“Rensenware” is a new kind of ransomware — typically malicious software that locks your files until a fee has been paid to recover them — but, as Ars Techinca reports, it’s a bit different from the usual sort of malware. Instead of requiring infected users to pay a sum of money to regain access to their locked files, Rensenware instead requires them to reach a high score of 200 million points in the anime bullet hell shooter TH12 – Undefined Fantastic Object (a game in the Touhou Project series) on the “Lunatic” difficulty level.
The creator of Rensenware, who goes by the handle Tvple Eraser, later apologized for the software. “I made it [as a] joke, just laughing with people who like Touhou Project Series,” says Tvple Eraser, who also released a tool to bypass the lock on the files for anyone who may have downloaded the original version by mistake. Tvple Eraser has since replaced the ransomware version with a safer “cut” version that doesn’t lock your files by forcibly encrypting them.
It does seem that Tvple Eraser really did just intend this as a joke, and to their credit, didn’t actually try to distribute the software to people. Still, the original code is out there somewhere, and it’s conceivable that someone could release an actually malicious version that could block the removal tool and cause some actual damage if users got infected.
It might be worth brushing up on your TH12 – Undefined Fantastic Object skills — just in case.