Security researchers from Avast have discovered that “Crackonosh” malware has been installed on free versions of some popular online games for the purpose of cryptomining. It is believed to be sourced from a Czech author.
Avast reports that the malware may be included in free (often pirated) versions of well-known games such as NBA2K19, Grand Theft Auto, Jurassic World Evolution, Far Cry 5 and The Sims 4. If gamers obtain these versions of the game and the malware is present in the game, the malware uses the gamer’s computer power to cryptomine. But first it disables or uninstalls any security software that may be running on the computer. This is troubling in and of itself.
It is being reported that the malware has generated more than $2 million of monero cryptocurrency in the last three years from more than 22,000 users worldwide. The infection signs to watch for are a higher electricity bill and a slow computer.
The lesson is obviously not to steal software or obtain pirated games. It’s illegal. According to Avast, “[T]he 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.”