Private and public computer systems across the globe have suffered “ransomware” attacks that lock the computer until the user pays the hacker money, but a new strain of the virus is coercing users to send nude photos instead. The new program, called nRansomware, is reportedly capable of affecting computers with Windows operating systems.
MalwareHunterTeam, an anti-malware research group, first spotted the new software attack on Thursday and posted a screenshot of what a user sees when the malware attacks his or her computer. The computer screen will display a backdrop of tiled pictures of cartoon character Thomas the Tank Engine stacked atop each other with the words “(Expletive) You!” emblazoned above each Thomas.
And the user will see this typed message: “Your computer has been locked. You can only unlock it with the special unlock code,” the message reads. “After we reply, you must send at least 10 nude pictures of you. After that we will have to verify that the nudes belong to you.”
The research group does not have any data yet on how many users have received nRansomware attacks. But several antivirus search engines, including VirusTotal and Hybrid Analysis, have verified that the malware program is a legitimate and malicious threat.
Hackers have used malware in the last few years to access certain female celebrities’ computers or phones and steal their pictures they had saved on the devices. Others have deployed Ransomware to force monetary payments from large numbers of users, a very high-profile example being the WannaCry bug that sabotaged 230,000 computers in more than 150 countries.