Ransomware is an unfortunate reality of the modern digital age, and you may think you’ve seen it all after major malware attacks like NotPetya and Maze. However, NitroRansomware has a new trick up its sleeve. Rather than asking victims to pay the ransom with cryptocurrency, it asks for a Discord gift card.
You might be thinking that Discord is a free chat platform, and you’re right. Casual Discord users might not even know that there is a paid version of the service. For $9.99 per month, you can get Discord Nitro, which includes perks such as HD video streaming, more emoji, and larger file uploads. When buying Nitro, you can choose to apply it to your account or get a gift link. That’s what the latest ransomware is after.
The malware reportedly makes its way onto systems by pretending to be a tool that allows the user to generate free Nitro gift codes, according to BleepingComputer. So, anyone who installs it will get very much the opposite of what they wanted. As with all other forms of ransomware, NitroRansomware sets up shop and encrypts the documents folder, appending a .givemenitro extension to the scrambled files. It also changes the user’s wallpaper to an angry Discord logo (above) before popping up the demand for payment.
Victims of the ransomware are given three hours in which to buy a Nitro code and enter it in the box. When a valid code is added, the malware decrypts the files with an embedded key. That key is stored inside the EXE, making it possible to salvage your files without paying the price — it’s not the most sophisticated malware in the world. However, it does try to steal your data because why not?
Upon installation, NitroRansomware searches for the user’s Discord installation directory and copies the login tokens. This could allow the malware maker to log into the service as that user, potentially using that to infect more people. It also pokes around in Google Chrome, Brave Browser, and Yandex Browser directories for anything juicy. Anyone who believes they’ve been hit by NitroRansomware should change their Discord login and any other accounts that might have been compromised via the browser hack.
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