Malware developers recently leveraged the popularity of the Grand Theft Auto franchise to infect a number of Windows PCs with malicious programs.
Some enterprises utilize video games as a way to illustrate or test theories, or make such activities available for employees as a means to lessen stress and relax. Additionally, some businesses include video games in their efforts to attract new customers or keep young visitors engaged while adults receive services. Especially within these cases, users must be sure that the game they receive/ download is safe for their IT systems.
Users recently reported discovering leaked Windows versions of the game series’ latest installment, “Grand Theft Auto 5”, which was previously only available on consoles. Further investigation of the leaked game found that it was not an answer to the prayers of thousands of Windows users who had petitioned Rockstar to release a PC version of the game. It was, in fact, a malware program.
The torrent brings users to a phishing site that prompts visitors to input personal information to register the game on their system. The 18 GB file attachment is most likely laced with system-infecting malware in addition to junk data which wastes bandwidth.
Users should follow the rule of thumb that if the game has not been release on a platform, leaked versions are more than likely dangerous and should not be downloaded.
“But once you get to the registration part, you realize that you haven’t downloaded GTA at all, and your computer is now infected,” Forbes contributor Dave Thier wrote.
The malicious file has already been downloaded by thousands of Windows users. Additionally, the still-active torrent had several hundred seeders and leechers two days after reports first surfaced about the malware.
While strong computer monitoring software can prevent this kind of attack, infections of this nature are nothing new. Thier stated that within the last few years, users have discovered an array of free versions of widely utilized games containing malware. Many of these were released through the Android store and infected a large number of users before Google recognized the malicious programs and removed them.
Users should always exercise caution when downloading programs online. If a system’s monitoring software does not catch an infection of this type, individuals can utilize a Windows system restore application to bring the device back to its original settings with a simple reboot.