Beware GTA V mods infecting your PC with malware

GTA VWatch out if you’re a fan of the Grand Theft Auto V video game (known by all coolcats as GTA V).

Because hackers are crafting malware, disguised as mods for the popular game.

First, some background. GTA V allows players to mess with their game universe by adding “mods” (modifications) that can entirely change the experience.

So, if you think it would be fun to have whales falling from the sky midway through your game, that’s fine:

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The Largest Mammal on Land

(Sadly no sign of a bowl of petunias. Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

So far, so harmless. Apart from for anyone who happens to be standing under the whale.

But GTA V’s online forums are now warning players that malicious code has been found in two mods: ‘Angry Planes’ and ‘No Clip’.

The No Clip mod is supposed to give you the ghost-like ability within the game to walk through walls and objects, while the Angry Planes will find you harassed by aggressive pilots.

GTAV Mods - Angry Planes

By all accounts, the mods did what they claimed – but they also secretly installed a file called fade.exe, which connected to the internet and resulted in malware stealing keypresses from victims’ computers.

Malicious fade.exe file

A report from VirusTotal suggests that many anti-virus products are now detecting the malware, but not before the mods had already been downloaded and run by hundreds of thousands of GTA fans.

The risk is, of course, that the keylogging malware will have stolen passwords from computer users – not just those that they might use on gaming sites, but also for other online activity.

As a result, if you determine that your PC may have been infected by the malware it may make sense to ensure that you change your login credentials. That advice is echoed by the administrators of the GTA 5 Mods website.

Advisory from GTA Mods

In addition, I would recommend that it would also be wise to be much more wary before installing mods and other unknown software on your computer in future.

Further reading: Warning posted on GTA Forums.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

3 comments on “Beware GTA V mods infecting your PC with malware”

  1. Coyote

    "GTA V allows players to mess with their game universe by adding "mods" (modifications) that can entirely change the experience."

    So that concept is still around? Very old but it is a good idea (was always a fun idea even back when). Of course not surprising that others would abuse it and in some ways I suppose it is surprising that there isn't more of this.

  2. Mark

    Modding is huge. There's over 41,000 mods just for Skyrim alone and nextmods has a ton of mod fan sub-sites. So modding it not just a fond memory of back in the day, it's very much in the here and the now.

    1. Coyote · in reply to Mark

      Thanks for the response. The last video game console I owned was PS1 and the first was the Atari 2600. The only games that come to mind (immediately) that might have had mods (and I really cannot verify this any more because I no longer have them, or if I do I don't know where) would be DOOM, Wolfenstein and/or Rise of the Triad. So I am truly ignorant of the games of today in this regard; I miss the arcades and book stores (as much as each other which is a lot) but I also miss the older type of games (they're just not the same for me). Perhaps that's why I still prefer text based games (when not considering emulators) that I either grew up (Colossal Cave Adventure for example) with and/or am directly involved in developing (still for a long time).

      Quite impressive that there's over 41k mods for that game alone. Maybe it isn't all that impressive but it is for an old gamer like me – as far as I am concerned the graphics of old games actually were quite impressive because they had far less resources to make use of (and perhaps because I grew up on them). Then again… looking at the size of these mods (or the limit of 100MB being raised or removed), hard drives were so small that you wouldn't be able to have that many mods (or even a small fraction of) with the operating system and games (+ other data) in the first place…

      Thanks for the information.

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