On Monday valves pulled an indie game from its digital game marketplace, Steam, which was allegedly a front for a cryptocurrency mining operation. The game, called Abstracticism allegedly hijacked the players' computers and used them to remind the crypto currency.
The scam is known as "kryptojacking"; When hackers force a victims computer to acquire resources to guess the correct value that validates a block of crypto currency transaction data. This process is extremely resource-intensive and can lead to overheating and slowdown. Cryptocurrency mining can be lucrative as miners are rewarded with digital coins that fraudsters receive without having to buy their own computers for mining.
Players claim that the developers also used the game to generate counterfeit digital items that used to cheat unsuspecting customers.
Develops Okalo Union and publishes dead.team released Abstractism on Steam March 1
SidAlpha and other internet sleuths-one as early as July 13 – dug around and noticed that it runs the small indie games that triggered system resources, triggered Windows Defender alerts, and triggered anti-virus software. The source of resource hogging and malware alerts, they thought, were malicious software embedded in the game that allegedly hijacked their machines and looped them into a cryptocurrency mining operation.
In an update to the game posted July 23, dead.team used its update notes to deny it was mining cryptocurrency. "Abstractism Launcher and Abstractism Inventory Service are not Bitcoin mines (and are not Monero mines too, honestly)," patch notes said, referring to two executable game runs. "These apps are required to connect to the steam and provide items for your item."
Monday, July 30th, the Valve game removed from Steam. "We have removed Abstractism and banned its Steam developer to send unauthorized code, trolling with content and wondering customers with deceptive features in the game," a Valve spokesman told me in an email. Valve did not speak to the unauthorized code with nature and did not respond to the question that it was cryptocurrency mining software.
"There have been a couple of cases lately where there has been a cryptominer or a form of virus [in a Steam game] but it has been extremely rare," SidAlpha told me via Skype. Last year, a scammer beat players of the popular game Fortnite for downloading cryptocurrency mining malware disguised as cheating for the game.
Cryptocurrency mining was just one of dead.team's revenue streams. Abstractism also generated forged digital objects, such as the faux golden rocket launcher for Team Fortress 2 that users could sell on gray market websites for a great profit. Rare Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 items can sell for hundreds of dollars and Abstractism generated digital goods that looked like the real thing but did absolutely nothing. 19659002] Sell fake digital goods on the gray market is an updated version of an old scam involving Steam's digital trading card. Valves broke down on the old scammers, but as Abstractism seems to show, they may have found a new way of making money.
"This underlines one of the fatal mistakes in how Steam manages its marketplace," said SidAlpha. "A game like this has an infinite repeatable digital element that can be sold and traded for real world money. Without any form of regulatory action, we will certainly see more of this kind of thing."
Between alleged crypto-currency mining and counterfeit goods , there is no telling how much money dead.team and Okla Union have done before Valve pulled a plug on Abstractism . According to Steampsy, a site that mines information about Steam games, around 6000 users downloaded the game and digital items were added a week ago.
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