New crypto-malware is targeting gamers through games like GTA V.
Crypto mining malware that uses a computer’s resources to secretly mine cryptocurrency has been growing over the past year, and now hackers are going after gamers. According to a report by antivirus maker Avast, hackers hide malware in popular games, including Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, to infect devices.
The malware in question, called Crackonosh, seems to be of Czech origin, and the researchers said the hackers had made over $2 million by infecting devices so far.
New crypto-malware in-game
Gamers, beware. A new cryptojacking malware targeting people through popular games like GTA V. Cryptojacking malwares uses a computer’s resources to secretly mine cryptocurrency. It has been on the rise over the past year. However, hackers have now started using this malware to go after gamers. According to a report by Avast, hackers are hiding malware in popular games like Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V), NBA 2K19, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018.
This particular cryptojacking malware the hackers are using is called Crackonosh and seems to have originated from the Czech Republic. Researchers say that hackers have made over $2 million by infecting devices so far.
Cryptomining malware is popularly used to crowdsource crypto mining operations. According to reports, similar cryptojacking malware like Crackonosh have been growing over the past year amid a rise in the cryptocurrency sector. Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky had reported earlier this year that they had observed over 200,000 instances of such crypto mining malware in just the first quarter of 2021.
The researchers said that Crackonosh takes several steps to protect itself after installing, including disabling Windows updates and uninstalling security software.
As for the origin of the malware, Avast believes the author could be a Czech – Crackonosh means “mountain spirit” in Czech folklore.
Avast discovered the malware after customers reported the company’s antivirus was missing on their systems and cited an example of a user post on Reddit. The company said it investigated this and other similar reports.
“In summary, Crackonosh shows the risks involved in downloading cracked software and shows that it is very profitable for attackers,” wrote Benes.
How to protect yourself on the internet?
“As long as people keep downloading cracked software, attacks like this one will continue to be profitable for attackers,” added Benes. “The main takeaway from this is that you really can’t get anything for free, and if you’re trying to steal software, the chances are someone is trying to steal you.”
The bottom Line
“It’s too early to say for sure if the trend we’ve noted in Q1 2021 is here to stay. However, it does seem that the increase in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has sparked a renewed interest in miners. If the crypto markets remain strong this year, we’ll likely continue to see more instances of users encountering miners,” said Evgeny Lopatin, a security expert at Kaspersky.
This isn’t the first time malware has impacted games. Cisco-Talos researchers discovered malware in cheat software for several games in March. Meanwhile, earlier this month, a new hacking campaign targeted gamers through the Steam platform.
“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 / Security report.
“We see a remarkable persistence in the defense mechanisms of the video game industry, which are tested daily – and often hourly – by criminals looking for vulnerabilities to crack servers and reveal information on networks dedicated to sharing attack techniques and best practices. “