Valorant may be out now, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of gamers still looking to get their hands on the beta—especially the beta keys. During the invite-only release, everybody wanted to find a way to check it out for themselves.
As always happens in the gaming world, fraudsters use this as an opportunity to wreak a little havoc. Hackers released a slew of malware cloaked as beta key generators. This would allow users to enter the game beta and even do a little cheating. What could go wrong?
The malware samples began circulating during the beta stage. The malware has come in various forms, including trojans that steal information from victims, such as details about their browsing history, their login information for online accounts, SSH keys, and more.
Worse yet, there were reports of advanced functionality that even allowed hackers to execute remote control over infected computers including taking screenshots and log keystrokes to further target passwords.
Here are a few examples of Valorant related malware:
This is one of the more common variants and includes trojans like QuasarRAT and njRAT. After installation, these malware files can steal passwords stored in browsers like Chrome and Firefox, as well as FileZilla. They also include keyloggers and some remote command functionality.
One of these faked Valorant key generators included a malware file stored on Pastebin that would then assemble it on victim computers and execute them.
Another malware sample included malware that could freeze Windows by using all system resources. Once it executes, the file launches itself continuously until a freeze occurs, and a reboot is necessary.
By now, we should all know to avoid key-generated tools because they so often can lead to malware infection.
And this isn't the only issue associated with malware. Users have also pointed out the anti-cheat software in the game creates vulnerabilities that could also allow hackers to spy on players.
This is a good time to review the security of your system now and make sure your computer isn't infected.
If you downloaded one of these beta-key gens, you need to remove it safely. While doing so, you'll also have to change your account passwords and scan your computer from other malware threats.
The first thing gamers have to remember is that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Players have to stop trusting people who have illegal access to games. Because if they managed to get that, what's to prevent them from using these same skills to target you and your data?
It's time instead to start focusing on how you can improve your cybersecurity. The easiest and most effective way is by using a VPN.
VPNs have tons of security and privacy benefits, including preventing you from becoming the victim of DDoS attacks.
Likewise, you can use them to bypass ISP throttling, access content worldwide, and sometimes help you get better in-game performance.
While you're at it, you should improve the security of your online accounts. In addition to enabling two-factor authentication, you should move your passwords away from Chrome or whatever browser you use and into a secure password manager.
Password managers are encrypted vaults that help you create and store unique passwords while limiting the damage hackers can do. Like VPNs, they are an example of security technology that is not only highly effective but also easy to use.
Finally, you've heard a million times, but be careful of other gamers. Even if you've been playing with somebody for a while and they mention a great free download or another perk, do your homework first. Use tools like Virus Total to scan all files and links before you click on them.
Likewise, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You may feel like a snitch but reporting the threat to admin is the only way to ensure your gaming community’s safety.
Valorant has already proven to be an incredible game. Do yourself a favor, and start taking your security seriously. There's nothing worse than getting hacked and not getting to play a great new game because your computer is screwed up from downloading malware.
Be smart and start integrating these tips and tools into your everyday routine now.