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? 5 Games You Never Knew Contained Actual Viruses & Malware | Fact Hunt

December 29, 2019


Viruses, the arch-nemesis of humanity since
it’s very inception, from it making you seriously ill, to deleting your porn collection,
Viruses have always been mankind’s bain. But while us gamers have been relatively unscathed
when it comes to these infectious ignoramuses (well, unless you’re been pirating stuff),
some have secretly fallen through the cracks without our knowledge. Now, when I say gaming viruses, I’m not
talking infections like the T-Virus in Resident Evil, or the Cordycept virus in The Last of
Us, but bonafide, fudge your computer up viruses! So this episode I reveal these PC Pathogens,
these software sicknesses and these microcomputer microorganisms (well, alright I’m stretching it
a bit with that one) as I say… But Hello You, I’m Guru Larry and I welcome
you to Fact Hunt: Five Games You Never Knew Contained Actual Viruses and Malware. We’ll start this episode off with something
you might not be expecting… A console game with a virus! Now you’re probably thinking, “Consoles
can’t get viruses Larry you handsome sexy man you”, and you’d be right! On both parts! However, what Sega loved to do with their
CD based games at the time was bundle a load of desktop wallpapers for your computer if
you put the disc in your PC. The Japanese Dreamcast game, Atelier
Marie and Elie came with a free screensaver for your computer, which if installed would infect
your machine with the Kris virus, a right nasty little bugger at the time that
would not only wipe your BIOS, but also infect random files if you were tempted to put the
hard drive into another PC. How it got on the disc is up to speculation,
but at an educated guess, the game was developed on an infected machine, which in turn spread
to the gold copy while it was being burned, The developers, Kool Kizz were deeply apologetic
and issued a full recall. Though unfortunately, there are still a few
infected copies floating out there, so buyer beware On the plus side this virus is well over 20
years old now, so if you were stupid enough to put the game into your computer, all modern
anti-viruses would detect it within seconds. But if this was 1999, you could kiss your
PC goodbye! Shall we play a game? Well hopefully not this one, as MGM Interactive’s
strategy game based on everyone’s favourite Matthew Broderick movie that isn’t Ferris
Brueler, is rife with computer damaging software. The age old method of “if you want to rip
off a popular video game, slap a license over the top and no one will notice”, is exactly
the tactic what MGM did to disguise the fact they were making a Command and Conqueror knock-off
back in 1998. Unfortunately, all their development time
went into plagiarising and not bothering to check if they had any viruses on the disc. You see, WarGames is infected with the Marburg
virus, which, despite being named after a deadly human virus spread by monkeys, is actually
a devious little worm that wipes the database of antivirus programs to avoid detection,
then infects .EXE and screensaver files, flooding the screen with Red X’s. MGM were obviously embarrassed when websites
began reporting the issue, and emailed everyone who registered the game virus-free copy, as
well as a free copy of Norton Antivirus. As a side note, MGM weren’t the only culprits
lazy enough not to check their software, the July 1998 cover disc to PC Gamer magazine (UK)
also contained the Marburg virus, Which ironically, is probably where MGM got it from! Bloody games journalism corrupts everything!!! Ah, you remember Minecraft don’t you? It was that hip virtual Lego building game
all the kiddies played before Fortnite existed, as well as people now in their early ‘30s
who have carved themselves creatively unescapable Let’s Play channels focused on it. While it’s been released on every system
imaginable, the PC version of everyone’s favourite software spelunker is by far the
most customizable, and that’s unfortunately where the problems arise. Back in April 2018, nearly 50,000 computers
were infected with a malware virus by anyone who downloaded skins from the official Minecraft
domain, it appeared as a simple .PNG file when downloaded, but when opened would reformat
the entire hard drive, while also erasing any back up files on other connected drives. Worst of all, if your anti-virus failed to
catch it, only a total reinstall of windows would completely remove the Malware. As horrific as the malware sounds, shockingly
it was an amateurish attempt created from online tutorials on how to create viruses
using notepad. So it’s amazing something so simple could
have slipped under both Microsoft’s and Mojang’s radar. Thankfully Mojang issued a patch that removed
all unnecessary information from .PNG files intended for the game, so younglings can now
ignore the fact they once got skins for free in games, and rather pay exorbitant prices
for them in Fortnite nowadays instead. Of course, I still need to fill up my completely
obscure game no one has ever heard of quota, and this episode’s entry, is the 2009 bullet
hell shoot ‘em up, Touhou Seirensen, or Unidentified Fantastic Object for you English speaking
fellows. Now, this is an interesting tale of Malware
that was originally intended to be a joke, but ended up getting completely out of hand. One slow evening, a South Korean undergrad
decided to create the malware, Rensonware out of sheer boredom. What this program does is essentially ransomware,
except I this case it locks all the software on your PC until you score over 20 million
points on Touhou Seirensen’s Lunatic difficulty mode. Something borderline impossible on the game’s
easy setting, let alone its hardest difficulty. So he uploaded it to GitHub as a laugh, then
went to bed. When he woke up, he discovered it had infected
countless computers, to the point he even managed to infect himself. Even funnier was he was nowhere near skilled
enough at the game to unlock the damage he had done. Luckily he had another PC and immediately
created a program to neutralize rensomware’s effects and uploaded it to GitHub with an
apology. But having to score 0.2 billion points in
a rock hard game to unlock your computer, hey? Good job DarksydePhil never got infected,
we’d never hear from him again. Then again… (Childish whining from a sad, little man) I’m saving this one until last, mainly because
while the other viruses on this list are mostly likely included in the game by accident or
innocently for “teh lulz”, this final entry is purely out of malice. Now we’re all aware of the neurotic levels
some publishers will go to combat piracy, often to the detriment of totally legitimate
customers. Things such as only being allowed to install
a game thrice, constantly having to re-validate your purchase every few days, and infamous
of all, always online Digital Rights Management, (or DRM) have endlessly irked us, thankfully, no one has ever been stupid
enough to use malware as copy protection. Well… that was until Flight Sim Labs reared
their ugly heads. They may be an unfamiliar publisher for a
lot of you, but Flight Sim Labs develop a lot of plane models for Microsoft’s Flight
Simulator. So with such a niche clientele, you can guess
that some of their models are pretty expensive. Triple digit figures a lot of the time. So you can imagine some people aren’t too
happy spending large sums for what is essentially a glorified skin. So to combat this, Flight Sims Lab did something, well…
ultra-scummy, they disguised malware as DRM in a $100 plane model, which infected every
single users’ computer with it, What did this malware do? Well, It took the user’s name and passwords logged
into Google Chrome, giving Flight Sim Labs access to any website associated with said
user. Now, you’re probably thinking, “oh, boo
hoo, pirates got what they deserved”, however, despite being highly illegal already, there’s
no stopping the company from accessing a user’s details, whether they legitimately bought
the model or not. Of course, Flight Sim Labs claimed they didn’t. But, the damage had been done, the backlash
was immense, Flight Sim Labs tried to backtrack on the malware, removing it in a patch, but
replacing it with a bug that faked admin privileges on a windows PC, inserting code that now crashed
the game for anyone with an illegitimate copy. Also, highly illegal! So, you can imagine the backlash got even worse,
how did Flight Sim Labs address this situation? Did they remove the patch and make the model
DRM free? Did they come clean and apologise? (chuckles) Nooo, that’s nowhere near juicy enough for a Fact Hunt episode. No, they decided to threaten legal action
against Reddit and multiple Microsoft Flight Sim forums, inciting libel against anyone
who left negative comments about their software and their company. Now, this is where the story blows completely out
of proportion, tired of their computers being hacked for private information and forced
censorship, one reddit user decided enough was enough and hacked Flight Sim Labs’
website posting an open letter to the company on the main page and doxxing the heads and
employees. Flight Sim Labs twisted the attack to be one
on their customer’s private information, which is ironic considering them doing that
exact thing was what started this whole debacle. While Reddit condoned the attack, there was
no actual evidence on a hack ever happening, with speculation that Flight Sim Labs themselves
orchestrated the whole attack for sympathy. So, with the whole ordeal getting out of hand,
Flight Sim Labs took to damage control, admitting they had inserted Malware into the software, but
claiming it was to solely to search for one specific pirate, though how they would recognise one
cracker from information obtained by all of their customers is anyone’s guess. And this is where the drama peters out. While the software longer contains Malware,
as of the making of this video, it still contains the windows admin hacking code. But the final sting in the tail is, Flight
Sim Labs website is encoded in poorly programmed Base 64 software. So, it’s only by absolute pure luck no legitimate
hackers stole the code, they themselves had illegally obtained. What a completely messed up story… kinda
put’s loot boxes into perspective, doesn’t it?

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