As gaming becomes an increasingly popular entertainment medium that influences many people and popular culture it is no surprise that hackers are finding ways to profit from this. Cyber criminals have said to have profited around £1.4m so far from Crackonosh

Hackers are now able to insert code into existing games that they advertise to download for free on forums, the catch being that when downloaded it contains a piece of  crypto-mining malware called Crackonosh which creates digital money behind the scenes using the downloaders computer resources.

In demand games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 among others have been at the top of these lists.

This research has been conducted by Avast who are a Cyber Security company monitoring malware on computers through their anti-virus software. These cracked games are spreading rapidly with over 800 being downloaded onto computers per day affecting many countries which include:

Philippines: 18,448 victims

Brazil: 16,584 victims

India: 13,779 victims

Poland: 12,727 victims

United States: 11,856 victims

United Kingdom: 8,946 victims

When Crackonosh has been successfully installed through the game download it is cleverly designed so it goes undetected by disabling Windows Updates and uninstalling security software. Once running the owner of the PC would not be aware but would find slower computer speeds, worn out components and computer resources and a higher electricity bill at the end of the month due to the increase in power usage.

Avast have commented that “Crackonosh shows that trying to get games for free can get you something you didn’t expect – malware”. As true as this statement is it really does reflect the popularity of games and how people are willing to download them for free and take the risk.

Our advice would stay consistent with downloading any other form of software on your computer. Ensure it is from a reputable source and website such as Steam for gaming for this example and if a popular game worth £50 somewhere else is free, it is surely too good to be true.