Picture this: a syndicate of cybercriminals uses a video game’s popularity to lure people into downloading a data-stealing computer program. Once the application is installed on your hardware, it hijacks your credentials and gives cyberthugs access to all your accounts and private information.
It may sound like the blurb for a hot new action movie, but this is real life. If you’re thinking about downloading Valorant hacks, you stand to lose a lot more than your Riot Games account, and could place yourself in real-world danger.
Let’s deep dive into why you should reconsider, and how you can avoid Valorant malware to stay safe — in-game and offline.
What Is a Valorant Cheat Lure?
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of Valorant’s success to distribute data-stealing malware disguised as cheats to unsuspecting victims.
In 2022, security experts at Ahnlab uncovered a syndicate of threat actors who use YouTube to distribute what they claim are free Valorant cheats. The cheats are typically presented as aimbots, map hacks, wall hacks, and mods to rope players in, but the download links contain malicious software. Once installed, it steals the player’s personal data.
This is social engineering at its finest — or, more accurately, its most disgusting. Competitive gaming is an incredibly lucrative industry, and some will stop at nothing to improve their rank or win titles. Cybercriminals know this and have swarmed to gaming like moths to flames, targeting those looking for easy wins.
Cyber attacks on the gaming community aren’t new, but we’ve seen an influx of cheat lures in recent years, coinciding with the pandemic-induced boom in online gaming. Most online multiplayer games have seen cheat lures to some degree, including Dota, CS:GO, Call of Duty, and even Fortnite.
The more popular a game is, the more vulnerable its players become. According to research by Akamai, cyber threats against the gaming population increased by 167% between 2021 and 2022, leaving millions of gamers at risk.
What Malware Can You Get from Valorant Hacks?
The Valorant malware going around contains RedLine Stealer, a vicious Trojan horse. It extracts login credentials from a number of apps and accounts including your email, browsers, instant messaging services, VPN, cryptocurrency wallet, or even Steam and other games, like Minecraft. RedLine Stealer can access stored information too, like your chat history and files.
Worse, it collects information about your device, including your operating system, keyboard layout, settings, and specs, and even the software you’ve installed. It can also determine information about you, such as your IP address (and therefore your location), take screenshots of your desktop, and open links on your behalf.
RedLine Stealer is a nightmare to deal with because you could lose all your accounts, in-game items, and even real-world money to it. You could also be in physical danger since it can identify you and where you live.
As if it weren’t bad enough, RedLine Stealer bypasses antivirus and antimalware software. It runs silently in the background, so you won’t even know it’s hurting you or your device until it’s too late.
According to Triskele Labs, it can also infect your system with ransomware or other malware. This could be why threat actors sometimes instruct players to disable their antivirus software or firewalls to install the “hack.”
RedLine Stealer’s Dark History
Valorant may be RedLine Stealer’s current epicenter, but the malware has a disturbing history. Originally discovered in 2020, it emerged on the underground market, namely black market Telegram channels and hacker forums, for approximately $200.
Cybercriminals purchase RedLine, trick people into installing it, and then steal and sell their information on dark web forums — though we can assume some take it a step further and use it to blackmail, extort, monitor, or hack specific targets.
In 2021, RedLine Stealer spread through phony website clones and Google ads. Links were set up to mimic popular brands and domains. Users who couldn’t tell the difference clicked on them and inadvertently installed the malware.
Less than a year later, threat actors spread RedLine Stealer on Facebook. After breaking into business accounts, they’d share boosted posts of links to free software downloads — anything from Adobe Acrobat to GTA.
The Valorant malware was brought to light in March 2022, but it likely scammed Valorant players long before then. RedLine Stealer continues to be distributed by any means necessary, and has been linked to a variety of scams, with emphasis on:
- ⚠️Software downloads. These are presented as the real deal by dupe websites and domains. RedLine Stealer can be acquired through fake application installs for games, antivirus software, photo and video editing tools, VPNs, and even Windows upgrades.
- ⚠️Emails. Marketing emails are all the rage, and cybercriminals exploit them. You could unknowingly install RedLine Stealer by clicking on phishing links or downloading attachments masked as freebies or important documents.
- ⚠️Software Cracks and pirated files. It’s all too easy to acquire malware from illegal media. The University of San Diego found more than half of all pirated files contain hidden malicious software. Programs like RedLine Stealer are often disguised as keygens for cracked applications, and planted within compressed folders (.zip and .rar).
How to Avoid Valorant Cheats Malware
RedLine Stealer isn’t the only way gamers are at risk. Here are some rules to live by to ensure your safety and good standing in Valorant.
Prevention is better than cure, and the best way to ensure RedLine Stealer can’t get to you is to avoid Valorant hacks and cheats entirely. Even though some cheats are safe, they’re few and far between and difficult to distinguish, so it’s not worth the risk.
Besides, using hacks, mods, and cheats are bannable offenses according to Riot Games’ terms and conditions, so even if the cheats aren’t malicious, you’ll get a permanent account ban if you’re caught using them.
To combat cheating, Riot Games developed its own anti-cheat software called Riot Vanguard. You can’t play Valorant without it, and attempting to disable it during a match is a fast way to get your account flagged. Riot Games has a zero-tolerance policy on cheating or hacking in Valorant, and the odds of getting away with it are slim to none.
🛡️Know What to Look For
Valorant is RedLine Stealer’s primary target because cybercriminals know they can prey on desperate players looking to win matches and prize money and climb the ranks. This means they’ll promote their Trojans using specific keywords and SEO.
If you see anyone — especially on YouTube — enthusiastically promoting Valorant hacks, cheats, or mods using terms like “free”, “safe”, “working”, “undetected”, or “best”, your spidey senses should do more than just tingle.
Remember, legitimate Valorant cheats don’t exist. The more someone pushes such hacks as safe to use, the more suspicious you should be.
Even if Valorant cheat lure videos seem legit, they’re likely stolen from other players. It’s not difficult for cybercriminals to steal or modify gameplay footage from other YouTubers and then present it as “proof” their hacks are real and working. Don’t trust them!
🛡️Never Click on Suspicious Links or Install Third-Party Software
You may be thinking, “If Riot Games doesn’t have legitimate hacks, how else can I install them?”, but that’s the point. Scammers know cheaters aren’t fussed about security or legality, and if they’re desperate enough, will click on anything they believe will help improve their game.
That’s exactly how they get you. They hide RedLine Stealer and other malware in ads, links, and applications. When you click on them, or worse, download and install them, you’re inviting the vampire into the house.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a hack, mod, cheat, keygen, update, launcher, or desktop wallpaper collection — when it comes to Valorant, if it’s third-party software, it’s probably malicious. The Valorant malware has been identified as an application called “Cheat installer.exe”, but it could be anything.
🛡️Don’t Share Your Information
Tread carefully when it comes to forms or sharing your information. Even something as seemingly harmless as a giveaway could open the floodgates to data theft. Run for the hills if a third party asks for your information before sending you promised links, files, or apps.
It’s an old trick for scammers to masquerade as tech support or representatives from legitimate businesses to get you to divulge your contact details. With Valorant, cybercriminals might pretend to be from Riot Games and fake issues with your account or claim you’ve won prizes they need to deposit to pry your credentials out of you.
Riot Games will never contact you out of the blue, for any reason. They already have your account information on record and won’t ever ask for your credentials.
🛡️Pay Attention to Your Kids’ Activity
The average age of Valorant players may be 23, but children are still participating in the fun. Some competitive players, including those with Radiant rank, are as young as 14 years old.
Children may not understand the consequences of cheating, and might be more willing to trust the SEO telling them the hacks are safe, free, and really work. If you’re a parent, it’s a good idea to supervise your child’s online activity and pay attention to the games they’re playing, videos they’re watching, and websites they’re visiting.
According to one report, cyber attacks on young gamers have increased by 57%, with scammers using games like Roblox, Fortnite, Minecraft, and Apex Legends to lure children into phishing traps.
🛡️Never, Ever, Disable Your Firewall
Consider this a rule for life, not just Valorant or online gaming. If you’re going to take a chance and install illicit software, never turn off your security apps or firewall to do so. Legitimate software won’t ask you to, and with progressions in operating systems and computing, cases of false alarms are becoming scarcer by the minute.
Illegal apps almost always instruct you to disable your firewalls to get the software to run. This is an incredibly dangerous thing to do because if the software contains malware, viruses, or other malicious files, you’ll give them free rein of your device.
RedLine Stealer might be smart enough to sneak past most antivirus software, but Windows Defender can identify and stop the threat before it starts stealing your data.
🛡️Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Since RedLine steals your credentials, and cybercriminals use them to gain access to your accounts, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a great way to impede them.
It’s simple. If they attempt to sign into your accounts, but you have MFA set up so you’d have to physically or manually verify your login, there’d be very little they could do to get around it.
This isn’t fail-safe, but adds an extra layer of protection which could be the difference between having your passwords stolen and having your bank accounts, Steam Wallet, Valorant account, or other valuables seized by cyber thugs.
What to Do If RedLine Stealer Gets You
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how diligent and careful you are, cyber attacks can still reach you. Especially in the case of RedLine Stealer, which managed to dupe people using Google Ads and hacked Facebook accounts. If you’ve fallen victim to this horrible scam, you’ll need to act quickly to minimize the harm done. Here’s what to do:
1. Remove RedLine Stealer ASAP. You can use a malware removal tool to get the job done without hassle, but you’ll have to verify whether or not your anti-malware is capable of detecting and removing RedLine Stealer. Otherwise, you may have to put on your geek glasses and do it manually, which, depending on your tech proficiency, might require a ton of research. Either way, make sure the stealer and the original Trojan software have been removed from your device entirely.
2. Restore your system. Even if you remove RedLine Stealer, your files may still be corrupted. The easiest way to fix this is to restore your PC to a safe date. You might lose data in doing so, depending on your backups, but it’s preferable to having an infected device. In extreme cases, a full system reset may be the only option.
3. Change your passwords. Once RedLine is off your device, you’ll have to kick the cybercriminals out. Log out of all sessions on all your devices, and change all of your passwords — and I mean all of them. While you’re at it, set up multi-factor authentication.
4. Report the attack to your bank or credit card issuer. You may have to cancel your cards, but if RedLine has logged your payment details, your whole account is at risk. If you report the scam as soon as you can, your bank or card issuer can step in before the thieves can act.
Cheat Lures Abound
Valorant isn’t the only game being plagued by scam artists and cybercriminals. Here are five examples of cheat lures in other games.
Another name you should fear. First discovered in 2022, the data-stealing malware acts like RedLine Stealer, and drops malicious files on a device, while obtaining sensitive information about the user. It circulates primarily on Russian hacker forums and is distributed as fake cracks, cheats, hacks, and mods for a number of popular video games.
- COD Dropper V1
Call of Duty: Warzone has seen a cheat lure similar to Valorant’s. Threat actors promote beginner-friendly, free, and working cheats for the battle royale shooter, luring players into installing dropper malware. This type of malicious software installs other malware onto a user’s device, often ransomware or data-stealers.
- BT Fortnite Cheats
Stretching back to 2018, the Fortnite cheat lure had threat actors pushing all sorts of game cheats including wall hacks, aimbots, free VBucks, and map hacks, to name a few. If a player clicked on the supplied link, they’d arrive on a survey page titled Sub2Unlock. Clicking the subscribe button triggered a download link, which then took users to BT Fortnite Cheats, where a cesspool of disguised malware was up for grabs, most notably Stealer.exe — which as you’ve guessed, stole player credentials. It seemed to target browsers, Steam, and Bitcoin wallets in particular.
The Final Fantasy community was rocked by controversy in February 2023, when it came to light that malware was added to a popular reshading mod, called GShade. The malware could force a device shutdown if its files were tampered with, but its developer, Marit Satil, claimed it was to teach a lesson about the dangers of third-party software, boldly stating he could have added a virus at any point. The nerve!
- CS:GO Knife Hack
The CS:GO virus is another Trojan, this time presented as free knife skins. Players have to input their Steam account details to access the goods (which don’t exist, by the way), thereby forfeiting their credentials to the malware.
Can A VPN Prevent Trojan Attacks?
No, and don’t believe any VPN companies that claim this. VPNs protect your data by masking your IP address and tunneling your activity through a network of encrypted servers. This means VPNs can improve your online anonymity, but they won’t help you if you give your information away or interact with malicious software.
VPNs aren’t antivirus or antimalware tools either, so if your device is infected, running a VPN won’t do anything to protect your files or alert you of any threats or malware.
Even so, it’s always a good idea to have your VPN running. It conceals your activity and encrypts your data, shielding you from harmful trackers and other threats, including DDoS attacks, Man-in-the-middle attacks, and data leaks.
Protect Your Gaming Data With CyberGhost VPN
You can never be too safe. CyberGhost VPN has a ton of features you’ll love if you’re looking to protect yourself from scams — and you’ll get great gaming perks too.
⭐Encrypt Your Data
Our VPN uses uncrackable 256-bit AES encryption to render your data unreadable and shield your activity from snoopers. If cybercriminals were to spy on you, they’d find a garbled, indecipherable, and useless mess of code instead of sensitive information. We also keep a strict No Logs Policy, so your connection activity is never on record.
⭐Choose Your IP
Do you want to go off the radar? Mask your location behind thousands of IP addresses from over 91 countries. Each server is designed with speed, stability, and security in mind, and you can customize protocols to better suit your gaming needs. You can even use CyberGhost VPN to play Valorant in any region.
⭐Prevent DDoS Attacks
Sometimes the threats aren’t cybercriminals, but bullies who have nothing better to do than harass you. CyberGhost VPN masks your location and conceals your identity, so you’ll be safe from DDoS attacks, swatting, and doxxing.
⭐Public Wi-Fi and Leak Protection
CyberGhost VPN’s Wi-Fi protection alerts you of dodgy connections and keeps your data safe on public networks. We also have a Kill Switch to cut your internet connection and prevent data leaks if your connection is ever interrupted.
Looking for the best gaming VPN? We’ve got gaming-optimized servers for you! You can use CyberGhost VPN to virtually place yourself closer to Valorant servers to improve ping and reduce lag. You’ll also escape ISP content-based throttling so you can game at all hours without interference.
⭐Cover All Your Devices
CyberGhost VPN is compatible with all major devices and operating systems, so you can take advantage of smoother, safer Valorant gameplay on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and your gaming consoles. You can connect up to 7 devices simultaneously with one account, or add CyberGhost VPN to your router for unlimited coverage.
Get Good, Stay Safe
Don’t cheat in Valorant. If Riot Games doesn’t get to your account first, cybercriminals will. The Valorant cheat lure isn’t a mild inconvenience — it’s a dangerous scam with dire consequences. Improving your rank isn’t worth the risk.
Besides, winning is way more satisfying when you’ve earned it, and you’ll sleep much better at night knowing your details aren’t for sale on the dark web.
Still, whether or not you fall for cheat lures, you’re still vulnerable to phishing, scams, and other violations. You can download CyberGhost VPN to get the best defense — and the added bonus of improving your gaming experience.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to change all my passwords and run all the antimalware software I can find. If RedLine Stealer doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will!
No. You can’t be sure a cheat is legit until you install it, so treat all of them as malicious. A few Valorant hacks might be safe to download, but Riot Vanguard — the developers’ native anti-cheat software — will pick up on them and you’ll get hit with a perma-ban.
If you plan to risk it and visit torrent or file-sharing websites anyway, at least install CyberGhost VPN before you do. We can’t stop you from downloading malware, but we can encrypt your data, mask your IP address, and prevent nasty trackers from keeping tabs on you while you browse.
Usually, it depends on the antivirus software you’re using and how sophisticated the Trojan is, but with the Valorant cheat lure, it’s unlikely. RedLine Stealer — the malware being distributed — is known to bypass most security and antivirus measures.
The best thing to do is to avoid Valorant cheats at all costs. CyberGhost VPN may not be able to give you instant wins, but it can improve your gaming experience. You can install the best gaming VPN to take advantage of ultra-fast gaming-optimized servers, DDoS protection, and unlimited bandwidth.
No. Riot Vanguard isn’t malware, but it penetrates your PC’s kernel — a move many feel is invasive. Vanguard is always on, even when you’re not actively playing. You can disable it, but Valorant won’t run.
Riot Games is building a reputation for how seriously it takes cheating. The good news is the developers have no problems with VPNs. Using one doesn’t go against community guidelines, so you can get CyberGhost VPN to protect your digital identity. Vanguard won’t come for you if you do!
Valorant hacks contain malware called RedLine Stealer, a data-stealing program known for collecting a scary amount of data on users and their devices. It can log your credentials, location, device specs, and installed software, and it can drop more viruses, malware, and ransomware without your input.
VPNs can’t protect you from malware you download, but they can boost your online privacy. CyberGhost VPN will protect your privacy on all your devices, including desktop, mobile, gaming consoles, and even your router.