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News hardware & software 28 June 2021, 16:49

author: Arkadiusz Strzala

Malware Mines Crypto on PCs of Users Who Pirated Games

Malware unnoticeably mines cryptocurrency on a gamer's computer. It seems that just buying GPUs is not enough for miners. Let me reassure you - the problem concerns only torrent lovers.

IN A NUTSHELL:
  • Crackonosh is a nuisance malware that installs a Monero miner on our computer;
  • As of 2018, the malware may have illegally obtained the equivalent of almost $2 million in XMR.

Cryptocurrency miners have been giving nightmares to gamers by buying up graphics cards for some time now. As if that wasn't enough, they employ malware to try to use devices that are used in a legitimate way (i.e. for gaming) for mining. However, only the computer of a gamer who is not acquiring games legally can suddenly become a miner. Crackonosh is a threat lurking for users downloading popular titles from torrents.

Avast reports on a malware whose name refers to a mythical mountain spirit and may be of Czech origin. The source of the infection are pirated copies of games downloaded via torrents. Archives containing malware were found in pirated versions of games such as Far Cry 5, GTA V, NBA 2k19 or even Euro Truck Simulator 2. Crackonosh hides its operation after installation, it can also remove security software and disable Windows updates. It uses the infected computer to mine the Monero cryptocurrency. Malware can be found in the files named "winrmsrv.exe", "winscomrssrv.dll" and "winlogui.exe". Other signs of infection include general performance drop of the computer and increased energy consumption.

Malware Mines Crypto on PCs of Users Who Pirated Games - picture #1
Crackonosh - infection mechanism. Source: Avast

According to data provided by Avast, Crackonosh has been around for more than two years and during that time it minerd about 9000 XMR, which translates into 1.9 million dollars. This is not the first time gamers have been attacked. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a 340% increase in cybercriminals' interest in the gaming sector, according to a report by Akamai. This is especially true for amateurs of illegal content. Researcher at Avast, Daniel Benes, in a briefing to CNBC said:

"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."

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