The HelloKitty Ransomware is a file-locking Trojan that uses encryption to keep media content from opening. The HelloKitty Ransomware campaign targets business entities such as noteworthy game developers, although data encryption can impact home users just as easily. Users should back their work up for recovery without giving in to a ransom demand and let an appropriate security solution remove the HelloKitty Ransomware.
Developer Hackers Diversify Their Investments
Since more businesses and users are becoming aware of the necessity of a robust data backup, threat actors who block files and sell the unlocking solution to the victims search for new monetizing opportunities. In the HelloKitty Ransomware's case, the 'backup plan' for crime is clear: selling data or leaking it as an additional threat for encouraging the ransom's payment. This Black Hat business strategy is at play against no lesser entity than CD Projekt, the famous developer of the Witcher game series.
This Week In Malware Episode 42 Part 2: HelloKitty Ransomware Threatens to Leak Source Code of 'Cyberpunk 2077' Video Game
It's possible that the tumult in the gaming industry following the mixed reception of CD Projekt's latest release, Cyberpunk 2077, is an instigating factor in the attack. In a text ransom note that the Trojan drops, the HelloKitty Ransomware's threat actor asserts that the developer's reputation will suffer further if the ransom goes unpaid and the breached server's collected data leaks to the public. The HelloKitty Ransomware's campaign keeps to its word, with a confirmed case of source code leaking after the attack as 'punishment' for CD Projekt's not paying the unspecified ransom.
While malware researchers still require evidence of the infection and installation exploits at work, most businesses place themselves at risk through well-established vulnerabilities. These issues include:
- Using weak passwords that attackers can brute-force
- Having out-of-date software with publicly-known vulnerabilities, especially
- Employees opening disguised e-mail attachments (such as invoices or industry articles) with drive-by-download macros and other exploits
The consequences of infection include both the HelloKitty Ransomware's locking of files by encryption and the threat actor's en masse theft of data.
Quieting Kittens with Fierce Growls
Malware researchers haven't ascertained whether the data-collecting aspect of the HelloKitty Ransomware's campaign is from built-in features or the attacker's pilfering servers through a backdoor manually. In either case, users should assume that passwords and related credentials are compromised after any HelloKitty Ransomware infection. The HelloKitty Ransomware is Windows-based and poses an equal threat to home users as it does to businesses, as far as its file-blocking encryption concerns itself.
Users should have backups of their files for recovering any blocked content (which is discernible by the 'encrypted' extension that the HelloKitty Ransomware uses). However, the consequences of the HelloKitty Ransomware attacks also include other dangers that aren't reversible so easily. Windows users can prevent possible attacks by updating their software, using secure passwords, having safe browser settings, and avoiding interacting with files such as e-mail-attached documents carelessly.
While its campaign offers more publicity opportunities than most of them, the HelloKitty Ransomware isn't exceptionally sophisticated from an anti-detection perspective. Most anti-malware programs will remove the HelloKitty Ransomware, and malware experts highly recommend these products for doing so.
Even big-name developers with legendary reputations aren't invulnerable to a file-locking Trojan. A storied history can paint a bigger target on one's back, with Trojans like the HelloKitty Ransomware as the piercing arrows.