The dangers of pirated games and cracks

The dangers of pirated games and cracks

Video games and piracy have shared a common history since the beginning. A survey by the online magazine PC gamer even revealed that

90% OF READERS HAVE DOWNLOADED AT LEAST ONE pirate game in their lives

If you play video games, chances are that you own or have played a pirate version at some point. 


You are aware of the fact that this kind of behavior hurts the video game industry. But did you know that it's also dangerous for you? 


Let's say you want to play a video game but you don't want to pay for it. Of course, you know where to find pirate copies without having to register or without sharing your phone number. 


You do a little research and find the exact name of the cracked version of your game. As usual, a simple Google search is all it takes to find relevant information - a link to a pirated version and instructions on how to install it. 


You follow the steps given on the discussion board and soon, you can start playing.


What you don't know is that along with a pirate version of your game, you have also installed a malware on your PC!


Of course, infected files in video games are not a recent invention.


But these last years, hackers no longer wait for users to just find pirated games that are infected. They spread them on purpose, advertising them in Facebook events, Google groups, content creation sites like Medium or even on the well-known developer site GitHub!

Since 2018 malware developers have even launched a campaign against "clean" pirate sites (classic pirate sites, with pirate versions of video games and softwares, but no malware) to make them disappear from Google search results, or even shut down the sites entirely.


Nowadays, if you search for a pirate version of a video game, you are therefore much more likely than a few years ago to come across an infected version!


Video games and malware: recent examples



This malware installs a currency miner, but it also disables the most widely used antiviruses such as Avast, McAffee or Norton. But the software also blocks Windows Defender and Windows Update, preventing you from receiving automatic patches and updates. 


Even more recently, in June 2021, a malware installed apparently from pirated versions of video games as well as illegal versions of Photoshop was responsible for stealing over 26 million login information (usernames and passwords). Moreover, if your webcam was on, the malware also took your picture!

The danger associated with pirated versions of video games is therefore increasing, and the practices are becoming more and more sophisticated. 


Pirated versions: a danger for game developers


Of course, any pirate version is a significant loss of revenue for a company. Just like in the film or publishing industry, any unpaid version of a video game represents a direct loss of profit.


A few years ago, the video game industry looked the other way, letting pirate sites flourish. Some saw them as a necessary evil, or even a form of free advertising. Video game companies even claimed to include piracy in the development budget, considering it inevitable.


Nowadays, with the near disappearance of harmless hacking sites, piracy is not only a direct loss of money. The reputation of your company is also at stake. Indeed, if your game is the cause of a data theft or another form of ransomware, it doesn't matter if it's your fault or not, it's your image that will suffer, and therefore your reputation - and your sales! 


The most reliable solution is to monitor the network and remove pirated copies as soon as they appear.


We have the tools to fight against piracy! At Agence PDN we can help you by offering a tailor-made solution, adapted to the size of your company and to your budget, to prevent your product from being found on illegal sites.


Don't hesitate to contact our team of experts - we have over ten years of experience.


Next week, stay tuned to find out which games are the most pirated! 

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