Last week, we warned you that seemingly innocent free-to-play games could contain nasty surprises (like dialling the South Pole). This week, pesky hackers have planted malware inside “unauthorised copies” of the BBC’s recently-released Doctor Who title.
City of the Daleks is free-to-play in the UK, funded by the BBC’s licence fees (where everybody pays a small amount to keep the national broadcaster on the air), with geo-location software in place to prevent overseas gamers getting their hands on a copy.
International gamers will get their own (paid-for) versions of the game at a later date – but for some, that’s not enough – desperate Time Lord fans are turning to P2P networks in their search for the game, and that’s where the trouble starts.
We’re not just talking about the alleged copies of the game which are appearing on pay-to-download sites, either (although we do know of places who are offering the title for a mere £10 (around US$15), paid by SMS).
The bigger problem is that while some copies of the game might actually be what they claim, there are plenty of files around the place with different filesizes and filenames – and those are the ones to watch out for, containing malware, viruses and other nasties.
Security researcher (and apparent Who-fan) Chris Boyd explains:
“There are some things even the mighty sonic screwdriver can’t fix, and your PC is probably one of them!”
playerattack does not condone downloading games illegally, but we do have a few tips for you. The BBC’s original file is 331MB in size, and labelled Installer-CityoftheDaleks.exe. Sure, filesize is not a guaranteed way of ensuring a correct file – but that 475MB copy of Setup.exe isn’t really what you’re after.
“There are still a number of large files popping up on torrents and forums claiming to be versions of the game that can bypass the region protection – while the files examined so far don’t appear to be doing anything untoward, I have seen a couple of smaller sized files out there (2MB or less!) claiming to be Doctor Who games since the real thing was released.
“As you’ve probably guessed, they’re not very friendly.”
Another tip: Have a good virus-scanner on your computer – and use it. Dodgy file downloader sites are currently advising that you disable the software, allegedly so it doesn’t pick up that you are in the wrong part of the world. *cough* …if you believe that, maybe you deserve to get stung!
Source: Sunbelt Blog