Avast security researchers discovered that “Crackonosh” malware was installed on freeware versions of some popular online games for cryptomining purposes. It is believed to come from a Czech author.
Avast reports that the malware can 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 players obtain these versions of the game and the malware is present in the game, the malware uses the power of the player’s computer to encrypt. But first, it disables or uninstalls any security software that may be running on the computer. This is disturbing in itself.
The malware is reported to have generated over $2 million in monero cryptocurrency over the past three years from over 22,000 users worldwide. Signs of infection to watch out for are a higher electricity bill and a slow computer.
The lesson is obviously not about stealing software or getting pirated games. It’s illegal. According to Avast, “[T]The key takeaway from this is that you really can’t get something for nothing and when you try to steal software there’s a good chance someone is trying to steal from you.