A report by AVG Viruslab Research Group has found that up to 90% of all video game hacks contain malware, putting gamers’ systems at risk.
Hacks are commonly used by gamers to fast-forward their progress by unlocking new items or abilities, or to gain the upper hand in games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. This involves downloading a file from the internet and applying it to the game files on the players’ system.
Another common use for hacks is to play games the user hasn’t paid for, by way of a “crack” or a licence key generator.
AVG analysed common hack services such as FilesTube and FileCrop and discovered that more than 90% of the files being offered contained some form of malware or malicious code that can be used to harvest passwords, account information, bank details and even social media account details.
In a quick test, AVG’s researchers searched FileCrop for a Diablo 3 hack. 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.
This malicious code would attempt to decrypt the saved website passwords stored in the machine’s web browser keypass. Any sensitive information it found would then be sent back to the attacker via email.
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.
Have you had any cases of a seemingly innocent game hack becoming a major problem? Let us know in the comments below!