If you’re trying to download pirated copies of popular games, you may be in for a very unwelcome surprise. It seems hackers are targeting gamers through such downloads, by lacing the game files with cryptojacking malware. Such malware infects users’ devices to secretly mine cryptocurrency using its resources. They can severely reduce the performance of devices and have been known to lead laptops to catch fire, due to excess heat generated by processors running on high speeds for extended periods. They can also impact the battery life of devices too, which could be especially cumbersome for gaming laptops, which already have shorter battery lives.
According to the report, games like Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 are being used to infect devices. The malware, which seems to be of Czech origin is called Crackonosh and it’s of Czech origin. The malware deletes security software installed on devices and stops Windows Updates in order to keep itself from being detected. The report said that the hackers have already amassed over $2.1 million through the scam.
It also said that over a dozen countries have been impacted, and provided a list of countries where large numbers of infections have been found. They found 13,779 victims of the malware in India. Avast, which found the malware, provides free antivirus software for PCs, and receives data about new malware from the same.
The new malware is part of a growing trend in the cryptojacking space. Earlier this month, Kaspersky had said it found over 200,000 instances of such malware being circulated worldwide. Japanese technology firm NTT has also said that cryptojacking malware accounted for over 41% of all malware detected in 2020
How to detect cryptojacking malware
Now that the malware has been detected, it’s likely that most antivirus makers will add Crackonosh to their malware databases. Which is good news, because such malware works in the background and is difficult to detect manually. But since they use your computer’s processor speed, you may notice unnatural heating and slowing down in the overall performance of the device. If this happens right after you download a game, it may be prudent to run a check.