Well, this is ironic.
At least one leaked copy of upcoming console game Watch Dogs (whose main character is a hacker) apparently contains Bitcoin mining malware. If you’re stealing video games, this virus will steal computer processing power from you!
Watch Dogs is a hot new third-person shooter game set in Chicago. The story is told through Aiden Pearce, a hacker who uses his smartphone to break into the city’s Central Operating System to control Chicago. The game, made by Ubisoft, is apparently breaking pre-sale records, even though it isn’t scheduled for release until May 27.
Naturally, people don’t want to wait until the release, and the leaked PC version of Watch Dogs is all over torrent sites around the world.
According to multiple reports around the Internet, though, the highest-seeded Watch Dogs torrent is loaded with malware. The copy allegedly contains a virus that will run the process “Winlogin.exe” whenever the computer is on, upping CPU power consumption by at least 25 percent.
“Winlogin.exe” (not to be mistaken for “Winlogon.exe,” which is a legitimate computer operation) is actually a background Bitcoin mining operation, co-opting your CPU to earn the game uploader some quick coins.
Upon discovery of the malware, torrenters were not pleased. “If any of you have downloaded the SKIDROW release of this game, I suggest you start searching your system to see if you’re mining bit coins [sic] for the f****t who uploaded it,” reads one anonymous message posted online on Saturday and published by tech site WCCFTech.
This trick apparently happened with Grand Theft Auto V’s pirated fake torrent copies as well.
Protecting yourself against this type of virus, however, is simple, said Ron Gross, the Executive Director at Mastercoin Foundation.
“People should not install applications they don’t trust, and they should be careful in who/what they trust,” Gross told Coin Telegraph. “This is not different than any other virus/trojan that can be found in files downloaded off the internet.”
If you’ve already downloaded Watch Dogs, check your processes for the virus. Or, you know, don’t steal.
"Co-optive mining (malicious or unapproved mining as hidden executables) is here to stay as long as mining is considered a valid way of obtaining BTC or any other mine-able coin. The people doing this are just greedy and short-sighted. All they need to do is share their earnings - even a percentage - with the downloaders and they would have more mining partners than they could handle. It just doesn't make sense to try to hijack a process that is supposed to be about - and thrives in - an atmosphere of sharing." Rik Willard