Welcome to Player Attack!
A torrent file claiming to be an early version of Watch_Dogs has leaked onto the internet days before the game's release, but it seems that gamers grabbing the file are getting more than they bargained for. A Bitcoin miner has been tucked into the archive, meaning that someone's potentially making big bucks off impatient pirates.
It's not unusual for a "leaked" video game torrent to also include a virus or two. Gamers who are into such things tend to consider them almost par for the course, but this one is a new variation on a theme.
While the attack could potentially have slipped under the radar if all it did was mine for Bitcoin, it does a few other things that are making victims' lives more difficult. Reports have come in of operating system instability, blue screen crashes and unusual CPU consumption immediately after installation, and these are likely to be simply the most obvious symptoms of a larger problem.
The virus apparently installs two exe files - winlogin.exe (not to be confused with the legitimate operating file winlogon.exe), and ltc.exe, which is a bitcoin miner.
If you have been affected by the malware - believed to be lurking in the SKIDROW "release" of the game - you should run a full virus scan on your computer, and take appropriate action.
By the way, you only have a couple of days left to wait for Watch_Dogs - it's hitting PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC on Tuesday, May 27.
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Jimmy the Geek
Jimmy the Geek