Earlier this week, Call of Duty Warzone fans enjoyed a major update to Season 2 update from Activision. But if you’re trying to get ahead of the competition by downloading cheats for CoD: Warzone, there are some major risks you need to be aware of. Besides running the risk of getting banned by Activision, hackers are now taking advantage of the sheer level of demand for Call of Duty cheats as a way to spread dangerous malware.
As reported by Vice, a new report from Activision has analysed the risk Call of Duty players face when downloading Warzone cheats.
According to the security experts, thousands of players are putting their data – and their PC – at risk by downloading these bogus cheats. A forum thread promoting the COD ‘cheat’ was viewed over 10,000 times and received 260 replies, while the YouTube video was viewed around 5,000 times.
One specific bogus cheat analysed by the security experts was found to be a stealthy way for cyber-criminals to install malware on players’ PCs and take control of their machine remotely.
What Call of Duty Warzone players actually downloaded was a malware dropper called ‘Cod Dropper v0.1′. Droppers are the first chain in a malware attack, with these Trojans critical to hackers’ attempts to get a piece of malicious software loaded onto a victim’s machine.
In this latest case, it’s reported the COD malware campaign was designed to infect PCs fitted with powerful graphics processors so that bad actors can mine cryptocurrency from a targeted PC.
Speaking about the threat in the report online, Activision said: “The video gaming industry is a popular target for various threat actors. Players as well as studios and publishers themselves are at risk for both opportunistic and targeted cyber-attacks – tactics range from leveraging fake APKs of popular mobile games, to compromising accounts for resale.”
While discussing the threat of the COD ‘cheat’ malware the report added: “This particular tool is considered a dropper, a piece of malware that is used to install or deliver an additional payload, such as credential stealing malware, on a target system or device. A dropper is a means to an end, rather than the end itself – but still is a critical link in the chain. The dropper examined in this report, ‘Cod Dropper v0.1’, can be customised to install other, more destructive, malware onto the targets’ machines”.
Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, added: “Installing cheats and other programs that require the user to disable their antivirus and internet protection is asking for trouble. The malware creators are well aware of the steps taken to install cheats, which makes their job increasingly simple.
“It is never advised to disabled internet security, especially when the software being opened is not regulated or approved. Game cheaters are often well aware of these risks, but relax their worries in order to focus on what they believe to be more important. However, this has always played into the hands of malicious actors who have long taken advantage of this desire to complete games.”
Besides the risk of installing malware onto your machine, using cheats can lead to your access to Call of Duty online be revoked. Back in February, Activision banned over 60,000 Call of Duty Warzone accounts for cheating, with over 20,000 users banned last September.