Developer Allegedly Hid Malware in DLC as Anti-Piracy Tactic
Developer Flight Sim Labs is apologizing after it allegedly embedded malware in a piece of downloadable content allowing it to access certain users' personal data, Polygon reports.
Flight Sim Labs creates add-ons for the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise. In a forum post, it says it added the DRM check file to its installer to combat piracy. "While the majority of our customers understand that the fight against piracy is a difficult and ongoing battle that sometimes requires drastic measures, we realize that a few of you were uncomfortable with this particular method which might be considered to be a bit heavy handed on our part," writes Flight Sim Labs co-founder Lefteris Kalamaras. "It is for this reason we have uploaded an updated installer that does not include the DRM check file in question."
A person on Reddit claims they found fraudulent charges on their bank account after recently buying an Airbus A320-X add-on. Another Reddit user reportedly discovered a "Chrome Password Dump" tool hidden in the add-on's installer. They say the software extracts a users' personal info stored in the Chrome browser, including passwords, billing info, and other data. Naturally, Redditors weren't happy. But, Kalamaras says it's not true.
"We were made aware there is a Reddit thread started tonight regarding our latest installer and how a tool is included in it, that indiscriminately dumps Chrome passwords," he writes. "That is not correct information." He adds the original Reddit poster isn't a customer and somehow obtained the installer without buying it. While he insists there are no tools to reveal a customer's sensitive information, there is a "specific method used against specific serial numbers" of pirated game copies making the rounds on torrent sites. If one of these serial numbers is used by a pirate, it alerts the developers.
"This method has already successfully provided information that we're going to use in our ongoing legal battles against such criminals," Kalamaras says.