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Dangerous games — pirated and others

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Monday, May 15, 2023

It’s our users themselves who remind us of the dangers of games downloaded from dubious sources: for example, our technical support service and the Doctor Web forum are frequently contacted by victims whose systems have been compromised by miners from the Trojan.Autoit.289 (a.k.a. John miner) family. In most cases, the cause of infection is a pirated version of a game downloaded from a torrent tracker.

Trojan.Autoit.289 family members have wide functionality. This malware family includes a miner, a backdoor, a stealer for pillaging logins and passwords, a clipper for stealing cryptocurrencies, and the EternalBlue exploit, which takes advantage of a vulnerability in the SMB protocol to distribute, for example, the notorious WannaCry. So, they can cause diverse damage to a system!

Unfortunately, this is far from the only example: pirated versions of games often contain malware that can damage a computer, steal personal data or be used in cyberattacks carried out on other computers.

We will tell you to what other problems and risks can arise from a mindless addiction to illegal copies of online games.

Breaking the law and legal consequences

Downloading and using pirated games can lead to legal consequences, including fines and possible criminal prosecution. Game developers, like other authors, have the right to protect their works and control their distribution and use. Replicating games without the prior permission of rights holders is an infringement of a copyright, i.e., piracy in which those who play such games also participate.

Not only sellers, but also buyers, of the pirated content can be fined for its distribution. For example, in 2019, the UK government handed down its verdict on one of the users who downloaded and used an illegal version of the game “Football Manager”. The user was ordered to pay £5,000 to compensate for infringing on a copyright.

Cybercriminals and computer viruses

Pirated versions of games are not scanned in advance for viruses and other malware, so they can be dangerous for computers. In addition, they are not updated or supported by developers, which leads not only to errors and crashes, but also increases the risk of computers getting infected with malware.

Attackers can also intentionally modify such games by injecting malware into them. This can cause rather unpleasant consequences for users. For example, in 2017, the pirated version of “The Sims 4” was distributed together with encryption ransomware that blocked access to files and demanded a ransom payment in exchange for their restoration. And in 2015, malware called “Bitcoin-mining malware” was discovered in a pirated version of “Watch Dogs”. This program used the computing power of PCs to mine cryptocurrency without user consent.

Planking and the fire ordeal

In addition to pirates and hackers, the Internet has many dangers, some of which can lead to injury and even death. For example, dubious challenges proposing that people perform tasks “on a dare” may include dangerous actions. For example, planking: Internet users lie face down in unusual places. The challenge seems harmless, but in 2011, a 20-year-old Australian performed planking on a balcony, lost his balance and plunged to his death after falling from the 7th floor. Some challenges may involve self-injury, but this stops neither adults nor children from participating in them. For example, the “Fire ordeal”, which for many results in second- and third-degree burns, involves having to apply a flammable substance to part of one’s body and bringing a lit match close to it.

The Anti-virus Times recommends

  • Do not download pirated versions of games as a way of saving money — you can wait, for example, for seasonal sales or advantageous promos offered by game stores.
  • Avoid dangers not only for your computer, but also for your health: do not allow yourself to be led by those who propose potentially risky dares. There are no practical benefits to proving your abilities to strangers on the Internet.

#copyright #gamer #legislation #games

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