Researchers spotted a Bitcoin ransomware almost as comical as a cartoon character who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
The SpongeBob 2.0 ransomware appears to still be in its early development stages and has a hard time properly encrypting files, according to a July 30 blog post. When asked if the malware even actually encrypted the files, G Data Malware Analyst Karsten Hahn tweeted the malware as either a test version or a joke. The malware even offers a preview to “unencrypted” a sample of your files.
Despite its substantial shortcomings, researchers said the ransomware appears to be pulling from the WannaCry playbook going as far as to use the same layout of the malware but using a yellow color scheme and an image of SpongeBob SquarePants.
Little is known about version 1 suggesting that it also wasn't a success and that it never made it to the distribution phases. Researchers said it is uncertain if a proper version of the malware will ever be distributed. Although the malware isn't that effective researchers argue the objective of the malware was to use a globally recognized brand and turn it into something associated with nefarious software ensuring the malware gains immediate media attention.
“There is still a very large industry for malware and ransomware,” the blog said. “Not all projects under development will result in major damage, but it goes to show anyone can take existing content and turn it into something nefarious with relative ease.”