It appears cryptocurrency is not the only item in high demand by ransomware developers. Although most types of malware ask victims to pay in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, a new strain takes an entirely different route. R4bb0l0ck, as this type of ransomware is known, demands in-game currency and special account privileges for an online game. This is a rather remarkable turn of events, that much is evident.

R4bb0l0ck Is An Entirely Different type of Ransomware

In the world of nefarious software, it is not hard to see why criminals feel Bitcoin is the answer to their prayers. Cryptocurrency is often labeled as “anonymous” despite Bitcoin clearly lacking anonymity traits. Then again, it is a pseudonymous payment solution which has its advantages over bank wires and other types of payments. Not every ransomware developer sees things that way, though.

A new Dutch type of malware is making the rounds, although it will not be as successful as WannaCry, for example. This is mainly due to the developer demanding a ransom in the form of an in-game currency. This currency is not related to a popular online game either, as it seems to be a clone of the infamous Habbo Hotels. Rabbo, as this game is called, lets players create virtual hotels where they can meet new people and interact in a social manner.

Even though the game itself is free to play, there are in-game purchases to advance faster. The R4bb0l0ck ransomware developer aims to achieve additional in-game currency and staff privileges for an account he will provide to the victims. It is unclear if these accounts will be used by the developer himself or sold to others in exchange for real money. It seems this latter option is the more likely outcome, though, as “loaded” in-game accounts are always in high demand.

By choosing these specific requirements to decrypt files, it is evident the ransomware developer will focus a particular group. The ransom note itself is written in Dutch, which means it will be a rather localized distribution campaign as well. It is unclear who will be targeted by this malicious software exactly, although it seems likely the developer will try to only target Rabbo players.

For the time being, it remains unclear how this ransomware is distributed. Moreover, the ransom note does not appear to be written by a native Dutch speaker either. That is not entirely surprising these days, although it could hint at how this malware may be a less professional type of harmful software than we have gotten used to over the past few months.  

It is evident we will see more small-scale ransomware campaigns in the future. For once, there is a strain not demanding a cryptocurrency-based payment, which is rather unusual these days. Demanding a payment in the form of a rather unpopular online game with in-game purchases is rather strange. Then again, if there is money to be made, someone will try to exploit it.

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