Another large scale cryptocurrency scam has surfaced this week, with news of a ‘free game’ on gaming platform Steam, being used to deliver cryptocurrency mining malware to a large number of users.
Steam is a gaming and social platform that allows users to purchase and download a range of games, from all time classics to new games and trivial indie games designed to occupy the mind for a few minutes at a time. It is this latter genre that has been used to illicitly mine cryptocurrency from unsuspecting users.
The game is called Abstractism, according to pcgamesn.com, it is concealing a cryptocurrency miner:
“It appears that a game marketed on Steam as a “relaxing” and “absolutely trivial” platformer is in fact a prophylactic for some truly grimy money-making ploys. The game has dropped Steam trading items that closely imitate rare items from other games, such as TF2, in an apparent bid to scam item traders. More egregious still, it appears to contain an executable that may help the devs use your computer to mine cryptocurrency, and is flagged as a trojan by several antivirus packages. The game is called Abstractism, and the shady things it does came to our attention through a YouTube video and a TF2 forum post, both of which dropped over the weekend.”
See the full article for yourself, here.
Youtuber SidAlpha explains a little more about the game and the scam.
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.
How can I stay safe from this malware?
First of all, only download from trusted sources, though this alone isn’t enough to protect yourself. Ensure you have a good, up to date anti virus software on your computer, one that allows you to run regular updates.
Finally, if you notice your machine running slowly when carrying out certain activities, investigate it. If you find something untoward, check your antivirus, then check the forums.
Protecting yourself is important, as its the only way we can stamp this crime out for good.