Hackers are mining cryptocurrency through malware hidden in free games

A new cryptocurrency hack which works by offering PC users free digital versions of popular games is spreading across the world. 

The hack works by installing a secret program which harnesses PC hardware to mine for cryptocurrency. Hackers offer PC users free games, hiding the malware inside

Originally reported by the BBC, the crypto mining software generates revenue for the hackers while the end-users are unaware. 

Even thhough the software was only recently discovered, researchers at Avast confirmed the malware is spreading. 

Free Games

In order to entice potential users, hackers offered free games like Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018.

Avast found found the malware , dubbed ‘Crackonntosh’, in over a dozen countries, including the Philippines, Brazil, Poland, America and the United Kingdom. Avast is finding around 800 cases per day, although that is just on PCs with the company’s virus software installed.

Crackonish limits its visibility by disabling windows updates and uninstalling any security software installed on the PC. Systems installed with the malware will run slower and increase electric usage. It could also wear down PC components.

It’s estimated that hackers made over $2 using the hack. That figure will likely increase during the current mining boom.

Cryptocurrency mining

Cryptocurrency mining is the process in which high-powered computers solve computational math problems. Solving a problem creates a new unique bitcoin, with the bitcoin itself being the element of value in the process.

Bitcoin miners have been in the news a lot over the past year due to the ongoing shortage of graphics cards in the industry. The global shortage of semiconductor chips is partly to blame for the shortage. However, miners are also buying graphics cards to farm bitcoins.

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