Popular Warzone cheat software is actually a malware installer

A missile pointed to the sky as it prepares to be launched

Call of Duty: Warzone players who use a certain popular cheat program have been exposed to malware, according to a new report published by Activision. The report details research Activision’s in-house anti-cheat team that shows the hacking software acts as a gateway for other malware developers to gain access to cheaters’ PCs.

The cheat in question has been advertised on several popular cheating sites, but instead of offering a ‘genuine’ set of cheating tools, it instead delivers malware to players’ PCs. Malware manufacturers can customise the software to install any number of malware programs, which are granted high-level security access to players’ PCs.

‘Real’ cheat hacks frequently ask users to disable their anti-virus or other security software, and Activision points out that this level of access is exactly what malware needs in order to be successfully installed on most home PCs. “This one relies not on sophisticated tactics but on the victim’s willingness to disable several security settings on their own systems”, Activision’s report explains. “It is common practice when configuring a cheat program to run it with the highest system privileges.”

A source familiar with the recent malware campaign in gaming told Vice Games that the goal for the recent wave of malware attacks is to hijack players’ PCs – usually equipped with reasonably powerful graphics cards – to quietly mine cryptocurrency.

Activision, for its part, has been busily banning cheaters – in February, the company said it had permanently banned more than 300,000 cheaters since Warzone launched, and it’s recently added another 13,000 accounts to the banned list in March’s latest banwave.

Check out our guide to the best Warzone loadouts and you won’t have to worry about resorting to cheats that will potentially give hackers control over the best gaming GPU innocently whirring away in your PC.