The more weab among us may recognize the above character’s name, and for those who don’t, she goes by Captain Marusa. In this scenario, she’s stolen “your precious files,” and the only way to retrieve them, instead of paying money to the developer of the ransomware, is to play Touhou 12 – Undefined Fantastic Object. Ok, easy enough, except you have to play the game on Lunatic mode and score 200 million points, which, if you’ve not played any of the games before, is incredibly hard (I never got past easy mode personally). As Ars Technica reports,
So we were a bit surprised when word started to trickle out about a new bit of ransomware that doesn’t ask for money. Instead, “Rensenware” forces players to get a high score in a difficult PC shoot-em-up to decrypt their files.
The only way to break the encryption lock, according to the warning, is to “score 0.2 billion in LUNATIC level” on TH12 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object. That’s easier said than done, as this gameplay video of the “bullet hell” style Japanese shooter shows.
The original creator, Tvple Eraser, created the program as a joke, he had no genuine malicious intent with the program, however when he made to unfortunate decision to share the program’s source code, that’s when it became an issue. Tvple has since apologized on Twitter for releasing the program, and has released a second program designed to force the program to believe you’ve already reached the high score. Still, the issue remains, while Tvple has tried to do right, I don’t doubt that modified versions exist and will continue to spread.
A new, “cut” version of the program has replaced the source code on Github since it has exploded, just to continue to show off the joke for those who are interested in the program, and Tvple has promised not to release anything malicious again.