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Crypto mining malware that use a computer’s resources to secretly mine cryptocurrency have been growing over the past year, and now hackers are going after gamers. According to a report by antivirus maker Avast, hackers are hiding malware in popular games, including Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, to infect devices. The malware in question, called Crackonosh, seems to be of Czech origin, and the researchers said the hackers have made over $2 million by infecting devices so far.

Also read: Android smartphone users alert! Remove these 8 apps laced with 'Joker' malware

Further, the researchers said that the malware had already been found on devices in a dozen countries. They found 13,779 instances in India, 16,584 in Brazil, 11,856 in the United States (US), 8,946 in the United Kingdom (UK), 18,448 in the Philippines, and 12,727 in Poland. The malware disables Windows updates and uninstalls security software installed on devices in order to prevent detection.

Crypto mining malware is popularly used to crowdsource crypto mining operations. As reported earlier, instances of such malware have been growing over the past year, amid a boom in the cryptocurrency sector. Earlier this month, security firm Kaspersky said it had observed over 200,000 instances of such malware in the first quarter of 2021 alone.

“It’s too early to say for sure if the trend we’ve noted in Q1 2021 is here to stay. However, it does seem that the increase in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency has sparked a renewed interest in miners.," said Evgeny Lopatin, a security expert at Kaspersky. “If the crypto markets remain strong this year, it’s likely we’ll continue to see more instances of users encountering miners," he added.

In its Global Threat Intelligence Report for 2021, Japanese tech services firm NTT noted that cryptojacking schemes like this accounted for 41% of all detected malware in 2020. Gamers use some of the most powerful PCs found on the market today, making them the perfect targets for crypto mining, which depends on computing power.

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