Anatova is a nasty new ransomware that targets gamers

A new strain of ransomware has been discovered, and it’s a nasty one which is apparently targeting gamers as well as PC users in general.

McAfee has dubbed the fresh threat Anatova, and it’s a sophisticated piece of ransomware deployed by experienced malware peddlers.

Anatova apparently employs the icon of either a game or application in order to entice the user to double-click it. McAfee discovered the threat lurking on a peer-to-peer file sharing network, and not only does it boast strong protection techniques to defeat analysis, it’s also built with modular extension in mind.

In other words, malicious actors can easily bolt-on fresh malware capabilities to the strain, meaning it could potentially evolve quickly, and spread further online as multiple different threats.

Worryingly, McAfee also notes that Anatova is sophisticated enough that typical anti-ransomware tactics could prove ineffective, and it cleans up after itself, including taking measures to “prevent dumping memory code that could assist in creating a decryption tool”.

Dash demand

Anatova encrypts as many files as it can on the target PC – or connected network shares – before demanding the payment that gives ransomware its name. In this case, victims are expected to pay up in the form of cryptocurrency, as ever: 10 Dash is required to (theoretically) unlock files, which equates to about $700 (around £540, AU$980).

This strain of ransomware has been discovered most prevalently in the US, but also in the UK, and across Europe.

As ever, use common sense when downloading files to your PC, and try to avoid any dodgy-looking sources – stick to official stores where possible – or ‘offers’ that seem too good to be true (they almost certainly are). It doesn’t hurt to have a strong antivirus solution on your PC, either, which may warn you if you happen to navigate to a suspect website.

Equally, when it comes to cure rather than prevention, you should keep regular backups of all your data, so if the worst happens and some kind of ransomware strikes – or indeed even a critical hardware failure – you have a fall-back solution.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).