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Cryptojacking is a growing problem and gamers are particularly being targeted by malware that uses their computers to mine for cryptocurrencies, according to a recent study published by security firm Avast. According to research, cyber criminals are targeting gamers with a cryptocurrency malware called ‘Cracknosh’. Cracknosh was installed on gamers’ systems when free versions of games like NBA 2K19, Grand Theft Auto V, Far Cree 5, The Sims 4, and Jurassic World Evolution were downloaded from unreliable sources like torrent.

In June of this year, a team at G Data Software discovered a hacking campaign that targeted gamers using Steam. Researchers at Cisco-Talos found the malware inside multiple game cheat software. And Akamai Security Research recently reported a 340 percent increase in the number of cyberattacks on gamers during the coronavirus epidemic.

Gadgets 360 was caught with Daniel Benes, a malware researcher with Avast and threats, to find out more about why gamers are being targeted and how to protect our devices from attacks.

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What is cryptojacking? How is it installed on a user’s system?

In cryptojacking malware, the attacker uses the resources of infected machines in cryptocurrency mining. This malware has become popular with the first wave of cryptocurrencies and the Bitcoin boom. Since 2018, lots of different techniques have been used (by hackers) to infect personal computers. Dartimo (a Windows botnet) is an example of this using known system vulnerabilities.

How did the team at Avast detect the recent threat from Krakonosh Malware?

We started our research after discovering a post on Reddy about a missing Avas folder from a user’s system. We detected this problem and found a new malware that we called ‘Cracknosh’.

How did the name ‘Cracknosh’ come about?

The name Krakonosh is a combination of words – Krakonos, a fairy tale character and the spirit / protector of the Czech Giant Mountains, and crack software. Another interpretation of the Czech word means one who brings (-noŇ°) cracked software (crack).

Is malware easily detectable once installed? How can a user detect that their system has been infected with a cryptocurrency malware?

Cracknosh works great to hide itself on the computer but has the same flaws as other cryptojacking malware. An infected computer becomes slow, unresponsive, and fans go loud because of all the heat generated by mining on the devices. Users can also have problems with shorter battery life and higher power consumption.

What do you think of Cracknosh malware specifically targeting gamers?

The piracy of computer games is so great that it pays attackers to crack the game or pack cracked games with cracknos, as we can see in our numbers. People who download cracked games are certainly not as concerned about their security as other PC users.

Is there a user group that is more susceptible to cryptocurrency attacks?

All people who download and run software from unreliable sources are vulnerable to cryptojacking attacks. Also people who solve their cybersecurity problems by mentioning “there is nothing to steal or destroy my computer”. There is a danger of cryptojacking.

According to your report, India is one of the most affected countries by cryptocurrency. Why do you think this is happening?

India is one of the most populous countries; So it is not surprising that India is being targeted the most.

What can users do to protect their devices against cryptozacking attacks?

Users should install all the security updates available for their PC and use antivirus software. Most importantly, you need to trust (enable) the source of any file you want to download from the Internet. Regarding PC software, its developers and vendors are the source you should trust.


Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all aspects of crypto with Gadgets 360 podcasts with Nishal Sethi, CEO of WazirXX and Alok Jain, founder of WeekendInvesting. Orbital Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you find your podcasts.

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