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Dear Gamers Beware of The Malware Hidden Inside Cheat Codes!

For some Gamers, cheat codes have been the saving grace when playing becomes tough. While codes indeed help them boost their performance with ease, they will now have to think twice before applying them because hackers have recently found a way to inject malware into a video game through the similar cheat codes.

By doing so, attackers are able to take control of the victims’ microphones or web cameras, as stated in Cisco Talos research published this Wednesday.

The campaign works in a way that malware remains hidden in files that look legitimate and then users download them to run game patches, tweaks or modding tools. The malware is called XtremeRAT and it has the ability to capture audio or video of the targeted individual through the microphones or web cameras, take screenshots without the victim’s permission, upload and download files and also log keystrokes.

According to Cisco Talos, Gamers who have already been attacked made the mistake of accessing the download links of game cheats suggested in the description of relevant YouTube videos and social media forums where discussions were being carried out about a specific game.

Overall, this all only shows how dangerous can it be for you to install random software from unauthorized resources even as a gamer.

The researchers also pointed out that hackers who carry out this operation use VisualBasic-based cryptor to obscure the malware and with that, they have also made their campaign to remain unaffected by anti-malware tools.

Although the researchers are not sure about the perpetrators, but looking at the records provided by FireEye research, in the recent past XtremeRAT has been used in espionage and cybercrime campaigns alike.

Carrying out scams through video game cheat codes is an easy way to make money for attackers. Earlier this week, Chinese police and Tencent also managed to find out a video game cheat ring that was already making $76 million in revenue by selling cheat codes to popular video games including names like Call of Duty Mobile or Overwatch.

This isn’t the first time that video gamers have become a target of hackers as in recent times there was also a team in Asia caught for updating the mechanism of video games compatible to run on PCs and Macs. The purpose of this move was to keep an eye on gamers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka.

We also saw how Valorant players were also targeted with malware last year and according to Sophos they also lost their usernames and passwords.

Last but not the least, how can we forget the adware targeted at Minecraft players that created a massive rage.


Read next: Tencent and Chinese Law Enforcement Authorities put an end to the world’s biggest video game-cheat operations

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