Why you should stay away from cracked software.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Friday July 2nd. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing writer on cybersecurity for ITWorldCanada.com.

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It’s a long weekend here thanks to the Canada Day celebration, so today’s podcast will be shorter than normal. If you have the day off, thanks for listening.

Everybody loves saving money. But in computing, trying to save money by downloading illegal copies of applications – what security experts call cracked software – will only cause grief. Usually those behind cracked software steal your data, corrupt your machine and may end up making you a victim of fraud.

What brings this to mind is a report last month from an anti-virus firm called Avast, which outlined new malware it calls Crackonosh. It installs cryptomining software that uses victims’ computers to secretly mine for cryptocurrency. The money it makes goes to the crooks. The malware isn’t detected because soon after being installed it disables the computer’s anti-virus software and prevents Windows from downloading security updates. It also installs a fake Windows security shield with a green checkmark in the computer’s system tray so victims think their machine is running OK.

This malware has been seen in a number of countries including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Poland and India. Among the phony versions of games this malware is being used in are Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2019, The Sims 4, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and more.

Avast estimates since 2018 this malware has infected over 222,000 computers around the world and earned its developers over 2 million. This gang only wants to use your computer to mine for cryptocurrency. Other gangs that offer free but infected software steal data and install ransomware. As the report says, when you try to steal software odds are someone is trying to steal from you.

That’s it for now. Because it’s a holiday weekend here there won’t be a Week in Review podcast this afternoon.

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