Bitcoin Ransomware Education: SpongeBob 2.0

We have seen multiple versions of Bitcoin ransomware over the past few years. It feels like a new one comes out almost every week, regardless of how successful it is. SpongeBob, the children’s cartoon character, is not something most people would associate with malicious software, but that may soon change. There is now a SpongeBob ransomware in circulation, and it is the second version of this tool.

What Is the Deal With SpongeBob Ransomware 2.0?

The objective of this particular developer was to use a globally recognized brand and turn it into something associated with nefarious software. Dubbing a ransomware strain after the SpongeBob character is distasteful. However, it ensures this malware gains some immediate media attention, including ours. In truth, the ransomware is not well-known for its technical prowess.

We never came across a SpongeBob ransomware 1.0 strain ourselves. It seems there is little information about that particular malware, which goes to show it was not much of a success or never made it to the distribution stage in the first place. Version 2.0 may not fare that much better, as this software leaves a lot to be desired from a technical standpoint. It seems the ransomware itself will not do all that much.

According to various security researchers, SpongeBob Ransomware 2.0 can’t even properly encrypt computer files. We have seen multiple other malware types struggle with this basic feature as well. What is the point in developing ransomware if it cannot encrypt files to demand successful payments from victims? It appears SpongeBob ransomware 2.0 is still in the early development stages, even though it may never be properly distributed at all.

It certainly looks as if SpongeBob ransomware 2.0 took a page out of the book of WannaCry. Its layout looks virtually the same as the popular ransomware strain which caused global havoc not too long ago. There are a few minor differences between SpongeBob ransomware 2.0 and WannaCry, including the color schemes as well as the former’s including a crooked image of SpongeBob himself. It also says that “spongebob is encrypting your files,” which is funny but not entirely accurate as no encryption has taken place whatsoever.

There is still a very large industry for malware and ransomware. Not all projects under development will result in major damage, but it goes to show anyone can take existing content and turn it into something nefarious with relative ease. We can only hope SpongeBob Ransomware 2.0 will not make the rounds anytime soon, since it could upset quite a few fans of the show.