Early last week a new type of ransomware was discovered on the dark web. The name of this new ransomware is Popcorn Time, not to be confused with the popular movie streaming app. What makes this new threat intriguing is that you can recover the locked files 2 ways. One way is the usual, paying the ransom. The other way is to just perform one simple task, pass the ransomware file/link on to two other people. Yes, that is right, if you pass the problem on to two other unsuspecting victims and they pay the ransom you receive the lock for free. Also, there is some code that suggests that if the victim enters in the key code unsuccessfully 4 times files start to deleting.
In the ransom message you receive once Popcorn Time has become active states that the cyber criminals are computer science students from Syria. They state they are doing this because they need money for food, shelter and medicine. It is unclear if this is true but this message might have been scripted to pull at the heart strings of the ransomware victims. The ransom is currently set at 1 Bitcoin, which is valued at approximately eight hundred dollars.
Currently, Popcorn Time has not be released and used by the cyber criminals as the code is incomplete and it is still unclear how long until it is deployed. It does, however, bring up an interesting choice the victim must make. Do you just pay the ransom and unlock your files or do you go down the road of spreading this virus to save a few hundred dollars? Many experts believe that the majority of people will either look for a way to crack to the code on their own or just pay the ransom. However, their will be a set of individuals who will help further spread the virus in hopes the new victims pay the ransom and they would receive the free key. It is still unclear what happens to the original victim and unlocking their files if the people they pass the virus onto does the same and keeps passing the ransomware on. Only time will tell if this ransomware gets finished and released but also if this new option of passing along the virus onto someone else to unlock your files for free is something that cyber criminals will now utilize.