Don’t feel like paying the Australia Tax for Watch Dogs? That’s the excuse people will be using to illegally download the new Ubisoft epic later this week, but pirates beware: you never really know what you’re getting in an illegal download. You might just be installing a Bitcoin miner on your computer.
Torrents are popping up online for cracked versions of Watch Dogs‘ PC version before the official release date tomorrow, but you should exercise a deal of caution before nabbing them.
According to Slashgear, many of the illegal copies include a file buried inside the game’s install files called “Winlogin.exe”. It disguises itself as a copy of a legitimate process on your machine, and actually turns your PC into a covert Bitcoin miner.
For those unaware of how Bitcoin mining works, it basically uses resources from your computer’s GPU to break down complex algorithms. Those who crack the algorithms are rewarded with a block of Bitcoins for their trouble.
The only issue with Bitcoin mining is when you covertly get other people’s computers to do it. That’s what this hidden process does: it siphons up to 25 per cent of your computer’s GPU power to mine Bitcoins, and then sends them off to someone else’s bank account.
Someone in Australia had the bright idea to find a highly-powered computer at their workplace and use it to mine Bitcoins too. The problem was that the workplace was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and the computers were used to render programming. Whoops.
You might be getting a cheaper copy of the game, but you’re hurting yourself if you choose to do it. [Slashgear]