PopcornTime is a newly-discovered form or ransomware that is still in the development stages but operates off a disturbing principle: Victims who have their files encrypted by PopcornTime can agree to pay the ransom, or they can choose to send the ransomware to friends. If two or more of those friends become infected and pay the ransom, the original victim gets their files decrypted for free.
The process is reminiscent of the movie, “The Ring,” where victims who had watched a film had seven days to make a copy of a killer movie, or they would die.
Researchers on the MalwareHunterTeam discovered PopcornTime, which shouldn’t be confused with another application with the same name that is used for streaming and downloading movie torrents.
PopcornTime is also similar to the chain emails or chain letters of days past, where the recipient is told to forward the communication or bad things will happen. The key difference between PopcornTime and chain emails is that with the latter, there’s usually no teeth behind the threats. Most chain emails and letters are proven to be hoaxes. With PopcornTime, the looming threat to your data is real. This also means that unlike forwarding chain emails, infecting others with PopcornTime will cause them real harm.
PopcornTime is still in development so the final version could differ from what MalwareHunterTeam discovered.
A third choice that makes better sense
It’s worth mentioning that if your files are properly backed up, PopcornTime can’t make you do anything. You can simply delete all infected files, remove the virus from your computer, and download clean versions of your files from backup. Don’t let the criminals coerce you.