Popcorn Time or Et Tu Brute?

By | December 21, 2016
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Popcorn Time or Et Tu Brute?

There’s a new ransomware making the rounds. It’s called “Popcorn Time”. Like all ransomware, it locks your personal files using file encryption and then demands a ransom in order to unlock your files. Unless you pay the ransom — or find the right decrypter – you can’t access your own files. The ransom can be expensive, over $1000 in some cases.

What makes Popcorn Time unique is that it gives you a free key to decrypt your own files if you can dupe two of your friends or associates into downloading Popcorn Time and infecting their computers.. If any two of your friends/associates/victims pay the one bitcoin ransom (about $800 as of today), you get a free decryption key to unlock your files without paying the ransom.

This is kind of like “It pays to betray!”

Here’s how it works: If you are infected with Popcorn Time and you can’t afford the one bitcoin ransom you can share a link to download Popcorn Time to anyone you know in an attempt to infect them. If any two of your victims pay up, the Popcorn Time developers (criminals) give you a key to decrypt your own files and you get off scot free.

This is the first ransomware that reaches down to the basest level and tries to get victims to sell out people that they know. Popcorn Time taps into the eat-or-be-eaten instinct. It’s called Popcorn Time ransomware, but you coulld just as well call it the Et Tu Brute ransomware.

Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy at cybersecurity defense firm SentinelOne says:

“The bad guys are making a lot of money and they’re going to make a lot more money. A certain percentage of those funds are going to go into research and development for them to try new things. The bad guys are innovating.”

Will Popcorn Time “go viral”? We hope not.

5 thoughts on “Popcorn Time or Et Tu Brute?

  1. Les Hawkins

    Any ideas on how the ransome ware can be recognised when using your computer? Does it come in an email or a dpwnload?

    1. infoave Post author

      Ransomware encrypts your personal files (like pictures, documents, music) so you can’t open them unless you pay a ransom. Ransomware is distributed by email links and by trick or hijacked download.

  2. Darlene Anderson

    The most important information is missing. How can we identify it before we are infected? Is it delivered by trick email or when we download some software?

    1. infoave Post author

      Always the same advice. Don’t click links in email if you’re not sure of the sender. Stay away from shady web sites dealing with shady things (cracks for programs, illegal music, illegal movie downloads, pornography,gambling sites, illegal prescription drug sites). Always use good security software. Emsisoft protects users against a wide array of ransomware.

      In short, the prevention is exactly the same as we have been telling our readers for over a decade. Use good common sense. Think before you click. Use top-notch security software.


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