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Hackers are demanding nude photos to unlock files in a new ransomware scheme targeting women

Security firm Emsisoft has released a decryption to circumvent a new ransomware variant that’s demanding explicit photos.

Hackers are demanding nude photos to unlock files in a new ransomware scheme targeting women
[Photo: Courtney Corlew/Unsplash]

Ransomware typically encrypts files and demands payment in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, but security firm Emsisoft reported Wednesday that it had discovered a variant making another sort of demand: explicit photos.

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The malware pops up a message demanding that victims email images of their breasts to a particular address in order to recover their files.

“The variant was likely created as a prank, but it doesn’t make it any less problematic for those who may be hit by it,” Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Callow said in an email to Fast Company.

The malware doesn’t appear to be the first to demand explicit images: In 2017, security firm Kaspersky reported another type of ransomware that demanded nude photos in exchange for unlocking access to infected computers. In other cases, scammers on dating apps have requested nude photos from would-be suitors, then held them for ransom by threatening to leak the photos.

Emsisoft released a free decryption tool that can decipher files ensnared by the new ransomware, so victims shouldn’t need to pay any kind of ransom to access their files.

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About the author

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist living in New Orleans.

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