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This fake Cyberpunk 2077 download is really ransomware: What to do

cyberpunk 2077
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Time to add another problem to the botched release of the video game Cyberpunk 2077: Ransomware posing as a Cyberpunk 2077 app is infecting Windows and Android devices.

The Android variant, discovered by Tatyana Shishkova of Kaspersky Lab, poses as an Android port of the best-selling-but-glitchy game. Of course, such a thing doesn't exist — Cyberpunk 2077 is only for Windows, PlayStation, Xbox and Stadia. 

But if you install the app, a message pops up saying that your files have been locked and you need to pay $500 in Bitcoin within 24 hours or everything will be deleted. The silver lining is that the encryption is hard-coded in the app, Shishkova said, so you might be able to unlock the files without paying the ransom.

Shishkova said the bogus app was found on a "fake website imitating Google Play Store" at cyberpunk2077mobile[dot]com. While that link no longer works, the fake Play Store could easily pop up again under a different URL.

As Bleeping Computer points out, the bogus Android app is a variant on Windows ransomware that appeared late last month posing as Cyberpunk 2077

The ransom note for the Windows ransomware asked for $1,000 in Bitcoin within 10 hours before it would delete your files, but otherwise the note is nearly identical to the Android one, and the Bitcoin address you're meant to pay into is the same. 

However, the note on the Windows variant did include a WhatsApp contact number in the Philippines. There also didn't appear to be a hardcoded decryption key on that one.

Fortunately, avoiding infection in either case is pretty simple. Don't install Android apps from sources other than the official Play Store (although that isn't foolproof, either). Avoid websites that pretend to be Google Play. 

For Windows, don't trust any digital download of Cyberpunk 2077 that doesn't come from a traditional gaming outlet: Microsoft, Steam, GOG, Stadia and so forth.

And whether you're on Android or Windows, be sure to have some of the best antivirus software for PCs or one of the best Android antivirus apps loaded and running. They'll detect and destroy this Cyberpunk-related ransomware.