The digital-age crime, cryptojacking, has been popping up more frequently, showing up anywhere from browser miners to installed software mining. Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of a computer to mine cryptocurrencies. While there are some situations where a website may inform users that their computer’s resources are being used to mine in exchange for an ad-less site, many malicious mining programs are installed to mine cryptocurrencies directly into the thieves wallets with out permission.
It seems not even the gaming platform Steam is safe as criminals have managed to add a fake game that was created to secretly mine cryptocurrencies on the computers of players into the Steam store. The game, Abstractism, has recently been removed from Steam after a large number of users reported it was installing mining software on their computers. The game was reported to be highly CPU intensive, which was odd for a simple puzzle game. Many said their anti-virus software alerted several files in the game as threats and were identified as cryptomining programs. When the developer Okalo Union was questioned about concerns, he attributed the high CPU usage to the high quality graphics and even suspiciously assured users that it was okay to always leave the game running in the background when not playing.
In addition to cryptojacking, scammers were selling game items for Abstractism and disguising them as other high-priced items with similar names from other games. Many complained they would purchase game items from 3rd party websites and realized the item they thought would work in games like Team Fortress 2 were really worthless items from Abstractism. It is unclear if the fake item scammers and the developers of the game are related, but it is clear the game had other intentions besides just being played for fun. Steam pulled the game from the store on July 30th, and said,
“We have removed Abstractism and banned its developer from Steam for shipping unauthorized code, trolling with content, and scamming customers with deceptive in-game items.”