Fake PC Games Used to Spread Malware, Kaspersky Report Reveals

Gamers, beware! A new security report from Kaspersky Labs reveals that over 900,000 users have been tricked into downloading malware which was disguised into legit video games. Moreover, these malicious files were hosted on the very same platform alongside legit products. I some instances, the hackers would trick the user into downloading malware by enticing him with new releases, expansion packs, or even games that don’t even exist. Major online gaming platforms like Steam, GOG Galaxy, Xbox, or Origin have already sanitized most of its content, but have issued a warning to all users that should refrain from downloading suspicious content.

I’m a gamer! What should I look out for?

Well, apart from spending too many hours without a bathroom break just because of the game’s way too awesome, you should consider thinking twice about downloading suspicious content. According to Kaspersky, this year alone, over 900,000 users were duped into downloading malware. How you ask? By masking it into games published on legitimate platforms. So, out of the 900,000 spoofed people, some 310,000 got infected after downloading a fake version of Minecraft, 112,000 with GTA 5, and 105,000 with Sims 4.

Moreover, per the same report, it would seem that the hackers’ tactic would differ from platform to platform. For instance, in some cases, users were tricked into downloading malicious software after clicking on links related to pre-release games. Among the most popular spoofs are Elder Scrolls 6, FIFA 2020, Borderlands 3, and, of course, the CD Projekt Red’s upcoming Cyberpunk 2077.

So, what can you do to protect yourself against malware hiding in video games installation packages? Well, first of all, don’t download games from untrusted sources. This applies to torrents as well. Another thing you may want to try would be to check the websites’ authenticity. You can do that by checking if the address is https compliant, no typos\ad-libs, or content that has yet to be released. Stay away from stuff like free games or pre-releases.


What a time to be alive and gaming! Still, that doesn’t mean that you should wall yourself up and ditch online games. So, what’s your take on gaming platforms malware? Head to the comments section and let me know.

About Daniel Sadler

Old-school PC gamer, poetry buff, cat lover, tech wiz. His writing career began almost two decades ago when he modestly acknowledged that hindsight or, lack thereof, can compromise security. He enjoys spending quality time with his friends and family. Most of his friends refer to Daniel as a "man of a few words, but, man, what words!" His interests include cybersecurity, IT, blogging, and, of course, everything related to technology.

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