If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably come across a game that just seems impossible to complete. That’s because, thanks to the internet, it’s so simple to look for cheats to games on YouTube to help you level up. Most cheats exist in the form of software patches that execute files in order to activate the cheat. However, malware and PUP (short for “potentially unwanted program”) authors are using gaming cheats to trick users into downloading their malicious files in order to make a profit. And that’s exactly what YouTube channel owner “LoL Master” has been doing to “League of Legends” players.
So how exactly does this “LoL Master” trick these innocent users? The cybercriminal uploads videos to his or her YouTube channel that demonstrate how to use various cheat files, which also provide links pointing to websites that allegedly distribute cheats and stolen accounts. When players click on these links, however, they’re now exposed to cyberthreats.
When on these sites, players will be prompted to download the cheat files, but the files are actually bundled with other malicious files uploaded by wannabe cybercriminals. If users click download, PUP installers distribute the bundled files and push them onto a victim’s device. “LoL Master” makes a profit on these downloads while the victim’s device suffers from malware.
“League of Legends” players may not pick up on this scheme for a number of reasons. First, the file hosting site falsely claims that the malware analysis software VirusTotal scanned the file. Second, the site attempts to block antimalware scanners from detecting the malicious files by putting them in a password-protected zip file. If the player isn’t using antimalware software, the PUP installer will push adware or other malicious software onto the victim’s device once they unzip the file.
So, what steps can players take to avoid this malicious trick? Check out the following tips to help protect your online security:
- Browse with caution. Although it may seem harmless to peruse YouTube comments and descriptions, malware and PUP authors use this as a vector to push their malicious downloads. Use discretion when clicking on any links included in these comments.
- Don’t download something unless it comes from a trusted source. It is one thing to browse around YouTube comments, it is another entirely to download items from sketchy sites. Only download software from legitimate sources, and if you’re unsure if the site is trustworthy, it is best to just avoid it entirely.
- Use security software to surf the web safely. It can be hard to identify which sites out there are malicious. Get some support by using a tool like McAfee WebAdvisor, which safeguards you from cyberthreats while you browse.