Hogwarts Legacy, the much-anticipated Harry Potter video game, has finally landed on major gaming platforms. But, as with all games like this, it comes with a steep price tag, so it's no surprise to suddenly see websites peddling "cracked" versions of the game for free.
These sites are easily accessible via a quick Google search.
"hogwarts legacy crack" sample search result by Google (Source: Malwarebytes | Stefan Dasic)
Cracked games are games that are rendered playable due to tampering or file modification. They're also generally available for free. Essentially, they're pirated games, which is illegal in some states. Malware Intelligence Analyst Stefan Dasic looked into the above websites claiming to share the cracked PC version of the game.
One website, games-install[.]com, asks users for an activation key once they've downloaded the "game". In order to access the key, the site says the user must verify themselves via a survey.
Everything falls apart at that point. Either the survey leads to a dead end, or ask users to enter their data, such as a phone number. Suffice it to say the website is a survey scam.
This is what happens when you try and download a "free" version of Hogwarts Legacy (Source: Malwarebytes | Stefan Dasic)
Dasic said the sites from the above screenshot all resolve to gameportpc[.]ru, which redirects to changing sites that are seen hosting a file named Hogwarts_Legacy_Setup.exe.
When users click the "Download" button, they find that they have downloaded a copy of the legitimate 7-Zip file compression program.
If you visit the same gameportpc URL, however, the downloaded filebecomes a Trojan dropper, which then drops adware.
Malwarebytes detects the Trojan and adware as Trojan.Dropper and Adware.Agent.Generic, respectively. We also block the websites we've seen pushing fake Hogwarts Legacy game cracks.
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