On Monday, Valve pulled an indie game from his digital games marketplace Steam, which was supposedly a front for a cryptocurrency mining operation. The game, called Abstracticism allegedly abducted computers from players and used them to mine cryptocurrency.
The fraud is known as "cryptojacking"; when hackers force a victim's computer to allocate resources to guess the correct value validating a block of cryptocurrency transaction data. This process is extremely resource intensive and can lead to overheating and slowing down. Cryptocurrency mining can be lucrative as miners are rewarded with digital coins that scammers can get without having to buy their own computers to work with them.
The players claim that the developers also used the game to generate fake digital items that cheated on unsuspecting customers.
Developer Okalo Union and publisher dead.team released Abstraction on Steam on March 1
Read More: Hackers Infiltrated Tesla to Mine Cryptocurrency 19659002] On Sunday, YouTuber SidAlpha broke out in a video Abstracts consuming scam. He learned of the game when a fan reported that they were picked up when they tried to buy a $ 100 rocket launcher for Team Fortress 2 through a third-party site. Apparently, the scammer had sold them an item for Abstraction that used the same name and art as the Golden Rocket Launcher, but would never work in Team Fortress 2 .
SidAlpha and other Internet detectives – one on July 13th – were concerned that running the little indie game devoured system resources, triggered Windows Defender alerts, and stumbled antivirus software. The source of the malware and malware warnings was malicious software built into the game, which allegedly hijacked their machines and looped them into a cryptocurrency mining operation.
In an update to the game on July 23, dead.team used its patch notes to deny that it was mining cryptocurrency. "Abstracism Launcher and Abstractism Inventory Service are not Bitcoin Miners (nor are they Monero Miner, to be honest)," the patches say, referring to two executables that run the game. "These apps need to connect to Steam and add items to your inventory."
On Monday, July 30th, Valve removed Steam's game. "We removed Abstraction and blocked the Steam developer for sending unauthorized code, trolling content, and cheating customers with fraudulent in-game items," a Valve spokesperson told me an e-mail. Valve did not talk about the nature of the unauthorized code and did not respond to questions about whether it was cryptocurrency mining software.
"In the past, there were a few cases where there was a crypto-miner or some form of virus [in a Steam game] but that was extremely rare," SidAlpha told me via Skype. Last year, a scammer tricked popular game player Fortnite into downloading a cryptocurrency mining malware camouflaged as cheats for the game.
Cryptocurrency mining was just one of dead.team's revenue streams. Abstractism also generated fake digital objects – such as the fictitious Golden Rocket Launcher for Team Fortress 2 – which users could sell on gray market websites for a huge profit. Rare Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 items can be sold for hundreds of dollars and Abstraction produced digital goods that looked like the original, but did absolutely nothing.  The sale of counterfeit digital goods on the gray market is an updated version of an old scam that includes Steam's digital trading cards. Valve went against the old scammers, but as the Abstraction seems to show, they might have found a new way to make money.
"This highlights one of the fatal flaws in the way Steam handles its marketplace," SidAlpha said. "A game like this has an infinitely repeatable digital item that can be sold and traded for real money, and without some form of regulatory action, we'll see more of such things."
There is between the alleged cryptocurrency mine operation and the counterfeit goods there is no indication of how much money dead.team and Okla Union have made before Valve has pulled the company down Abstraction . According to Steampsy – a website that collects information about Steam games – around 6,000 users downloaded the game and digital content was added a week ago.
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