Activision has told Call of Duty: Warzone players to be on the lookout for malware that's being disguised as cheats for the battle royale favourite.

14:39, 02 Apr 2021

There's yet more drama for Activision's Call of Duty franchise, with the fan-favourite Warzone once again being at the centre of this controversy. Since its release in March 2020, Warzone has roared to the top of the charts and earned its publisher a not-so-small fortune in revenue. In fact, Warzone has contributed a sizeable chunk of Activision's $3 billion earnings from 2020. Sadly, it's not all rainbows and sunshine down in Verdansk, as the game continues to be plagued by problems with glitches and cheats.

While we can all forgive the odd glitch, Warzone is continuously slammed by those unscrupulous players that use them to their own advantage. Even as it looks like the infamous stim glitch is patched out, other problems are crawling out of the woodwork. If this wasn't enough to contend with, there's the growing underground circuit of selling cheats. Just like how PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has its own black market for aim assist and wall hacks, the Warzone scene has continued to flourish with this kind of trading. Apart from the moral dilemma of using cheats, Activision has now warned that it's found malware lurking in some of them.


How is there malware in Call of Duty: Warzone cheats?

In a major case of "cheaters never prosper", Activision has posted a lengthy report that confirms the amount of malware hidden in cheats. Notably, there's the reveal of Cod Dropper v0.1, which is described as a highly customisable dropper that installs even worse malware onto your computer. The report describes it as "a hacking tool being promoted for use against gamers by masquerading as a cheat for Call of Duty: Warzone". Due to the popular nature of cheats and some players' willingness to install them, the dropper cleverly gives backdoor access to your PC. 

Activision confirmed that Cod Dropper v0.1 has been used to mine cryptocurrency from afflicted victims, as well as being advertised as a "newbie friendly" way to install a remote access trojan (RAT) into someone's computer. Hackers have apparently been promoting the RAT as a video game cheat that's being used to "target high-end CPU GPU users". The dropper was first discovered in March 2020 and continued to spread. There are whole YouTube tutorials on how to make the most of Cod Dropper v0.1 if you're a malware hacker. Worryingly, it popped up on a well-known cheat site in April 2020 and was branded as a "new cod hack". The exact same malware reappeared in March 2021 and was described as a "very simple cheat". 



What's next for Warzone malware disguised as cheats?

Cheating in Warzone has become so bad, it's led to even some of the highest-profile players deciding to jump ship until a proper anti-cheat can be put in place - if at all. The problem is, Activision probably has very little sympathy for those afflicted with Malware. The publisher and developers have always warned against using cheats, but still, that hasn't stopped the trend ballooning. Ultimately, cynics are calling out the report as a way to try and dissuade us from using cheats. For many, it's enough to keep them well away from cheat sites and what they offer. Is having malware destroy your computer and possibly bank balance really worth it to claim victory in Verdansk?

Other big titles like Fortnite and VALORANT are apparently riddled with cheat-disguised malware, so it's not just limited to the world of Warzone. We're all likely to have accidentally installed a virus on the family computer, but as hackers get more advanced, the methods are getting more vicious. While we'd like to think a warning of malware infecting Warzone through cheats is enough to nip the problem in the bud, we imagine the cheating community will remain alive and well within Activision's chart-topping title. Even if malware doesn't get you, Activision is clamping down on cheaters and banning them in wave after wave. It's a slow process, but as all sides put the squeeze on cheaters, we say give it up while you still can. 



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