Understanding the “Play” Ransomware: A Guide for the Everyday User 

business realizing they have been hacked!

Staying Safe Against the Play Ransomware: Essential Protection Strategies for Individuals and Businesses


  • Rising Threat: Play ransomware is a growing cyber threat that encrypts files and demands a ransom. It has affected over 300 organizations, including essential services. 
  • Targets Everyone: This threat isn’t limited to IT sectors or large corporations; it can impact anyone, including small businesses and individuals. 
  • Method of Attack: The attackers use common tools like WinRAR and WinSCP for malicious purposes, encrypting data and making it inaccessible to owners. 
  • Simple Protective Steps: Key defensive measures include using strong, unique passwords, being cautious with emails and downloads, and keeping software updated. 
  • Awareness is Crucial: Understanding and awareness of cyber threats like Play ransomware are essential for online safety. Even basic vigilance and preventive measures can significantly enhance digital security. 

Who are “Play”?

The “Play” ransomware group, also known as PlayCrypt, is a hacker collective that emerged in 2022. They are responsible for ransomware attacks targeting various organizations and governmental institutions globally, including in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. The group is known for their double-extortion tactics, where they exfiltrate sensitive data before encrypting victims’ systems, and demand ransom payments in cryptocurrency. Security experts have noted similarities between Play’s encryption methods and those of other ransomware groups linked to Russia, suggesting possible connections

What is Happening? 

Imagine a scenario where your personal or work files become inaccessible, replaced by a demand for payment to unlock them. This is the hallmark of the Play ransomware attack. It infiltrates systems, encrypts files, and demands a ransom, often in cryptocurrency, to release them. 

Why is This Important? 

This issue is not confined to IT experts or large corporations. Since its emergence in mid-2022, Play ransomware has impacted over 300 entities, including essential services like healthcare, local councils and utilities. It’s a reminder that cyber threats can affect everyone. 

How Does It Work? 

The individuals behind Play ransomware exploit common tools such as WinRAR and WinSCP for malicious purposes. They essentially lock data away, making it inaccessible to the rightful owners, and then demand a ransom for its release. 

Protective Measures 

The good news is that there are effective measures everyone can take to reduce the risk of such attacks. We recommend using strong, unique passwords, enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for an added layer of security, being cautious with email attachments and links from unknown sources, regularly backing up important data, and keeping software up to date with the latest security patches. These steps collectively enhance your defence against cyber threats. 


At Holocron Cyber, we believe that understanding and awareness are key to maintaining online safety. While cybersecurity can appear complex, basic vigilance and preventive measures can significantly enhance digital security for individuals and businesses alike. 

Looking to fortify your team against the constantly shifting cyber threat landscape? Get in touch with Holocron Cyber for a personalized, in-depth security awareness program, meticulously tailored to address the unique needs of your business

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