Crackonosh: The New Malware Targeting Gamers

Crackonosh

Hackers are now targeting gamers through malware called Crackonosh. Here’s an overview of Crackonosh, and how gamers can protect themselves from it.

A new malware called Crackonosh has been slowly gaining a foothold in the gaming world. While it has been around since 2018, it was recently flagged by cybersecurity company Avast, which detailed the impact of the malware in a report.

According to the report, Crackonosh has infected more than 222,000 computers that were used to download “pirate” versions of games. These games included popular games like NBA 2K19, Far Cry 5, and Grand Theft Auto V. To date, hackers have used the malware to make over $2 million in Monero cryptocurrency by infecting devices.

The majority of users infected with Crackonosh are from Brazil, the Philippines, and India. While the Philippines reported 18,448 victims, Brazil and India reported 16,584 and 13,779 victims respectively. 800 new personal computers are, reportedly, being infected by the malware every day.

What is Crackonosh?

Crackonosh is a new cryptojacking malware, a type of Malware that uses a users’ device to mine cryptocurrency. Cracknosh targets gamers and gets into a computer’s system through cracked versions or pirated versions of popular games.

Although it is unknown who started Crackonosh, Avast securities hints that the founder is likely to be Czech. This is because Crakonosh means “mountain spirit” in Czech folklore.

Once a game is installed, the malware first replaces important files, then disables security software and updates to protect itself. This, in turn, makes it difficult to detect and remove the malware. Then, the hackers start mining cryptocurrencies in the background when the device is in use. Usually, hackers mine cryptocurrencies, like Monero, which are harder to trace.

Mining involves solving complex mathematical algorithms or puzzles to verify transactions on the blockchain. This requires great computing power and a large amount of electricity. Every time a miner solves a puzzle, they get rewarded in the form of cryptocurrencies. Hence, hackers use the power of infected computers to mine cryptocurrencies to avoid spending on powerful systems or electricity.

Unlike other malware, Crakonosh doesn’t have a large impact on devices. Mostly, computers become slow or unresponsive as the malware drains the resources of a computer to focus on crypto mining. Additionally, the malware can also increase the victim’s electricity bill.

Once a device is infected, it is a cumbersome task to remove the malware. Users will have to track down and delete multiple files, as well as registry keys and scheduled tasks, and reinstall security software. The easier option is to re-format the drive and reinstall the operating system

“The key take-away from this is that you really can’t get something for nothing, and when you try to steal software, odds are someone is trying to steal from you,” Avast researcher Daniel Benes wrote in the report.

How do you prevent Crackonosh?

Once a computer has been infected with Crackonosh, it’s very difficult to detect and remove it. This is why it is essential to take precautions to prevent an attack.

Avoid downloading or torrenting games: The first step to avoiding a Crackonosh attack is not pirating games. It is essential to only download games through legitimate sources, and not through illegal websites.

Keep your computer updated: Once a computer is updated, it is less likely for hackers to hack your computer. This is because updated computers often include critical patches to security holes that help protect your computer and information.

Download Antivirus: To keep your computer safe and private, install antivirus software on your computer. This can help you detect Crackonosh. With antivirus software regularly scanning your computer, it can make users more aware if they have been infected by this virus.

Only install trustworthy apps and software: Whenever you install software or an application on your device, make sure it is from a legitimate source or company. If not, there is a higher chance that it is malware.

Malware targeting gamers

Recently, there has been an increase in malware attacks on gamers. According to a report, Cyberattacks on gamers have jumped around 350% since the pandemic hit,t and hackers have even targeted big companies like Steam.

A recent hack in June of 2020 involved Steam, an online platform to buy games that has approximately 120 million monthly active players. The hack involved more than defacing the forum. User names purchased games, and credit card information of gamers have been taken.

“Criminals are targeting gamers at an increasing pace,” Akamai security researcher Steve Ragan was quoted as saying by BBC. “Gamers are a demographic known for spending money on their hobby, and they’re highly engaged, making them a consistent resource for the criminal economy to mine.”

With so many hacks with gamers, it is to note for gamers to not download illegal and unregulated games,t because it is probable that malware like Crackonosh will be able to infect computers. After all, in our world, nothing is free, so when people download pirated software for free, someone else is likely taking advantage of them.

Header image by Michael Geiger on Unsplash

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George Lim

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