Fake 'Grand Theft Auto V' Torrent Spreads Malware

If you want "Grand Theft Auto V," you're going to have to wait — "leaked" versions of the highly anticipated game on torrent sites are little more than dolled-up malware.

If you purchase all of your video games legitimately, you may not be familiar with the culture of piracy that pervades PC gaming. Games — especially computer games — are often easy to copy and share online. Every now and then, a big game will even leak onto torrent sites prior to its official release.

"Grand Theft Auto V" is (un)fortunately not one of them. If you see any dubious sites broadcasting a free download, steer clear, according to a press release from Romanian security company Bitdefender.

Rather than "Grand Theft Auto V" — which, at the time of writing, does not yet even have a solid date for its PC version release — the setup.exe file installs a modified version of 2013's side-scrolling action/puzzle game "The Cave."

This may not sound so bad, as "The Cave" is a pretty good game, and a decent enough way to pass the time until "Grand Theft Auto V" comes out. However, rather than a simple bait-and-switch, installing the game will prompt users to enter a serial number that they get through a survey.

MORE: 10 Cool Things You Can Do in 'Grand Theft Auto V'

Uncalled-for online surveys should be enough to set off warning bells, but should you actually complete it, you'll notice that you'll need to send a text message to a number that will charge your mobile account 1 euro ($1.32) per day unless you tell it otherwise. There are easier and less expensive ways to play "The Cave."

As a final insult, "The Cave" is not a safe file by any stretch of the imagination, and will install a virus called "Trojan.GenericKDV.1134859" to your system. As the name suggests, this malware is a generic Trojan, which can steal user information, tamper with system files or draft a computer into a botnet.

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Any standard virus scanner can get rid of the Trojan, but a little common sense and law-abiding behavior will prevent you from ever downloading it in the first place. "Grand Theft Auto V" will launch for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on Sept. 17, and you're not likely to get your hands on a copy before then. If you're dying to play "The Cave," you can download it from a reputable vendor like Steam.

"Grand Theft Auto V" tells the story of three up-and-coming criminals who need to plan high-profile heists in order to secure money, fame and personal glory. Real crime is often much less visible, much more mundane and much more insidious — like promising a hot new video game and delivering a generic virus. Avoid it, and save the (simulated) criminal behavior for the game's launch.

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Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.