New Virus Targets 'Skin' File-Sharing, Extorts User Ransom

Dennis Faas's picture

Hackers have unveiled a nasty new virus that seeks to embarrass as much as harm its victims. However, have no fear if your online behavior is at a PG rating or below: the virus targets those who frequent a popular -- ahem -- skin file-sharing site.

Kenzero, a virus that originated in Japan, is on a rampage looking to embarrass (and then steal) from users of the illicit file-sharing service "Winni". In total, Winni draws about 200 million users from across the globe. (Source:

Winni customers use the site to download copies of games from the aforementioned genre. In doing so, their PCs become infected with the Kenzero virus, which appears before the user as a standard game installer.

Embarrassment Before Theft

Here is where it gets a little embarrassing (and scary) for the user. Kenzero makes a copy of their web-browsing history and posts it online, where it becomes visible to the public. The trouble is, however, that most of the files being downloaded on Winni are illegal in the United States.

Of course, those who are responsible for unleashing Kenzero have ulterior motives in mind. As fast as the virus appears, the victims are held for ransom via a pop-up note or email demanding a rather small financial payment (around $16). The hackers justify this payment as "settling their violation of copyright laws" -- which is completely bogus. (Source:

The BBC is reporting that European victims are being asked to pay much higher fees (around $400) to cover the costs of a "pretrial settlement".

How To Remove The Kenzero Virus

The only silver lining in this situation is that the virus is no more advanced than other forms of malware, meaning that the standard anti-malware or antivirus software should repair the situation in relatively short order.

Still, security officials are reminding users to never pay an extortionist looking for a handout. There is little guarantee that the hacker will actually make good on their promises and, if credit card information is involved, the user opens themselves up to severe financial loss.

Unfortunately, anti-malware and antivirus software have no effect on removing web histories once it is published online the Internet. Perhaps the embarrassment of the situation will cause illicit file-sharing fans around the world to think before they click.

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