CCleaner scam: How scammers lure users into expensive traps

Avast warns that cyber gangsters are abusing popular tools like CCleaner for dangerous attacks. This can lead to great financial damage. There is a well-known trick behind it.

Avast, a maker of well-known security and tool software, warns in a blog post against installing cracked software that is infected with malware. The problem would affect the popular CCleaner, among others.

The problem is not new; hackers and malware programmers have always been making cracked versions of well-known application programs or games available for free download on the Internet. Unlike the original versions, the cracked versions are either free and/or fully unlocked with all features. According to Avast, such cracked versions are also currently circulating from its CCleaner. According to Avast, typical examples of cracks of well-known programs intended to lure victims are “CCleaner Pro Windows” or “Microsoft Office”.

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FakeCrack Campaign

Avast speaks of a “FakeCrack Campaign” that is currently running. Cyber ​​gangsters would have hidden malware in these cracked versions of CCleaner, which would give the attackers access to the third-party computers. The attackers could then use this to steal sensitive data on the infected computers and even empty wallets with cryptocurrency.

This is how the gangsters spread their traps

The sites on which the infected pirated copies of well-known games and programs are offered for free download are often listed prominently at the top of search engines. If the user then clicks on one of these links, he often ends up, via several redirects, on a page where he is offered the malware-infested software, such as CCleaner. The actual download file is usually located on file-sharing server services, which can be quite serious.

The download is usually packaged as a ZIP archive. The ZIP contains an EXE, usually called setup.exe or cracksetup.exe. If you click on this EXE file, the malware installs itself on the computer. The installed malware then scans the PC for data stored in the browser. For example passwords or credit card data, but also access data for crypto wallets. Sometimes the malware also loads other malicious programs. In some cases, the attackers even manipulate the proxy settings of the infected PC and redirect its requests.

Therefore, only install software from reputable download sites. For example from Download: CCleaner

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