Just this morning we reported on a game, available via Steam that goes by the name of Abstractism. The game was designed to be a benign platform designed for procrastination and wasting time. After further investigation by YouTuber, SidAlpha, it transpires that the game actually contained an illicit cryptocurrency miner, that was abusing the processing powers of users computers to illegally mine cryptocurrencies.
“This is yet another example of how malicious mining is very easy to integrate into everyday activities. Seemingly normal downloads and applications can conceal illicit cryptocurrency miners that are designed to utilise your computing power. Not only will this slow your machine down, it also increases your energy usage and thus, increases your energy bills. These scams are so successful as, as you can see from this example, the malware is so easy to hide, yet so hard to detect.”
Since the reports surfaced, Steam have now made efforts to remove the game from their platform, yet in doing so, they have revealed something even move concerning. It seems that the game had actually been been built to encourage users to play the game very frequently, and even leave the game open during periods of downtime. The purpose of this, was to ensure that the game was live for the longest time possible, giving the algorithms more time and more opportunity to illegally mine more cryptocurrency. Moreover, the game has also been found to directly scammed users out of their own money too. According to The Next Web:
“Under further scrutiny, it became evident that even the game mechanics were focused around encouraging users to either play the game frequently, for long periods of time, or to leave the game open and running for hours at a time.”
“But the problems didn’t stop here, the game was also scamming unwitting Steam users out of sizeable sums of money. Members on Team Fortress 2 (TF2) forums complained about being duped into buying expensive items they thought were meant for TF2 only to discover the items were in reality for Abstractism.”
See more for yourself, here.
Abstractism have simply denied that they have any involvement in the production of an illegal miner and in the scamming of its users. Reports state that even now the game has been taken down, the team behind Abstractism refuse to admit that they have created a cryptocurrency miner within the game.
This is all a bit of a mess and could call into question the legitimacy of other games on the Steam platform. If Abstractism was allowed to happen, who knows how many other games on the platform may include malicious miners etc. It’s a scary prospect, but we could very well see a lot more stories like this over the coming weeks.