Malware-packed pirated games infected millions of PCs, stealing data and hijacking webcams...

midian182

Posts: 6,768   +61
Staff member
In brief: If you’re ever tempted to download a pirated game or app, remember that in addition to being illegal, there’s the risk of it containing some nasty malware. Millions of PCs were infected with a trojan virus using this method, leading to the theft of over 1TB of data, including email addresses, login credentials, and documents. It was even able to hijack a webcam and photograph users.

NordLocker writes that a hacking group revealed the location of a database containing the stolen data by accident. Security researchers then analyzed the information in partnership with a third-party company specializing in data breaches.

The analysis showed that 3.2 million Windows-based computers were infected by the malware, resulting in 1.2 TB of files, cookies, and credentials being stolen between 2018 and 2020. The database included 2 billion cookies, over 400 million, or 22%, of which were still valid at the time of discovery.

Among the data were 1.1 million unique email addresses, 26 million login credentials, and 6 million files stolen from Desktop and Downloads folders. Around 900,000 image files, over 600,000 Word files, and 3 million text files made up the bulk of the database, though there were over 1,000 different types of files.

Worryingly, the malware was able to capture a photograph of the user if the compromised device had a webcam. It also assigned unique device IDs to the data to make trawling through everything easier.

The unnamed trojan was spread through illegal Adobe Photoshop downloads, Windows cracking tools, and pirated games. NordLocker notes that custom malware such as this can be bought on the dark web and unscrupulous sites for as little as $100, and it can be tailored to a buyer’s specific requirements.

Permalink to story.

 

Wereweeb

Posts: 28   +52
Can you do a dual-boot setup where two separate boot drives can't access the other?

If you do have pirated games (This isn't advocacy, just advice ;D ), then just fill one of the drives up with the pirated games and gay furry p*rn, and let them have fun looking through that.
 

3volv3d

Posts: 325   +144
Bah, in the past I pirated so many games with no problem. You have to be careful only (having good security software), and obviously, you have to know what you are doing.
When the arrival of Steam in my life I went completely legal.

You could never trust the government's, councils etc. And now you can't even trust the good guys... Don't get a webcam? I think VMware may rise in usage? But good security? What's that?
If someone wants on they usually can bypass heuristics. That's what 0 day issues are all about are they not??
 

Geralt

Posts: 272   +317
TechSpot Elite
You could never trust the government's, councils etc. And now you can't even trust the good guys... Don't get a webcam? I think VMware may rise in usage? But good security? What's that?
If someone wants on they usually can bypass heuristics. That's what 0 day issues are all about are they not??
Good security is something like Bi***der, for example. And Malw***tes is very useful too. With that kind of software you are safe. I had never a problem. If some Trojan could trespass, I caught it later with a full scan. It's like electricity: If you know what you are doing and have good tools, it is safe. But if you're an as***le, it's dangerous.
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,035   +951
Microsoft, Facebook and Google have been stealing your data legally for years. And you even have to agree to them stealing the same.

Pirated games are a good way to check if you will like the game or not. Since most games no longer have demos and even ask you to preorder them instead. Just make sure to try them out on a PC or laptop that is not used to do your banking or other work. And install some good third party security suite to scan these files. And disconnect from online every time there are no downloads. :p

Not that I'm downloading them. Almost all new games are not worth my time or hard drive space. Besides, with deep sales in steam after a year or two and Epic store's relentless free game giveaways every week, games are being piled up. Legally.

Unfortunately pirated sites are needed to keep the greedy corporates in check.
 
Last edited:

kiwigraeme

Posts: 319   +254
I haven't pirated a game on the PC for 15 years - out curiosity I ran 3 email accounts on Haveibeenpawned - or whatever it's call - my business one was fine - an old hotmail one I haven't used for a longtime said if had been breached twice - and my gmail one 4 times . I checked my passwords - none pawned . I'm highly sceptical - I have 2 factor on my gmail - I think it just means some random website/shop forum log ons has been breached - as I only have 2 folks with my c/c details - not too concerned ( amazon and paypal ). - The website doesn't seem to show the breach site
 

Watzupken

Posts: 193   +174
Microsoft, Facebook and Google have been stealing your data legally for years. And you even have to agree to them stealing the same.

Pirated games are a good way to check if you will like the game or not. Since most games no longer have demos and even ask you to preorder them instead. Just make sure to try them out on a PC or laptop that is not used to do your banking or other work. And install some good third party security suite to scan these files. And disconnect from online every time there are no downloads. :p

Not that I'm downloading them. Almost all new games are not worth my time or hard drive space. Besides, with deep sales in steam after a year or two and Epic store's relentless free game giveaways every week, games are being piled up. Legally.

Unfortunately pirated sites are needed to keep the greedy corporates in check.
I condone piracy because it is akin to stealing, just that you don't go into a shop to physically steal. I mean just imagine you are the game developer, and despite working day and night on making a good game, you don't get paid for your effort. Some may think that the game is very expensive, but development of a game is not a 1 month or even 1 year affair. In recent times, we got Cyberpunk 2077, and how much time did the developers take to release the game? And even with so many years of development, it was rushed out with lots of bugs. I would say the timeline applies to any thoughtfully developed new games, and not just a spin off of what we see last year with some modifications or new skin on it. If one thinks that its expensive, they can always wait for it to be discounted. Cheapo like me don't grab games at launch, but for those games I want, I leave them on my wishlist till the price looks right.

And I don't think it is a good reason to say that pirated games are good to "test out" the game. Most people who download pirated games don't do that to test out the game from my limited understanding. It is true that some times, it may translate into an actual sale nonetheless, but usually not the case.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,022   +3,149
I condone piracy because it is akin to stealing, just that you don't go into a shop to physically steal. I mean just imagine you are the game developer, and despite working day and night on making a good game, you don't get paid for your effort. Some may think that the game is very expensive, but development of a game is not a 1 month or even 1 year affair. In recent times, we got Cyberpunk 2077, and how much time did the developers take to release the game? And even with so many years of development, it was rushed out with lots of bugs. I would say the timeline applies to any thoughtfully developed new games, and not just a spin off of what we see last year with some modifications or new skin on it. If one thinks that its expensive, they can always wait for it to be discounted. Cheapo like me don't grab games at launch, but for those games I want, I leave them on my wishlist till the price looks right.

And I don't think it is a good reason to say that pirated games are good to "test out" the game. Most people who download pirated games don't do that to test out the game from my limited understanding. It is true that some times, it may translate into an actual sale nonetheless, but usually not the case.
I don’t think you know the meaning of the word “condone”... look it up before using it maybe?
 

FuryX

Posts: 10   +10
Not Pirated a game since Epic Games started giving free AAA titles among other games.(CONTROL IS FREE now in Epic Store btw).
still got like 50+ games yet to play but no time..lol

so not many reason to pirate games unless u want to play a AAA title that is ur most anticipated game on Day 1 which launches for $60+ that u dont want to buy or cant afford it.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,022   +3,149
Not Pirated a game since Epic Games started giving free AAA titles among other games.(CONTROL IS FREE now in Epic Store btw).
still got like 50+ games yet to play but no time..lol

so not many reason to pirate games unless u want to play a AAA title that is ur most anticipated game on Day 1 which launches for $60+ that u dont want to buy or cant afford it.
Um.... the reason to pirate is the same as it has always been.... you want stuff for free... with everything (not just games) more expensive now than ever, explain how the incentive to pirate should lessen?
 

Nick D

Posts: 32   +10
Steam was doing great. Than the major game studios wanted their own platforms and raised all the prices. Piracy started to grow again. The greedier the companies, the more piracy will occur.
 

Geralt

Posts: 272   +317
TechSpot Elite
Steam was doing great. Than the major game studios wanted their own platforms and raised all the prices. Piracy started to grow again. The greedier the companies, the more piracy will occur.
Here, in Russia, with Steam, I pay average 30 dollars for new games. I cannot image myself paying 60 like in USA. If I lived there I would have to pirate games again.
 

3volv3d

Posts: 325   +144
Um.... the reason to pirate is the same as it has always been.... you want stuff for free... with everything (not just games) more expensive now than ever, explain how the incentive to pirate should lessen?

Games haven't gone up that much in my opinion. Until the PS4 generation. This digital download overpricing. No packaging, delivery, vehicles, drivers, warehouse storage to pay for. £110 to jump into the new BF2042 or w.e it is.
I'll wait for that to drop 80%. Covid has Fd everyone in the A in some markets.
 
Last edited:

Nick D

Posts: 32   +10
Here, in Russia, with Steam, I pay average 30 dollars for new games. I cannot image myself paying 60 like in USA. If I lived there I would have to pirate games again.
I miss when games were 5-8$ cad. You could try out a game thats maybe 3 years old and see if you liked the franchise. Those same games are now 20-25$ bundled with all sorts of dlc and no base game option.