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Fake MSI Afterburner Infects Targets With Coin Miner, Password Stealer

Take caution when downloading MSI’s Afterburner software.

If your system has been running slowly, check to see if you have the legitimate version of MSI Afterburner. Cyble Intelligence and Research Lab (CRIL) recently discovered a phishing campaign using fake MSI Afterburner software to infect gamers with cryptocurrency miners and information stealers. Over the last three months, the company has identified approximately 50 bogus websites.

MSI Afterburner is a popular graphics card software for monitoring, tweaking, and overclocking the best graphics cards available. As a result, it’s not surprising that threat actors are impersonating MSI’s software. It’s not the first time that criminals have targeted MSI Afterburner. Last year, MSI discovered a similar incident. However, it appears that threat actors are back at it now that Nvidia is releasing its GeForce RTX 40-series graphics cards and AMD is about to release the Radeon RX 7900-series products. There was no better time for the criminals to set up shop.

The malware is distributed via phishing emails, online advertisements, forums, and other channels. The phishing sites are identical to MSI’s official Afterburner download page. The domain names can be used to detect fraud. Some of the fake domains have been identified by Cyble, including MSI-afterburner-download.site, MSI-afterburner.download, and mslafterburners.com. Some are already offline, but more will undoubtedly join them.

The malware infects the victim’s system with an MXR miner that connects to a mining pool in the background to harvest Monero. Meanwhile, the program steals sensitive information such as the hijacked user’s computer name, username, and other data.

If you have a new graphics card or need to reinstall MSI Afterburner, make sure to get it from MSI’s website rather than a third-party distributor. If you’re using Google, carefully examine the website’s URL before clicking.

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