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Hackers are infecting the gamers’ PCs with malware

Hackers are infecting the gamers' PCs with malware

June 28, 2021: According to research published by security firm Avast, cybercriminals target gamers with “mining malware” as they look to get crypto-rich.

On Thursday, the so-called “Crackonosh” malware is being hidden in free versions of games such as NBA 2K19, Grand Theft Auto V, Far Cry 5, The Sims 4, and Jurassic World Evolution can be downloaded on torrent sites, Avast said.

Crackonosh uses the computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies for the hackers quietly after it has been installed once. According to Avast, the malware has generated $2 million worth of Moreno’s cryptocurrency since at least June 2018.

Avast researcher Daniel Benes told CNBC that infecting users might notice that their computers might become slow or deteriorate because of overusing. At the same time, their electricity bill may also be higher compared to the normal.

“It takes all the resources that the computer has, so the computer is unresponsive,” he said.

According to Benes, some 220,000 users have been infected worldwide, and 800 devices are being infected every day. However, Avast only detects malicious software on machines with its antivirus software installed so that the actual number could be noticeably higher. Brazil, India, and the Philippines are the worst-affected countries. However, the U.S. has also seen a lot of cases.

The researchers said Crackonosh takes several steps to protect itself once installed, which include disabling Windows Updates and uninstalling security software.

Avast discoveres the malware after customers reported the firm’s antivirus was not present in their systems, which cited one example of a user posting on Reddit. The company investigated this report and others like it.

“In summary, Crackonosh shows the demerits of downloading cracked software and demonstrates that it is highly profitable for attackers,” wrote Benes.

“As long as people continue to download cracked software, attacks like these will continue to be profitable for attackers,” Benes added. “The key take-away from this is that you really can’t get something for nothing, and when you try to steal software, odds are someone is trying to steal from you.”

The malware has impacted games several times before. Researchers at Cisco-Talos discover the malware inside cheat software for multiple games in March. However, a new hacking campaign targeted gamers via the Steam platform earlier this month.

According to a report from Akamai Security Research this week, the number of cyberattacks on gamers has surged 340% during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Criminals are relentless, and we have the data to show it,” the Akamai security researcher and author of the State of the Internet/Security report, Steve Ragan, says.

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