A new cryptocurrency scam targeting gamers has already siphoned off $2 million in Monero

A new cryptocurrency scam targeting gamers has already siphoned off $2 million in Monero
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  • Researchers at Avast have detected a new cryptojacking malware that’s targeting gamers across the globe, including India.
  • Dubbed Crackonosh, the malware is assumed to have a Czech origin.
  • The hackers behind the scam have made over $2 million in Monero (XMR) through the scam.
Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 players are being duped into mining for cryptocurrency — and they may not even know it.

In their quest to profit off of the currency rage around cryptocurrencies, hackers have now turned their attention to gamers as per new research by antivirus software make Avast. The report highlights that cybercriminals are spreading malware by duping people into downloading games that are laced with malware.

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Avast has been able to catch over 800 cases on a daily basis. The researchers estimate that the perpetrators have been able to make over $2 million worth of Monero (XMR) through the scam using the malware called Crackonosh.

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Monero is a privacy coin that is infamous for being used by cybercriminals because it is much more difficult to trace than other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

A new cryptocurrency scam targeting gamers has already siphoned off $2 million in Monero
Avast blog post

What is Crackonosh and how does it work?

According to Avast, Crackonosh has been able to fly under the radar because the malware has built-in mechanisms to disable security software and updates. This makes it difficult for victims to detect the program, let alone remove it from their systems.
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A new cryptocurrency scam targeting gamers has already siphoned off $2 million in Monero
Reddit via Avast blog post

The malware itself is assumed to have Czech origins, but its victims are spread out all over the world — the US, the Philippines, Brazil and even India, which accounts for 6% of the overall people affected.

A new cryptocurrency scam targeting gamers has already siphoned off $2 million in Monero
Avast blog post

Cryptojacking schemes, like Crackonosh, install malware called miners into unsuspecting users’ computers, which then use the computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency.
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This makes gamers amongst the most lucrative targets, since gaming devices carry the most powerful processors and graphics chips in the PC segment.

Cyrptojacking is the new ‘get rich quick’ scheme

The Crackonosh malware is a part of the growing number of cryptojacking schemes that security experts have detected across the internet over the past year.

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Fellow cybersecurity firm and antivirus software provider, Kaspersky, warned that cryptojacking scams were on the rise earlier this month. The company said it had seen over 432,171 encounters with such malware between January to March in 2021. And, 200,045 of these encounters were in the month of March alone.

Malware researchers from CISCO also found such malware embedded in cheat software for games in March.

Even before the boom of 2021, Japanese tech services provider, NTT, claims that cryptojacking malware accounted for 41% of all malware last year.

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Since they run in the background, such scams are tough to detect. Issues like slow or sluggish performance, wearing out of components and increased electricity bills — for those who run external graphics chips — could be a sign that your PC has been infected.

For a more in-depth discussion, come on over to Business Insider Cryptosphere — a forum where users can deep dive into all things crypto, engage in interesting discussions and stay ahead of the curve.


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