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Shameless crooks fling Star Trek-themed ransomware at world

Live long and (don't) prosper

By John Leyden, 17 Mar 2017

Audacious cybercriminals have created an Star Trek-themed strain of ransomware.

Hat-tip to Bleeping Computer, which broke the story on the "Kirk" malware, discovered yesterday by Avast malware researcher Jakub Kroustek.

The software disguises itself as the notorious Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) denial of service tool, a utility beloved by Anonymous hacktivists back in the day before everyone realised it revealed IP addresses of users.

Kirk is reckoned to be the first ransomware to utilise Monero rather than BitCoin as the ransom payment of choice. The malware decryptor "Spock" will be supplied to the victim once the payment is made, but at this time the ransomware does not look like it can be decrypted, anti-malware firm Webroot reports.

Right now there are no known victims of the ransomware and there’s no sample of the decryptor, so information regarding it is limited. The decryptor is said to be promised once the ransom is paid, but obviously there are no guarantees and it cannot be decrypted at present without it.

For the first two days, crooks are demanding 50 Monero or roughly $1,072 (£867). The fee doubles every few days if victims fail to cave. If no payment is made by the 31st day, the decryption key gets permanently deleted, according to the ransom note (of which Bleeping Computer obtained several screenshots). ®

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