Steam Chat Spreading Dangerous Malware

Most people know not to click on suspicious links from strangers, but suspicious links from friends are more of a marginal case. Malefactors are currently using Steam, Valve's popular PC gaming platform, to spread malware by hiding a nasty program in a supposedly innocuous screenshot that looks like it is coming from a trusted friend.

Security expert Graham Cluley shared the story, which one of his readers brought to his attention. The malware comes via Steam's built-in chat client and, in all likelihood, will appear to come from someone you know.

MORE: Gaming Keyboard Face-Off

If you receive a message on Steam that reads "WTF?????" and links to a JPEG image called "screenshot," steer clear and inform your friend that he or she needs to run a virus scan posthaste. The link leads not to a strange picture, but rather to an executable SCR file.

Once clicked, the file will download and install automatically. This particular SCR file targets Steam, meaning it may be able to steal your login and financial information. At the very least, it compromises your Friends list and sends the malware-ridden "WTF" message to all of your contacts.

Worse still, only about half of antivirus programs seem capable of detecting the malware. While AVG, Malwarebytes, Kaspersky, Sophos and Symantec users are in the clear, those who rely on Microsoft, TrendMicro, Kingsoft or AegisLab are out of luck. The best solution for them would be to download the free version of AVG or Malwarebytes and run it with extreme prejudice.

This is not the first time that malware has targeted Steam users, suggesting that the platform is still not perhaps as secure as it could be. PC gamers should double-check with their friends before clicking on links that look out-of-the-ordinary.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at Follow him @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • tom10167
    This article is only late by one year and four months.
  • soccerplayer88
    Yeah this malware has been around for a little while now (over a month). It's actually much worse then what's depicted here.

    Not only will the virus spread to all your friends via chat and steal your account information, it will dump all your items, cards, etc. into a dummy account and deletes anything it can't take.

    As a suggestion, if you're worried about this sort of thing enable your Steam Guard in your Steam Settings. At least your account information should be safe.
  • fimbulvinter

    Like several months late. Thanks for looking out Tom's Hardware! It would've got to us faster if you mailed the info.