Beware of the “Grand Theft Auto V” malware mods

Cyber criminals are now onto creating malware masquerading as modifications (MODS) for the Grand Theft Auto V video game.

GTA V permits players to modify their gaming environment with “mods” (modifications).

It’s all been done for good purposes until recently two of the mods – “Angry Planes” and “No Clip” – have caused warnings on popular forums for the game players.

The No Clip mod is booted as a means to develop ghost-like ability within the game, enabling the gamer to walk through solid walls (a la Cipher from Marvel’s X-Men), while the Angry Planes mod means that gamers are hassled by aggressive pilots (somewhat like the crop duster scene from Hitchcock’sNorth by Northwest, but the added planes and bomb additions are hazardous).

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The modifications actually did what they claimed, but also installed a key-stroke stealing malware component which poses an acute security threat for infected Windows-system gamers.

“The installed malware has a black dove logo and has been identified as ‘fade.exe‘ or ‘Trekker.exe‘. Malwarebytes identified it as Trojan.Agent.TRK,” the firm said.

This malware is far from solely interested in game-related passwords. The whole set-up is a slightly more elusive deviation of well-worn social engineering tactics. Administrators of a GTA V forum have already issued threat warnings.

Security firm Malwarebytes have analyzed the mischievous files circulated through the scam – acknowledged by the security firm as Trojan-Agent-TRK – in their latest blog post.

Chris Boyd, a security researcher at Malwarebytes and avid gamer, told El Reg that such suspicious ad-on’s thrown towards gamers are a typical mischievous act. Boyd further added that Game modifications have been on constant target since years from an older version of GTA coming under fire from a notorious GTA: Hoodlife fake mod inclosing malware back in 2007.

It’s all greener pastures for malware authors because the series fans tend to extend their life spans in the game through modding. However, he said that Rockstar could enhance mod safety by opening up the Steam workshop to mod downloads, but it’s still unavailable as of now.

He concluded that if there is no urgency for hosting mods on Steam then gamers are bound to rely on third-party sites for downloads. It’s rather convenient for bad files to slip through on forums and fan-made websites than a service such as Steam with various checks and hidden security features making it more complex.

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.