It’s been revealed that a game on Steam was up to some rather shady business.
Abstractism was a completely unremarkable puzzler by all regards, until people started noticing some major problems. One issue that kept coming to the forefront was the pattern of two files related to the game loading lots of data into memory and consuming CPU and GPU cycles at a huge rate. This suggests that some code being executed by the game is mining cryptocurrency, as that process consumes a lot of system resources.
According to the developer these two files, which are consistently blocked by multiple security software suites, are integral to the functioning of the game.
“These applications (steamservice.exe and abstractismlauncher.exe) are game launchers, that Abstractism need to drop items,” the developer wrote.
“Abstractism does not mine any of cryptocurrency. Probably, you are playing on high graphics settings, because they take a bit of CPU and GPU power, required for post-processing effects rendering,” the developer told another player in a review comment.
This is a blatant lie from Okalo Union as they seem to have admitted they are mining without user consent in an earlier comment:
The other major issue revolves around another scam apparently being run by the people behind Abstractism concerning item drops in other games. The developer in question, Okalo Union, created a bunch of fake Steam items that convincingly mimic items from other games. They targeted games like Team Fortress 2 with fake items, with the intent to scam item traders for real money by scamming said traders into buying the fake item rather than the real TF2 drop.
And if these scams weren’t irritating enough, the game also included outright bigoted items that openly celebrate anti-Semitism and homophobia.
What this whole mess shows is that Valve’s ongoing policy of not giving a crap about quality on their platform continues to backfire. It also raises the question of why the malicious code was not detected automatically. Scanning for malware at the time of upload is a fairly common practice nowadays. Although there is the issue of file sizes to consider, I do have to wonder what security precautions Valve is taking. And they may have removed this dev and anyone connected to them from the platform, but it feels a bit late.
And Valve isn’t the only company falling victim to people scamming users, since an Amazon seller was recently caught reselling pirated copies of games.
So one is left to wonder exactly what will happen next. One thing is sure, that this won’t be the last time someone tries to run this kind of scam on Steam.