This year has seen a host of malware attacks that are capable of severely impacting our daily lives. But now research from Avast shows a new malware is on the loose that specifically targets PC gamers, reports CNBC. The aim of the malware is to infect the gamers’ PCs to secretly hijack them to mine cryptocurrencies for the hackers.
Targeting gamers’ PCs make sense because such PCs usually have some of the most powerful central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs), which can be leveraged to mine cryptocurrencies. So what route are the hackers targeting PC gamers’ computers via? Pirated games.
The malware, called “Crackonosh,” is hidden in pirated copies of various games that are then distributed free via torrenting sites. Once a gamer pirates one of the games and installs it on their PC, the Crackonosh malware hidden in the pirated game gets to work hijacking their PC without the gamer’s knowledge. Pirated games that are known to carry the malware include NBA 2K19, Far Cry 5, The Sims 4, Jurassic World Evolution, and Grand Theft Auto V.
So how do you avoid getting the Crackonosh malware? Stop pirating games is a good first move. So far 220,000 users have had their PCs infected with the malware, and 800 new PCs are being infected every day. The Crackonosh malware also attempts to disable Windows software updates and uninstall security software in order to remain undetected. That means if you have pirated one of the above-mentioned games, it’s best to go out and buy some new security software and run that on your PC to see if you’ve been infected.