Security researchers at the game company published an in-depth report on malware, uncovering a clever malware campaign.
Activision security researchers discovered that the Call of Duty: Warzone cheat advertised on popular cheat forums was actually malware that allowed hackers to gain control of victims’ computers.
The cheat installed Dropper, a kind of malicious application that can be used to download and install other types of malware via the victim’s computer.
The report says: The Dropper tool can be customized to install other, more destructive malware across target devices.
The new malware campaign targets gamers, and one of its goals is to use powerful gamer GPUs to mine cryptocurrencies.
The cheat industry is booming in popular online games, and these tricks are being used by thousands of gamers, some of which are routinely banned from game companies that use anti-cheat systems.
Many common cheat software requires users to disable anti-virus programs and grant cheat programs the highest security privileges over the computer in order to remain undetected by anti-cheat programs.
With security features disabled, players may not see red flags warning them that the app they downloaded is actually malware.
Activision researchers write in the report: When it comes to this, the true dependencies of the cheating process are the same that most malware tools need to successfully implement. System protection must be bypassed or disabled, and privileges must be escalated to allow the program to function properly.
While this method is somewhat simplified, it is a social engineering technique that stimulates the target’s desire to voluntarily lower security protections and ignore warnings about running potential malware.
Targeting Call of Duty: Warzone players makes sense because it is a free game that millions of people play, and there are also thousands of cheaters, who are routinely blocked.
In February, Activision banned more than 60,000 players, while in September it banned nearly 20,000 players.
It is noteworthy that this is not the first time that hackers have tried to take advantage of the demand for fraud to penetrate computers.
And cybersecurity firm Cisco Talos is published Report About another malicious program hidden inside a cheat app, and researchers haven’t specified which game this malware is targeting.