If you've ever been tempted to download a 'hack' for your favorite game to accelerate your progress, or to download a pirated copy of the latest title through a torrent or file-sharing site, watch out !
Anti-virus company AVG has today warns that over 90% of hacked or cracked games downloaded via torrent or file-sharing sites are infected with malware or malicious code. It claimed that a lot of these hacks didn't just contain malware, but were simply malware programs in disguise.
"Even if we assume that just 0.1% of the gamer playing the top five titles go looking for a hack - a highly conservative estimate - that means 330,000 people are potentially at risk of falling victim to game hack malware," said AVG.
The prevalence of cracked games, key generators, patches, cheats and more indicates that this is a highly organised, crime based, initiative. "This could lead to the loss of any legitimate, paid-for gaming assets, as well as sensitive personal data such as bank details and email or social media passwords."
In a quick test, AVG's researchers searched FileCrop for a Diablo 3 hack, one of the most popular 'swords and sorcery' games on the market. The FileCrop search result listed more than 40 hacks, all temptingly titled to encourage users looking for the greatest in-game rewards and benefits. For the biggest titles, such as World of Warcraft or Minecraft, a similar FileCrop search reveals hundreds of hacks.
At random, the team selected and downloaded a file called 'Diablo 3 Item generator and gold hack.zip'. After downloading and unpacking the file, the team's installed AVG Internet Security software immediately detected malicious code in the hack itself.
AVG suggests players only download official game patches and updates, and to use different account username and passwords for each of the accounts you use in games or online.