A shady YouTube video advertising the Reloaded version of the popular Max Payne video game, was found to be the starting point of an intricate scheme that’s designed to trick users into taking part in all sorts of shady surveys.
The video – titled “Max Payne Reloaded + Crack” – urges users to download a file from a third-party website. The file’s description promises a clean, no password, direct download of the Max Payne game and its crack.
However, as GFI Labs experts highlight
, Max Payne Reloaded + Crack.exe
is far from being clean. The executable hides an application that starts looking for updated versions of the “crack” as soon as it’s launched.
Moments later, an alert prompts the victim to install the new variant. Of course, it doesn’t matter when the app is executed, since there will always be an available update.
And, this is the part in which the scammers are starting to make some money.
That’s because the website that allegedly stores the updated version of the crack greets users with a survey that must be completed “to continue.” The innocent-looking surveys can help the masterminds of the scam accomplish many malicious goals.
For instance, they might get paid each time someone completes the survey. In other situations, they can serve a piece of malware, or trick victims into signing up for premium mobile services.
Currently, there are over 500 videos on YouTube advertising various Max Payne 3 cracks, patches, updates and downloads. However, many of them are simply relying on the game’s popularity to lure users to malicious websites designed to – in one way or the other – help cybercriminals make a profit.
We advise users to beware when asked to install various components and updates that are allegedly needed to access certain content.