There are quite a few interesting initiatives in the world of malware right now. Every ransomware strain wants to stand out from the others, although it is becoming far more difficult to do so. Gangsta is a ransomware strain which is very unique, to say the least. In fact, it doesn’t even ask for a payment by the look of things, despite properly encrypting files and appending a new file extension.
Gangsta Ransomware Isn’t So “Gangsta” After All
As we have come to expect from different kinds of ransomware these days, the malware is often distributed through the same methods. Gangsta is distributed as a form of an email attachment, although some users have reported getting infected by this malware by downloading pirated software on the Internet. Luckily, it does not appear this malware isn’t much of a threat, as there is no reason to pay the ransom demand whatsoever.
More specifically, Gangsta ransomware has no ransom note to begin with. That is rather uncommon, even though it appears to be more of a scareware rather than anything else. The main objective of Gangsta appears to scare people and teach them a valuable lesson about downloading illegal software or opening attachments from unknown email senders. Then again, it is possible other iterations of this malware will force users to make a payment.
The ransom note deposited by Gangsta is quite interesting. First of all, it is very basic, with just presenting black text on a white background. It also mentions how this ransomware is “made with VB, SO FUCKING WOT!!”. It is unclear what that message is about, even though it is evident the Gangsta developer wants to get a point across. No one knows for sure who this message is directed to though, but further analysis may shed some light on this situation.
Luckily, the ransom note also makes it evident users can decrypt their files relatively easily. All they need to do is head over to the “Decrypt” tab and enter their email address. It seems the Gangsta developers will send the decryption key via email, although that has not been officially confirmed so far. It does hint at the fact Gangsta may not use a command & control server, which is often the downfall of less popular types of malware. At the same time, it removes a central point of failure.
Once again, this is quite an interesting development in the world of ransomware. It is good to see a new variant not asking for a Bitcoin payment, yet that doesn’t mean Gangsta is harmless. It will still successfully encrypt your computer files and append a custom file extension. At this time, it is unclear how long it takes for victims to receive their decryption key. One can rest assured this version of Gangsta is merely a test version, and probably not the finalized version.
All of this goes to show the ransomware industry is still booming right now. Even though Gangsta is not about making money in its current form, it goes to show consumers are still very prone to successful malware attacks. The bigger question is how the situation regarding Gangsta will evolve from here on out. It is certainly possible someone will take this code and turn it into a far more potent threat. For now, decryption will occur free of charge, but that situation may change at any given time.
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