How Hackers Are Targeting Gamers’ PCs To Make Millions From Crypto

‘Crackonosh’ malware is being hidden in pirated popular games that force targeted PCs to mine cryptocurrencies!

Tech News

The next time you set off a mission in Grand Theft Auto 5, be ready to be taking a part in a real-life heist. Yes, that’s according to CNBC & Avast Researchers who reported the discovery of a new malware called “Crackonosh”. The virus which has been circulating since 2018 has been identified in over 222,000 compromised computers & has yielded over $2Million worth of Monero.

DID YOU KNOW?

Monero is a privacy coin typically used by hackers since it is less complex to trace than other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and more.

Which Games Are Prone To Crackonosh Malware?

According to researchers, hackers are embedding Crackonosh malware in video games like Grand Theft Auto 5, The Sims 4, Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, NBA 2K19, Jurassic World Evolution, We Happy Few, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Fallout 4 GOTY, Far Cry 5 and other popular titles that were installed from torrent websites. Till now Crackonosh has infected countries like the Philippines, Brazil, India, U.S., UK, and more. 

 

How Hackers Are Targeting Gamers
Distribution of Crackonosh Malware

 

How Do Crackonosh Malware Affect Users?

Crackonosh Malware is certainly a lesson for those who try to get cracked, pirated, or torrented versions of popular games, but what they don’t know is that it can make them lose a lot of pennies afterward. Crackonosh virus further implements the following steps: 

  • At first, the victim installs the cracked or pirated version of the game. 
  • The Crackonosh virus drops three key files named winrmsrv.exe, winscomrssrv.dll, and winlogui.exe. and it takes actions to protect itself by disabling Windows updates and uninstalling Antivirus or Security software.
  • Without the owner’s notice, the cryptocurrency mining program runs in the background and causes the following issues – – slow & sluggish PC performance, increases the victim’s electricity bill, and wears out components through overuse.  
  • Afterward, Crackonosh uses plenty of cryptojacking schemes to make miners work and use the computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Before 2021, Japanese Tech Services Provider – –NTT had shared in its Global Threat Intelligence Report that “cryptojacking malware accounted for over 41% of all malware as compared to the previous year!” 


Check out the diagram below that depicts the entire Crackonosh installation process:

To understand each step in a comprehensive manner, you can visit the Avast Blogspot

 

How Hackers Are Targeting Gamers

 

Additionally, Crackonosh’s anti-detection capabilities ensure that it replaces the critical Windows System Files and also exploits the Safe Mode to further damage the defense mechanisms. Not only this, the malicious threat incorporates a multitude of anti-analysis tricks to prevent detection. It can even make tweaks in Registry further to disable other security functionalities. All these major approaches simply make Crackonosh difficult to be identified and removed! 

Having said that, tech giant Microsoft expressed about the ongoing attacks – – “the issue doesn’t meet the bar for security servicing, noting that the attack is predicated on having administrative/root privileges, adding a “malicious administrator can do much worse things.”

Why Gamers’ PCs Are Chosen Mostly?

Targeted machines are mostly gamer’s computers because they have some of the most powerful central processing units (CPUs) and GPUs, which can be easily leveraged for mining cryptocurrencies. And, what could be the most effortless way to get into gamer’s computers? Circulating Cracked or Pirated copies of premium video games, which entice gamers and make them Crackonosh attack victims easily! 

What Is The Ultimate Purpose Of Crackonosh?

Well, as long as individuals continue to install torrented versions of software, attacks like these will grow to be profitable for cybercriminals. According to the Avast security firm, “The key take-away from this is that you really can’t get something for nothing and when you try to steal programs, odds are someone is trying to steal from you.” If your computer suddenly has tons of viruses, your antivirus solution cannot be found and no Windows updates have been received, you might be harboring Crackonosh Malware. 

So, how can we prevent Crackonosh Malware? Well, for starters stop pirating games. Secondly, you should also consider scanning each program installer with a reputable Antivirus Solution before you run it. Simply, right-click on the installer (from the Downloads folder) and choose the option ‘Scan with’ Antivirus utility according to your preference! 

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