Why downloading pirated video games can put your PC at risk

Why downloading pirated video games can put your PC at risk

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Why downloading pirated video games can put your PC at risk

Although for many video games pirated through a crack represent a possibility of accessing original titles without spending money, behind this harmless action hides a industry dedicated to exploiting the computers of many gamers.

An application with crack, as explained from ESET, is one to which its original code was modified managing to alter its operation without authorization from the program developer.

Many of the malicious code related to cracks are covert Trojans. The game or any other adulterated application, hidden between the lines of his code malicious orders.

“Allowing an unknown file to tamper with a program or application can have serious consequences for devices. These covert malware are distributed by sites with P2P or Torrents architecture. These pirate sites are one of the main routes of infection in massive campaigns. ”, Indicates Martina López, computer security researcher at ESET Latin America.

The Pirate Bay, one of the sites to download illegal files. AFP photo

Months ago, Avast researchers warned that Crackonosh malware, had been detected in pirated copies of games such as Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, Far Cry 5, The Sims 4 Seasons, Euro Truck Simulator 2, The Sims 4, Jurassic World Evolution, Fallout 4 GOTY, Call of Cthulhu, Pro Evoluton Soccer 2020 and We Happy Few.

The deception that is activated after several reboots, triggers a malicious process that forces the system to enter safe mode, which shut down any security tool and removes it easily.

The main objective of Crackonosh is the installation of XMRig. This malware is a cryptocurrency miner, that is, a malicious code that uses the physical resources of the equipment victim to mine digital assets without consent of the infected user.

“The download contains an executable file, responsible for activating the threat and simulating the installation of the game. Malware makes modifications to the system logs to ensure persistence, and force the computer to start in safe mode on the next reboot ”, they explain from ESET.


In June of this year, researchers from the security firm Nordlocker discovered an unnamed Trojan that is distributed through software and video game cracks, which managed to infect more than 3.2 million computers between 2018 and 2020.

Why downloading pirated video games can put your PC at risk

The danger of crack games. Photo Shutterstock

The unnamed malware managed to steal more than 26 million login credentials and more than a million unique email addresses, among other information.

The finding was the result of an error by the operators behind this malware, who revealed details about the location of a database that contained 1.2 TB of stolen information.

There are other cases, such as the Exorcist 2.0 Ransomware that travels behind a fake Windows 10 crack or activator and Office 365. At the time of the discovery, the crack was offered on a website that in turn was advertised on other fraudulent advertising sites.

“Cracks pose a security risk. They are the vehicle cybercriminals use to distribute malware. Therefore, downloading and installing video game cracks or other types of software entails certain factors ”, López concludes.