PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds made its debut last year, it has been one of the most popular multiplayer battle royale games out there. But someone just might be taking their love for the game a little bit too far with a malware program that encrypts your files. Instead of ransoming your personal info or money, the ransomware asks users to play PUBG.

This picture shows a character from PUBG along with the game's title.
Source: hardwaredata.net

Ransomware is a malicious program that works essentially like a computer virus. Instead of destroying your data, the ransomware simply locks your data until you pay whatever ransom the creators have decided to extract from you. For example, WCry ransomware was released last year, it spread rapidly that caused particular grief amongst the hospitals in the UK, that lead hospitals to close and patients turned away. Not all attacks are so malicious.

PUBG ransomware was discovered by Malware Hunter Team via Bleeping Computer, and it’s real. The ransomware does encrypt your data, which includes videos, music, images, and documents. The PUBG ransomware was being treated as a joke as the programmer included a note. The note said, “Your files are encrypted by PUBG Ransomware! but don’t worry! It is not hard to unlock it. I don’t want money! Just play PUBG 1Hours!”

The image above shows the window that pops up when your PC is infected by the PUBG ransomware. It includes the note from the programmer along with the "Restore Code".
Source: pcmag.com

The ransomware isn’t highly malicious, it turns out that you need to run PUBG for a few seconds or in some cases for three minutes, this is enough to trigger the decryption of your data, not a full hour. If you just can’t do it for some reason, the window also includes a “restore code” which you can use to unlock your data. This also means that there’s absolutely nothing to ransom.

This ransomware may be on of the most benign ransomware programs. But it’s certainly the only one that puts a smile on our faces. It’s a little disturbing to see how a ransomware can spread so easily and take control of our files. The idea of being “forced” to play PUBG just might be the perfect cover to get out of work.

Imagine if this ransomware picks up, all of the offices could be shut down until we play some Overwatch or Fortnite. I would not recommend you to intentionally infect your PC with this ransomware just to see what it’s like. Even if you’re a die-hard fan of PUBG.