Google Chrome users seeking to download pirated software risk being infected with new malware

SINGAPORE – Internet users, especially those using Google’s Chrome browser, should think twice before illegally downloading video games and other software.

Software researchers have warned of ChromeLoader, a malware that masquerades as pirated digital files and allows hackers to steal data or install ransomware on infected computers.

“This malware has been observed to be distributed using malicious ISO and DMG files via advertisements, browser redirects and YouTube video comments,” said the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team ( SingCert) from the Singapore Cyber ​​Security Agency, which raised the alert on Wednesday. .

An ISO file is a digital copy of the content originally found on a DVD or CD. It is often used as a backup of disk contents.

The file can be accessed with the right software on a device running the Windows operating system, as if reading from a DVD or CD.

A DMG file is the ISO equivalent of Apple devices.

Most pirated versions of software or video games available online are usually in ISO or DMG format.

Cybercriminals typically distribute ChromeLoader via an ISO file posing as pirated software on social media platforms, torrents and pirate websites, according to a Monday report from security firm VMware Carbon Black. Malware can even be associated with pirated software.

The malware activates once users download and run the “installer” program in the ISO file.

VMware also noted instances of ChromeLoader mimicking legitimate programs such as OpenSubtitles – which helps users find subtitles for popular movies and TV shows – and online music player FLB Music.

In such cases, the malware is triggered when users try to install the downloaded program.

VMware said the impact of a malware infection varies.

Some ChromeLoader variants force the device to download and install a Chrome extension, which modifies browser settings to display search results from unwanted advertising websites.

Others release programs that steal information from infected devices, install ransomware, or even crash systems by overloading them with data.

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