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Virus locks out data, unless you can score 200 million in an impossible game

‘Rensenware’ creator regrets his own joke

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Ransomware is the name for malware that locks down a victim's information and demands money to set it free. Rensenware is a spoof exploit developed by a bored Korean programmer, and its demands are a lot more ... demanding.

A computer infected with Rensenware, first reported Friday by Kotaku, can't have its freedom bought. The victim has to play the bullet-hell shooter Undefined Fantastic Object (above) and score more than 200 million on the game's "lunatic" difficulty to get their data back. "Rensenware" is a play on the game's Japanese title, Touhou Seirensen.

How hard is this? The malware's programmer accidentially infected himself, and he can't make the necessary score. "Uh, oh ... nope," he told Kotaku.

Seriously, watch the video at top and see if you could, either.

The creator uploaded his joke to GitHub and fell asleep, thinking nothing of it. When he woke up, he learned his virus had, er, gone viral. Kotaku says that he immediately wrote software to neutralize Rensenware and sent that to GitHub, along with an earnest apology.