of 100 million subscribers before they could regain control of their files.
To complicate things, and probably push the victims to subscribe without hanging around, PewCrypt was coded to permanently remove the decryption key if T-Series managed to reach 100 million subscribers before Pewdiepie. Impacted users would then have no way to recover their data, notes ZDNet.
Presented as a joke, PewCrypt had still infected some users, indicates the media. Faced with the prospect of possible trouble with justice, the hacker behind the ransomware has happily backtracked at the end of February.
Last week, finally the teams of Emsisoft (a company specializing in computer security) provided a definitive answer to the victims of PewCrypt by launching their own decryption tool after analyzing the code shared by the creator on Github.
To help the YouTuber to quickly pass the 100 million subscriber mark, fans had, earlier this year, hacked Chromecasts and printers to persuade the victims to subscribe to the Youtubers channel.