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Prank Malware Forces Victims to Play Near-Impossible Game to Unlock Their Own Files

A Korean undergraduate student is scrambling to reverse the effects of malware he created as a joke.

Unlike most ransomware, malware that hijacks a computer in order for a malicious hacker to demand payment for the captive data, “Rensenware” just wants to play with you. The unnamed student’s joke project takes over your computer, demanding that you score more than 200 million points on the hardest difficulty of the 2009 “bullet hell” shooter Undefined Fantastic Object to regain control of the infected PC.

How hard could that be? Well…

The student told Kotaku he created and uploaded Rensenware to GitHub of out boredom. Later, however, he realized that it was doing actual harm. People’s computers were getting infected — including his own. Unable to score high enough to unlock his PC, he swiftly apologized and released a second program to neutralize the first.

With a fix readily available, little if any lasting harm was done. Still, it was freely available on GitHub for several hours, and even a nominally enterprising programmer could use that framework to produce something significantly more dangerous than an exceptionally difficult video game. With any luck, we won’t see a truly malicious sequel based on what amounts to a college prank.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.

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