50,000 Minecraft Users Exposed To Hard-Drive Formatting Malware

By Intan Mawarni on Apr 19, 2018

Minecraft is an interesting game where you can build anything to your heart’s content but someone has gone a bit too far in creating their own pixelated adventure.

According to a blog post from Avast, the cybersecurity company identified the harmful malware, capable of reformatting hard-drives and erasing backup data along with system programs.

The malicious Powershell script is implanted in several skins which are popularly used to customise the players’ Avatar in the game.  

PCGamesN reported that they found a tourstart.exe loop that could thwart system performance. By applying the skins, some users are getting sketchy messages like “You Are Nailed, Buy A New Computer This Is A Piece Of Shit” or “You have maxed your internet usage for a lifetime.”

If you’re wondering what kind of skins that can potentially destroy your data, PCGamesN posted the picture of three funky skins below to give us a heads-up.

Despite the built code not being exactly foolproof, this sparks a controversial question: how did this shoddy malware made it through official Minecraft servers, especially with the majority of Minecraft users are kids?

With 74 million players enjoying Minecraft with an uptick of 20 million players last year, 50,000 infected users seems like a small blotch compared to tens of millions players. Thankfully, there’s only a small number of players who are actively uploading modified skins.

According to a recent blog post from the Minecraft developer, this issue has been finally resolved. Although the malware is embedded in the PNG file which is the custom format for creating skins in the game, the code “would not be run or read by the game itself.”

In a wake of this issue, the creator Mojang also “deployed an update that strips out all the information from uploaded skin files other than the actual image data itself.”

Meanwhile, an updated antivirus software should filter out any unwanted code from ruining your Minecraft experience. Also, be mindful of downloading skins on the Minecraft website in the future.  

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Intan Mawarni
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Story-driven games like Uncharted and The Last of Us are my favourites. I write and play video games! Yay!
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