Tech Law

Teslacrypt virus encrypts video game save files ransoming access for $500 bitcoins


By John McCarthy | Media editor

March 13, 2015 | 3 min read

An internet security company has identified a form of malware which attacks PCs by encrypting the save files of video games - charging gamers a ransom to regain access.

The virus, known as Teslacrypt, has been targeting and encrypting the files of popular games on PCs, with a Wordpress blog found to be distributing the file in secret.

Vadim Kotov, an analyst at Bromium Labs, said: “Gamers may be used to paying to unlock downloadable content in their favourite games, but a new crypto-ransomware variant aims to make gamers pay to unlock what they already own.

“This crypto-ransomware variant has been getting distributed from a compromised web site that was redirecting the visitors to the Angler exploit kit by using a Flash clip.”

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This particular malware has been targeting gamers with Kotov noting it is coded to find the most “file types associated with video games that we have ever seen”.

Afflicted games include titles such as Call of Duty, Fallout 3, Assassin’s Creed, Minecraft and many more. To pay the ransom, gamers are directed to a domain masked using TOR.

Kotov concluded: “The attackers are getting better at incorporating Bitcoin code directly into their projects. Which isn’t a good sign.”

Data corrupted by the virus cannot be fixed; even on the reinstallation of the title stated the analyst. It is unclear how many users have been targeted by the scam.

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