More and more users report that illegal torrents of popular games are in infected with cryptocoin miners. Unsuspected users think they are installing the game, downloaded from illegal sources, but instead install a crypto miner which uses the victim’s CPU and GPU power to mine Bitcoins, Litecoins or other crypto currencies.
The miners usually go to work when the user is not actively using the computer, making it hard to notice. Nevertheless, once the miner does its job, it will consume GPU and CPU cycles and thus in the end increases the electricity bill. This makes illegally downloaded games more expensive than intended. Especially games that require high-end hardware (such as GTA V) are interesting targets for criminals bundling the miners with game downloads. Bundling the miners with games that require high-end hardware ensures that the victim’s PC has hardware that can generate a lot of coins.
To avoid being a victim to crypto miners, the first advice would be obviously to stay away from illegal game downloads. Second is to check your CPU and GPU load once and a while and as always use a decent and up to date antivirus product.
Previously crypto miners and the uTorrent client were in the news. During installation the software tried to install the Epic Scale miner of which the generated revenues would (partly) go to a good cause. Many users revolted against the decision of uTorrent to bundle the miner and the decision was reverted.
In 2014 Microsoft also warned for crypto miners in torrents, back then mainly users in Russia were victims.