Everyone wants to enjoy their favorite video games on Android. However, there are “cracked” versions that offer advantages over others. Also known as “pirate games”, the cybersecurity company ESET warns about the dangers of downloading this type of software on your mobile devices.
Pirated games are those that have been altered to circumvent the digital rights management (DRM), a technology designed to protect copyrighted content. By doing so, they allow users to access and play the titles without paying their developers or distributors.
ESET shared the five reasons to stay away from pirated video games for Android as they could harm users.
Cybercriminals often use the name of a popular video game and the lure of free content to lure users into downloading malware-infected software. This can happen through social media posts or direct messages, phishing emails, or even through search engine rankings or torrent files. Malware is often designed to bypass traditional security filters or may require the user to disable their anti-malware software entirely. They also tend to ask for excessive permissions to run. Malware can also be hidden in mods, that is, in additional files needed to continue playing.
Banking Trojans can steal financial and personal data, while keyloggers can obtain all kinds of personal information from devices. Not to forget Ransomware, which blocks access to the machine and will demand payment, and the botnet, which turns the device into a zombie machine controlled by attackers and uses it to carry out other attacks.
Although not as dangerous as a malware infection, adware can be a nuisance for PC and Android mobile users. Constant browser pop-ups will flood the victim with videos and static advertisements, making normal use of the device/PC more and more difficult. In 2020, 21 gaming apps were removed from Google Play for containing intrusive adware.
Pirated games may seem like a good way to get access to coveted titles for free, but the reality is often different. For example, the game may never work properly; or that has errors or failures that seriously impair its performance. It can also happen that it is incomplete or stops working after a while. In other situations there may be compatibility issues. That is, if users attempt to add pirated software to their Steam library, they will be identified as non-Steam games and will not be able to access the full functionality of the platform.
There is also the possibility that the official game developer may be able to trace pirated software to specific devices and computers, and blacklist linked accounts, either partially or permanently. This is particularly a risk on video game console platforms like the Xbox, where vendors have been extremely proactive with such efforts in the past.
Finally, it is important to remember that the use of pirated video games is illegal. If it is possible to track the use of cracked software, depending on the jurisdiction you live in this could lead to fines or even jail time.
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