Indie platformer removed from Steam after it was found to install viruses to mine cryptocurrency

The developer was banned too

Not all games are just games. A recent example popped up when Steam delisted an innocuous-seeming indie platformer that actually had quite nefarious motives.

Abstractism is a minimalist platformer that developer Okalo Union was selling for $.49. The low price was a trap though. As YouTuber SidAlpha reports, Abstractism is a front for a series of viruses that mine Monero (which is a cryptocurrency) in the background. During installation, Abstractism also adds a Trojan virus and malware that masquerade as Steam executables and launchers.

It’s not necessarily easy to detect an example of cryptojacking, but the most obvious indicators are that CPU and GPU will usage will be far higher than they should be. Abstractism did this, especially for such a low-specs game that shouldn’t require much processing power at all. However, the smoking gun is this now-deleted developer comment that says “Bitcoin is outdated, we currently use Abstractism to mine only Monero coins.”

This isn’t the only example of Okalo Union scamming Steam users. Another person said that they were ripped off by the developer who sold them a worthless Abstractism item that looked identical to a rare Team Fortress 2 item. Okalo Union created items that appeared to be valuable in hopes that they’d be able to trick a few careless people into buying them for big bucks. It worked at least once.

Steam has removed Abstractism from sale and banned the developer. Valve’s laissez-faire approach to quality control on Steam means that incidents like this will always be reacted to rather than prevented. It’s a small miracle that malicious schemes disguised as legitimate games don’t pop up more often.

Steam Games Abstractism Is Virus Crypto Miner and TF2 Scam Items [YouTube via Eurogamer]

Brett Makedonski
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