Avast has shared a report on malware distributed through cracked games. Cybercriminals use it to mine cryptocurrency, having generated over $2 million over the last few years.
The malware is called Crackonosh, Avast reports. It is distributed along with cracked copies of the popular software, including video games, and uses the processing power of computers to mine cryptocurrencies.
“Crackonosh shows the risks in downloading cracked software and demonstrates that it is highly profitable for attackers,” the report reads. “Crackonosh has been circulating since at least June 2018 and has yielded over [$2 million] for its authors in Monero [cryptocurrency] from over 222,000 infected systems worldwide.”
The list of the cracked games with this malware includes NBA 2K19, GTA V, Far Cry 5, The Sims 4, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Jurassic World Evolution, Fallout 4, Call of Cthulhu, Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, and We Happy Few.
Avast found out about Crackonosh after users started reporting the antivirus being disabled or deleted from their PCs. The malware can also disable Windows updates. People usually notice that something went wrong after their computers begin to slow down and their electricity bills get higher.
“As long as people continue to download cracked software, attacks like these will continue to be profitable for attackers,” Avast researcher Daniel Benes told CNBC. “The 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.”
Avast also reported around 800 devices being infected daily. Most of the cases happen in Brazil, India, Philippines, and the U.S.
You can read the full report to see how the malware works and why it might be really dangerous here.