PC games and malware

For the last 3 or 4 years, I have kept my PC clear of mainstream video games due to a distrust, and incidents where PC games install malware on your system.

And I still don't trust mainstream games, or game services companies enough to install anything they distribute.

What is your opinion of my attitude? Which games or services do you trust and why? Which games or services do you know to be harmful?
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
i think that not trusting mainstream games is a mistake. its professional programmers, and they have it tested. and they are mainstream for a reason. do you think minecraft, wow or rift would be popular if they downloaded malware (of course im not talking about downloading thirdparty software enhancements for those games; thats what you should be mistrusting (to a point))
I Agree with DTS, you have it completely backwards. Mainstream games (along with major distributors such as Steam, Desura, GOG) are the people you should be trusting. It's flash games and little executables you need to watch out for.
You are a bit too paranoid in my opinion, but nowadays slight paranoia is a healthy state of mind.

I consider anti-cheat systems to be spyware (malware if misused). For instance PunkBuster, it starts up silently as a system process and allows servers to get screenshots from you. What guarantee does one have that it cannot be used to screencap your desktop?

As for games which are harmful, I strongly distrust anything that requires elevated privileges to run. The solitary example I can give is America's Army 3. That thing requires Administrator privileges to run. Fortunately, most games don't do this.

And I still don't trust mainstream games, or game services companies enough to install anything they distribute.

Like I said before, that's going a bit far. Nobody stops you from installing a fascist firewall like Comodo then block everything except for the browsers. What other kind of malware do you have in mind, surely you don't think file eating viruses?
I don't have anything to add, except that I agree with DTS and Easton (sorry was worried I'd misspell your first name) on this one. When it is big name distributors like the three mentioned, it is a safe bet that there is no maleware/virus. Same with games from the mainstream company as they would ruin their reputation and make it so no one would ever buy their games if they put viruses/malware into the games to infect your computer with. I'd be more worried about the indie guys that don't want to give details or post pics of their game in action.
There have been instances though of mainstream Game companies hiding malware in their distributions.

This may have been accidental, but I do not see how you could make such a horrible mistake.


And major distributors like Steam have security vulnerabilities. You have to at least trust their ability to keep your information safe, which they cannot guaranteed.

November 2011 hack

On November 6, 2011, Steam temporarily closed the community forums, citing potential hacking threats to the service. Subsequently, on November 10, Valve reported that the hack included a compromise of one of their customer databases, potentially allowing the perpetrators to access customer information including encrypted password and credit card details. At that time, Valve was not aware if the intruders actually accessed this information or discovered the encryption method, but warned users to be alert for fraudulent activity.[147][148]

The company ReVuln, a commercial vulnerability research firm, published a paper in October 2012 that claimed the Steam browser protocol was posing a security risk by enabling malicious exploits through a simple user click on a maliciously crafted steam:// URL in a browser.[149] The report was taken up by various online publications.[150][151][152][153] As the second serious vulnerability of gaming-related software, following a recent issue with Ubisoft's copy protection system "Uplay",[154] it led the German IT platform "Heise online" to recommend strict separation of gaming and sensitive data, e.g. by using a dedicated gaming PC or at least a second Windows installation, or minimally a dedicated gaming account with limited rights on the gamer's own PC.[153]

And I dislike requiring that I have an account which is vulnerable, just to be able to play a game.

But I guess I trust Steam other than that. But, since my last experience with PC games, I can't remember the details, but I ended up with many DRM programs which acted as malware, that would not uninstall. It pissed me off, so I bought a console, reformatted my hard drive, did a clean install, and forgot about installing anymore games on my PC.

So now i am thinking about giving it a shot, but I am still wary, and definitely do not trust all games and services. I am thinking about Installing Steam, but will not touch Origins, or ESEA.

And the fact that they are professional programmers isn't particularly meaningful if they are intentionally adding malware to the installation on corporate orders.
Last edited on
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
steams a little different imo. i dont like/trust the client itself but the big games like skyrim that you play on it are legit. and on the link they admitted to testing it, but bit coin mining isnt illegal.
Well if you worry about that, everything in life has trust issues, not just games. Games and servers can be cracked. Homes can be broken into, cars can be stolen, people can be hurt. Not trusting mainstream games due to the actions of one company/team/malicious person is like not trusting your own family because someone in another state or country went on a killing spree.
But from my research, it seams that nothing has changed too much. For example, EA Origin includes non-opt out, except by not installing it, perhaps it might be considered spyware, which is described in the EULA. That kind of practice is shady, and I think that gamers should boycott developers who do this kind of thing, without at least allowing you to opt out.

Last edited on
I have few happy feelings for EA already, in any case could you post some of this research?
Well, I do think a lot of gamers do boycott EA (for questionable business practices, not treating the dev teams appropriately (ie poor pay), and EA Origin), but just not enough to dent their profit enough to make changes.
Accusations of spying

Origin's end-user license agreement (EULA) gives EA permission to collect information about users' computers regardless of its relation to the Origin program itself, including "application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware."[27] Initially, the EULA also contained a passage permitting EA to more explicitly monitor activity as well as to edit or remove material at their discretion.[28] However, this section was removed following an outcry over privacy implications. That outcry was fueled in part by pictures and video captured by several German gamers which showed Origin accessing tax programs and other unrelated software,[29] as well as a report by the news magazine Der Spiegel investigating the allegations.[30][31] In response to the controversy, EA issued a statement claiming they "do not have access to information such as pictures, documents or personal data, which have nothing to do with the execution of the Origin program on the system of the player, neither will they be collected by us."[32] EA also added a sentence to the EULA stating that they would not "use spyware or install spyware on users' machines," though users must still consent to allowing EA to collect information about their computers.[33]

Situation in Germany

According to reports in German newspapers, the German version of Origin's EULA violates several German laws, mainly laws protecting consumers and users' privacy.[30][34] According to Thomas Hoeren, a judge and professor for information, telecommunication and media law at the University of M√ľnster, the German version of the EULA is a direct translation of the original without any modifications and its clauses are "null and void".[30]


Last edited on
For instance PunkBuster, it starts up silently as a system process and allows servers to get screenshots from you. What guarantee does one have that it cannot be used to screencap your desktop?

Punkbusters is a prime example.

EULA Details[edit]

There is no ethical or regulatory oversight of Punkbuster or Even Balance. Based on their EULA they have complete access to a user's computer: their personal information, bank account information, online purchase history, or anything stored on the computer or viewable using its display. Punkbuster simply expects users to trust them. In PunkBuster's EULA, PunkBuster notes they are invasive, and that they reserve the right to inspect someone's entire harddrive and all of their files:
"Licensee understands and agrees that the information that may be inspected and reported by PunkBuster software includes, but is not limited to, Licensee's Internet Protocol Address, devices and any files residing on the hard-drive and in the memory of the computer on which PunkBuster software is installed." "Further, Licensee consents to allow PunkBuster software to transfer actual screenshots taken of Licensee's computer during the operation of PunkBuster software for possible publication." "Licensee agrees that any harm or lack of privacy resulting from the installation and use of PunkBuster software is not as valuable to Licensee as the potential ability to play interactive online games with the benefits afforded by using PunkBuster software."

closed account (jwkNwA7f)
I would trust the mainstream games, but for others I never install them. I have a lot of applications that I have worked on for days that are not backed up yet which is a mistake, but I never have enough time. So, I never install games unless I really trust the developers.
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
one thing you should always trust imo is the download more ram ads. they give you more memory for free! of course i never install it right and my windows os never works quite right afterwards ;)
Topic archived. No new replies allowed.