Pewcrypt Ransomware is the recent menacing feather in the ransomware category, aiming at thousands of systems globally. It grabbed researchers’ attention because of its low detection ratio & the use of Java encryption functions. The consequences include the encryption of critical data followed by a pop-up window asking users to subscribe PewDiePie.
Victims are looking for ways to delete pewcrypt ransomware completely from their system, however AES/RSA encryptions used by the developers to create & manage this ransomware is a hard cookie to crack. Researchers are suggesting the victims to restore the lost data from a backup.
PewDiePie, a top-notch YouTuber Felix, is renowned for his video-game commentary & controversial comments. Yet he was able to retain its crown for being the most subscribed YouTube channel for last five years.
The prolonged & glittering success of PewDiePie was challenged when T-Series, an Indian Production company that gained over 72 million subscribers within months. After a long battle with T-series, PewDiePie held on to its subscriber’s crown with around 40,000 subscribers ahead of T-Series.
This long-drawn war between T-Series & PewDiePie took a strange turn when the researchers discovered pewcrypt ransomware, which is compelling innocent users to subscribe to PewDiePie in order to decrypt their sensitive data.
It is evident that this malicious file encoder program was not created for money extortion purposes. The author of pewcrypt ransomware is expected to be a PewDiePie Enthusiast who is asking the users to subscribe to this channel. Apparently, the anonymous author of this ransomware claims to release the decryptor as soon as YouTuber Felix, PewDiePie surpasses 100 million subscribers.
Pewcrypt Ransomware, a pernicious file encryptor program was picked up by the researchers for analysis in third week of February’19. It grabbed security analysts’ attention for its smart low detection ratio & used of Java for implementing encryption functions.
The analysis revealed that in order to get launched on a PC Pewcrypt Ransomware needs an existing installation of Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on the system. In case JRE is found in a system, Pewcrypt Ransomware initiates “java.security.SecureRandom()” class function that encrypts the data in the targeted system.
Upon encryption, the ransomware appends the targeted files with “.PewCrypt” extension. For example, file “sample.docx” is renamed to “sample.docx.PewCrypt”.
Following the encryption of the files, the ransomware triggers a pop-up message quoting that the data is encrypted by AES-256 Cryptography. In addition to that, the generated decryption key uses RSA-2048 cryptography for its encryption. It indicates that the victim needs two decryption keys in order to retrieve the compromised data.
The pop-up window followed by the files encryption reads as follows:
Most of the ransomware authors hide decryption keys in their malware servers & threaten users to pay a ransom. However, in this case, fraudsters are asking victims to subscribe to PewDiePie & further stated that the decryption tool will be released only after PewDiePie has reached 100 million subscriptions.
Detailed Analysis on ransomware’s threat behavior has revealed that it does not encrypt the files featuring DLL, EXE & JAR Extensions. However, the files encrypted by pewcrypt ransomware include:
The encrypted files are appended with an extension “.PewCrypt” & become inaccessible for the victims. Attempt to access the files follows a pop-up window that displays a comparison between Subscribers count of PewDiePie & T-series.
The message further states that the users’ data & files have been taken hostage by pewcrypt ransomware. It further prompts the users to subscribe PewDiePie & wait till PewDiePie’s subscribers count does not cross 100 Million.
The cybercriminals use various strategies for malware distribution which include –
Targeted Operating System: Windows
Symptoms: User’s files are encrypted. All encrypted files are appended with .PewCrypt extension & a pop-up window asking users to subscribe to a top-notch YouTuber Felix, PewDiePie prompts on the screen. In addition to that, victims are asked to wait until the subscribers count of PewDiePie does not cross 100 Million.
Continue to follow steps 4 & 5 of Method 2 to restore the System Files and settings.
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