Hackers are making millions in crypto at the expense of PC gamers

Gamers are under attack, courtesy of cybercriminals who are looking to get rich by way of a “mining malware” now called “Crackonosh” that has been used to generate $2 million worth of a cryptocurrency known as Morena.

The attacks date back to at least June 18, according to Avast researcher, Daniel Benes. 

“Crockonosh” malware is being hidden in free versions of games like Grand Theft Auto V, Far Cry 5, The Sims 4, Jurassic World Evolution, and NBA 2K19 which are available to download on torrent sites. 

The malware, once installed, quietly uses the computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies for these hackers. Daniel Benes says that infected users can expect their computers to slow down or deteriorate through overuse. Users may also see a spike in their electricity bill.

According to Benes, the malware takes up all the resources the computer has at its disposal, rendering the machine unresponsive. 

Caption: Some 220,000 users have been infected with “Crackonosh” worldwide, with 800 devices being infected every day, Benes says.

To date, some 220,000 users have been infected worldwide, with 800 devices being infected every day. What’s more, Avast can only detect infections on devices that have Avast antivirus installed, meaning the actual number of affected users could be higher than initially reported. 

While the U.S has seen significant cases, Brazil, India, and the Philippines have seen the worst of it, thus far. 

But where is the virus from? Avast has been calling the malware “Crackonosh” as they believe the author of the malicious software is Czech (“Crackonosh” means “Mountain Spirit” in Czech). 

“We looked into this report and others like it and have found a new malware we’re calling “Crackonosh” in part because of some possible indications that the malware author may be Czech. Crackonosh is distributed along with illegal, cracked copies of popular software and searches for and disables many popular antivirus programs as part of its anti-detection and anti-forensics tactics,” Benes explained in his report. 

Benes believes that this shows the dangers of downloading software illegally. He said, “In summary, Crackonosh shows the risks in downloading cracked software and demonstrates that it is highly profitable for attackers.” 

Benes’ report included a breakdown of how users may remove this malicious software from their devices. 

According to a report by Akamai Security Research, cyberattacks on gamers surged to 340% during the COVID-19 pandemic.