Fortnite Players Targeted by New Cryptocurrency Ransomware

Michael LaVere
  • Fortnite users targeted in new crypto-based ransomware scheme. 
  • Crypto scams have accounted for more than $4.2 billion in losses in 2019. 

A new type of ransomware is targeting players of the popular game Fortnite, forcing them to pay in cryptocurrency to avoid losing their stored data. 

Crypto Ransomware Targeting Fortnite Players

The ransomware, called Syrk, works by encrypting files onto a user's hard drive while threatening to delete “photos, videos, documents, etc.” if the ransom is not paid. The scam is gaining renown by targeting Fortnite, which boasts an active userbase of over 250 million players. 

Chris Morales, head of security for the analytics firm Vectra, said he is not surprised scammers are targeting Fortnite. 

Combining game malware with ransomware was inevitable. Social engineering through online video games has been going on for some time. It is a large audience to target and an industry that is known to look for shortcuts. Malware posing as a hack tool is novel as it will not be validated by any app store and bypasses the normal security controls.

Syrk infects users attempting to download a cheating application for the game. However, users quickly pointed out that the malware uses a well known-attack vector, which has led to the community publishing ways to get around the hack. 

Crypto scams have increased in 2019 along with the rising price of bitcoin and crypto-assets. The most recent report by intelligence firm CipherTrace estimates that crypto-related scams have generated $4.2 billion in losses through the first half of the year.