I’ve been signed up for Empires of Steel Google Alerts for a long time now. (For those who aren’t familiar with Google Alerts, you can sign up be notified via email whenever google indexes something matching that search criteria. This lets you know anytime something new appears on the internet.) Well, thanks to Google Alerts, I’ve been noticing what appeared to be pirated copies of Empires of Steel showing up on warez sites. One thing I noticed, though, was that the download size was all wrong – which made me suspicious of whether these were actual pirated copies – as opposed to trojans or copies of the demo. For fear of viruses, I didn’t have the courage to actually visit the sites and download the game to see if it was the full game.
Recently, I got my old laptop back from a friend who was borrowing it. So, I thought, “Why not try it with my old laptop? I’ll reinstall the OS immediately after I try it – that’ll fix the problem of getting a virus.” Today, I tried it. I did a google search for “Empires of Steel”, searching for any free downloads on warez sites. Before I even finished the download, I had obviously been infected by a virus. There was a fake anti-virus program that had installed itself on my computer. Whenever I tried to open any application – even MSPaint – my computer would give me an error saying that the file contained a virus, and I could update my virus protection using their antivirus program. It was obviously a scam to get me to pay them money for “virus protection”. Also, when I attempted to go anywhere on the internet, the “anti-virus” program would stop the connection and tell me that the website was infected and they could fix it. It installed itself into the list of startup programs, so a restart didn’t fix anything. My computer was under the complete control of a virus before I even finished downloading a single pirated copy of my game. And I don’t even know for sure that the website had a pirated copy – maybe it was a garbage file with the name “Empires of Steel” so that they could trap people with their “anti-virus” scam.