It is always wise to beware of the inherent dangers that come with free cracked games from forums and other manipulated sources. “Crackonosh” is a cryptojacking malware that installs crypto mining software on a system, found in 220,000 computers because of downloading games like GTA V for free.
According to the security researchers at Avast, Crackonosh has been noticed in free games given away on forums and torrent sites since 2018. Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, Far Cry 5, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 – all are included.
Once infected, the cryptojacking malware covertly installs crypto mining software that mines Monero while the user is totally unaware of it. It is said to have earned over $2 million for its Czech Republic-based authors, as Crackonosh means “mountain spirit” in Czech folklore.
Avast states that Crackonosh installs itself by replacing critical Windows system files and abusing the Windows Safe mode to impair system defenses. It cleverly avoids being detected by disabling the security software, operating system updates, and using other anti-analysis techniques, making discovery and removal a bit hard.
As with all cryptojacking, users often only identify something is wrong making their system slows down, components quickly wearing out, and electricity bills sky-high.
Crackonosh has been found in more than a dozen countries. These 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
This is the second instance this month of malware being spread in free games. A report showed that millions of PCs had been infected using pirated games. Once compromised, the trojan takes away data and even hijacked webcams to photograph users.