It’s been reported that Avast has found “Crackonosh” malware in hundreds of thousands of PCs that stems from popular games given away from forums and rogue websites: https://decoded.avast.io/danielbenes/crackonosh-a-new-malware-distributed-in-cracked-software/.
Paul Bischoff, security and privacy advocate for Comparitech.com said:
“Cracked copies of video games have been a popular means to distribute malware ever since online video game piracy became possible. Gamers tend to have powerful PCs, which makes them well-suited for mining cryptocurrency. “Cracked” means the game code has been modified to remove any purchase verification measures or digital rights management.
“Pirates often depend on other pirates’ feedback about a particular file to know whether it’s safe. Comments might include the results of a virus scan, for example. When torrenting, a large number of uploaders and downloaders indicates a lot of people trust a given file. These feedback mechanisms might not have been available to victims, though, or positive feedback could have been fabricated by the attacker.
“It’s important to always get video games from trusted sources: either directly from the publisher or from a reputable marketplace like Steam.”
And Chris Hauk, consumer privacy champion at Pixel Privacy added:
“This is another reason that users should always be wary of getting “something for nothing” on the internet. Downloading games, apps, and other types of materials from warez sites or by torrenting copyrighted games and such is dangerous simply because these files are many times infected with viruses and malware.
“I strongly urge users to not download files from suspicious sites or via torrenting. While I know that some users will continue to download and share copyrighted games and other materials, I would urge them to at the very least run antivirus and anti-malware utilities to provides some semblance of protection against their dangerous online activities.”
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