Steam game hijacks your computer to mine cryptocurrency

A game called Abstractism has hit the news for essentially hijacking gamers’ computers to turn them into crypto-currency miners without their consent, according to SidAlpha.

SidAlpha started investigating after seeing some people complaining about getting tricked into getting the game by getting offered items in it that looked a lot like valuable Team Fortress items.

The game bills itself as a minimalist platformer – which made it very weird how much in the way of resources it consumed.

According to Polygon, a user posted a screenshot of a Malwarebytes scan which listed one of the game’s executable files as a threat. Okalo Union claimed that this was required so that the game could drop items.

Another user noted that the files seemed to be mining crypto-currency.

The developer claimed that they felt Bitcoin was outdated, and they were using the game to mine Monero. They then claimed that they were not using the game to mine cryptocurrency, despite Monero being a known cryptocurrency.

The game has subsequently been removed from Steam.

My Take

Nobody tell EA.

It has been a long time since Steam was the premier destination to buy games that you could be relatively sure were good, nowadays it is a place where you can buy more or less anything – which means a fair chunk of scamming has been going on for a while.

This wasn’t helped by Steam’s announcement regarding its standards in June, when it said so long as a game isn’t illegal or outright trolling it is okay.

And gaming in general has a fair record for pushing the envelope on what is acceptable in a finished product. I remember when we used to complain about downloadable content – now we’ve got micro-transactions in $60 titles, which have about $40 worth of additional content if you want to get the full experience.

You can bet if a big publisher got wind of someone actually getting away with what Abstractism’s developer’s pulled, we’d see it appearing within AAA titles within a week as an exciting new service generating player choice or some such buzzwordy nonsense.


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