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Some people just can't seem to wait to get their hands on Watch Dogs. Some people managed to grab copies from retailers who broke the street date, others managed to get a copy of the game that leaked last week due to efforts coming out of the pirate scene. But no matter the case, there's a stranger-than-fiction irony laced all throughout this story, as a game about hacking is being pirated, and the pirates are practically being hacked. As I said, stranger than fiction.
Following up on the news about the Xbox 360 version being leaked to torrents, troubling news has arisen courtesy of a report from Player Attack, where they note that the current Skidrow torrent circulating across the peer-to-peer scene is laced with a Bitcoin miner.
As noted in the article...
“The virus apparently installs two exe files - winlogin.exe (not to be confused with the legitimate operating file winlogon.exe), and ltc.exe, which is a bitcoin miner.”
The miners will work a real number on your system, with reports of massive CPU usage and blue screens of death being the prime form of blight plaguing systems. What's more is that some users have also reported that system slowdown is common, as well as poor functionality of Windows' core systems.
The game isn't due out until May 27th, this upcoming Tuesday, but the game was first leaked to retailers nearly two weeks before release, and then it appeared on torrents just a week out from release.
The interesting part about it is that the game was circulating before its street date on consoles first and foremost.
However, anyone who decided to take the plunge on pirating the PC version have been met with some very unhealthy Bitcoin malware.
The whole point is to send the hash information back to the original usurpers while the miners run in as a background service on the machines of unsuspecting pirates.
Of course, Bitcoin miners – or in this case, Bitcoin thieves – have a lot to gain and very little to lose from circulating pirated copies of Watch Dogs on PC. Well, technically they'll be making a lot of potential money from someone else's efforts... which is pretty much how first-world industrialism works anyway, right? It's not like the people who break their backs to provide a quality way of life are the ones benefiting from their work.
Then again, in this case there's a lot of heart-ache to be avoided by simply not downloading the pirated copy of Watch Dogs. While you'll be able to avoid the headache known as Uplay, you won't have access to multiplayer and that means missing out on hacking and being hacked by other players (assuming you like the bumhole of your single-player experience being unlawfully intruded upon like a surprise colon exam at your office... during lunch hour).
Anyway, if it's not clear enough: avoid torrenting Watch Dogs unless you enjoy having your computer used in a forced labor camp of Bitcoin mining like some sort of computer-branded drug trafficking operation. Except, instead of muling over heroin across the border, your PC is hauling coin data across the interwebs to low-profile miners.
Watch Dogs is due for official release this week. If you haven't already, you can see how well the game's 'Ultra' settings on PC hold up in comparison to the E3 2012 build or scope out the launch trailer to see what lay in store for you once May 27th rolls around.