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Breaking Bad Inspired Malware Haunts Australia


Hackers are always looking to make people’s lives miserable by introducing different types of malware, spyware and Trojans into their digital devices. Sometimes, they even get physical access to people’s devices and install some sort of software with powerful surveillance capabilities like Mobistealth on them. Now, they have come up with a new type of crypto-ransomware that takes some inspiration from the popular TV series Breaking Bad. This new ransomware has been spotted in Australia and it has been causing a lot of trouble for the users. Analysts at Norton believe that the fans of Breaking Bad are being targeted through social engineering.

“We believe that the crypto-ransomware uses social engineering techniques as a means of infecting victims. The malware arrives through a malicious zip archive, which uses the name of a major courier firm in its file name. This zip archive contains a malicious file called ‘PENALTY.VBS’ which, when executed, downloads the crypto-ransomware onto the victim’s computer. The threat also downloads and opens a legitimate PDF file to trick users into thinking that the initial ZIP archive was not a malicious file.”

If, by any chance, users download the files, they are shown an image featuring the Los Pollos Hermanos logo, which would be familiar to those who have watched Breaking Bad. This image points out that all of the users’ files including videos, documents, photos etc. have been encrypted, and only way to earn them back is by paying $450 AUD. The statement continues as hackers warn that if they don’t get the payment before the given date, then the ransom will increase to $1000 AUD. The email address provided at the end also relates with the show as it reads “the one who knocks.”

When the computer gets infected with this Breaking Bad malware, the screen will only show a tutorial video explaining how to make a payment via Bitcoin. This is done to ensure that the person who got affected would pay the amount without anyone knowing about it. That’s not the only video, as the hackers behind the malware have also attached a YouTube link that takes the victim to a song from the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V.

Norton has revealed that Breaking Bad malware can be a threat to the following files on your PC.

  • .ai
  • .crt, .csv
  • .db, .doc, .docm, .docx, .dotx
  • .gif
  • .jpeg, .jpg
  • .lnk
  • .mp3, .msi
  • .ods, .one, .ost
  • .p12, .pdf, .pem, .pps, .ppsx, .ppt, .pptx, .psd, .pst, .pub
  • .rar, .raw, .rtf
  • .tif, .txt
  • .vsdx
  • .wma
  • .xls, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xml
  • .zip

The malware is pretty powerful, so if you are living in Australia, then it is advised that you use the internet carefully. Don’t click on the links you know nothing about, avoid downloading from any website that seem shady, and don’t open any link that you receive via e-mails. Just by taking some security precautions, you can save yourself a whole lot of trouble.