How hackers infect PCs with video games to make millions from cryptocurrencies

Video games, the new target of hackers seeking to produce cryptocurrencies. Photo: ..

Hackers now have a new target: video games, in which they hide malware or ransomware that secretly generates cryptocurrencies once the software has been downloaded.

To this end, cybercriminals are giving away free versions of Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 on internet forums. But, as the saying goes, cheap is expensive – those versions contain the crypto mining malware called Crackonosh.

Researchers at antivirus and cybersecurity company Avast say “cracked” games are spreading rapidly with Crackonosh and that the company is detecting about 800 cases on computers every day and 220,000 users, according to a CNBC report.

Once installed, Crackonosh silently uses the computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies for hackers. The malware has been used to generate $ 2 million in a cryptocurrency known as Moreno since at least June 2018, according to Avast.

Avast detects malicious software on devices only where your antivirus is installed, so the true impact of Crackonosh is likely to be much greater.

How to detect that you have fallen into the trap

Avast researcher Daniel Benes told CNBC that infected users may notice that their computers slow down or deteriorate from excessive use, while their electricity bill may also be higher than normal.

“It takes all the resources that the computer has and makes it not respond to other commands,” he said.

Brazil, India and the Philippines are among the worst affected countries, while the United States has also seen many cases.

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Infected users can detect that their computers slow down if they have been infected with Malware.  Photo: Getty Images. Infected users can detect that their computers slow down if they have been infected with Malware.  Photo: Getty Images.

Infected users can detect that their computers slow down if they have been infected with Malware. Photo: ..

Once Crackonosh has been installed, the malware tries to protect itself by disabling Windows updates and uninstalling any security software that may be on the computer.

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In fact, the company learned of the existence of Crackonosh when users began to report that they did not see the Avast antivirus installed on their machines.

“In summary, Crackonosh shows the risks of downloading cracked software and shows that it is highly profitable for attackers,” Benes wrote. “The key to understanding this is that when you really try to steal software, someone is probably trying to steal from you.”

Where ‘the virus was born’

Regarding the origin of the malware, Avast believes that the author may be Czech. Crackonosh means “mountain spirit” in Czech folklore.

This is not the first time that malware has been reported to affect video games. Researchers at Cisco-Talos discovered malware within the various games in March, according to CNBC.

The number of cyberattacks on video game players has increased 340% during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Akamai Security Research this week.

“Criminals are relentless and we have the data to prove it,” said Steve Ragan, Akamai security researcher and author of The State of the Internet / Safety report.

“We are seeing remarkable persistence in the defenses of the video game industry that criminals test daily, and often hourly, for vulnerabilities through which to breach servers and expose information. We are also seeing numerous group chats forming on popular social media that are dedicated to sharing attack techniques and best practices, “he said.

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