Discover The Dark Secret of HelloKitty Ransomware’s Transformation

Discover the intriguing journey of HelloKitty ransomware, now rebranded as HelloGookie, and its impact in the cyberworld, most notably, its high-profile attack on CD Projekt Red.

From HelloKitty to HelloGookie

Originated in November 2020, the notorious HelloKitty ransomware has been rebranded as HelloGookie by its creator, known by the aliases Gookee or kapuchin0. This transition marked the end of the HelloKitty operations in October 2023, when the creator and source code were revealed.

Under the new name HelloGookie, this ransomware has seen a small number of new attacks or victims. The HelloGookie website currently publishes older stolen information, like that from past attacks on CD Projekt Red and Cisco.

Infamous Attacks

HelloKitty has been notoriously involved in a high-profile attack on CD Projekt Red, the creators of popular games such as Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3, and Gwent. The ransomware not only managed to encrypt company servers but also stole source code. This stolen data was later sold on the dark web, including the previously unreleased code of The Witcher 3.

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The year 2021 saw HelloKitty expanding with a Linux variant, targeting VMware ESXi. A year later, it was involved in pirating another ransomware operation, Yanluowang, revealing an association between the two.

Recovering from the Attack

Recently, four private decryption keys for an old version of HelloKitty ransomware were published. This development potentially allows some victims to recover their files for free. Access to the HelloKitty archives has alerted researchers from 3xp0rt, who are currently studying the keys to determine which versions of the encryptor they work with.

Despite high-profile targets like Cisco or CD Projekt, gangs such as these also target more discreet, smaller organizations, and individuals. Fortunately, there are tools available to protect against ransomware that can steal data and money.

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