Hackers catch a ride on Grand Theft Auto IV downloaders

Computer hackers have targeted Grand Theft Auto IV to spread destructive viruses across the web.

Computer hackers have targeted Grand Theft Auto IV to spread destructive viruses across the web.

The cybercriminals are tempting fans by illegally offering free downloads for bogus versions of the hit game for their PCs.

John Safa, chief technical officer of software security company DriveSentry, said, "People are exploiting the popularity of Grand Theft Auto IV in a way that could bring mayhem to the internet.

"The only thing that many gamers can think of at the moment is Grand Theft Auto IV, and hackers are using that interest to try to generate chaos as quickly as they can."

Enthusiasts are being offered free Grand Theft Auto IV downloads and plug-ins on file-sharing networks.

Safa said he had found evidence of Trojans - programs that gain backdoor access to a user's system to steal personal data - just two minutes after logging on to the popular Limewire file-sharing network.

He said: "Hackers are bombarding the internet with viruses on file-sharing networks.

"While surfing on Limewire, I found a file claiming to offer a program for the XBOX 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV that actually contained malware named Trojan Downloader.Win32.VB.dck."

"Such computer viruses have the potential to wipe out or steal sensitive information such as a user's bank details or wipe out important files. Some of these links were offering free downloads for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV even though it is not available yet," he said.

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