Fatboy is a new type of malware that will cause a lot of debate in the world of finance moving forward. This particular malware is capable of charging victims based on their location. It was only a matter of time until such a tool would be presented to the world, as criminals have tried to come up with new ways to make more money.
Fatboy Turns Ransomware Into A Location-based Cash Cow
Over the past few years, we have seen multiple attempts by criminals to make malware and ransomware more profitable. Infecting more devices is one obvious solution, although that doesn’t necessarily mean victims will be inclined to pay more often. Fatboy is a new tool that charges victims based on their location, which could have some unexpected results.
To be more specific, this new ransomware tool has started to appear on a Russian crimeware forum. It is a new degree of extortion tool that can cause a lot of havoc in the coming years. Rather than relying on specific ransom payments for all victims, decrypting data will cost more depending on where the victim is located.
Should the victim live in a region where living costs are much higher, they will also pay a higher ransom in Bitcoin. That is quite a worrisome development, even though it is a magnificent tool for criminals. They will no longer have to target specific regions to make the biggest profit, as they can just distribute the malware on a global scale and let the results trickle in. For the average consumer and enterprise, this is anything but good news, though.
Some people may wonder how criminals will determine which regions have higher living costs. Research by Recorded Future indicates the criminals base this information on the Big Mac Index. This is a tool created several decades ago to gauge the relationship between international currencies and their current global valuation. This value is determined by comparing the US Big Mac price compared to that specific currency’s Big Mac price. An interesting tool, although not necessarily entirely reliable.
So far, it appears Fatboy was not an overwhelming success. Reports indicate jut over US$5, 000 was earned by criminals using this particular tool. That is a very small amount compared to most other types of ransomware, although it is possible we have only seen the very tip of the iceberg. Now that the tool is actively being peddled on Russian underground forums, it is expected Fatboy will be distributed on a large scale in the future.
When tools like these show up, there is a period of time during which the developer needs to build up trust with other criminals. For now, that seems to be a very slow process, as Fatboy has not received any feedback or endorsements to date. All of this can change in a heartbeat, though. Once Fatboy is making the rounds on a global level, things will become very dire for ransomware victims.
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