Valve removes Steam game after allegations of hidden cryptocurrency miner

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abstractism.jpg
A scene from Abstractism, which allegedly hid a cryptocurrency miner behind an innocuous-looking Steam game.

Valve has removed simple 2D platformer Abstractism from its Steam platform after allegations that the app hid a secret cryptocurrency miner and used misleading item-trading tactics to attract players.
YouTuber SidAlpha highlighted earlier accusations of the game's illicit cryptomining functions in a video this weekend, laying out how the $1 Abstractism increased CPU and GPU usage well beyond the point that a simple 2D line-art game should require. In a forum response on Steam, developer Okalo Union chalked that resource usage up to the "post-processing effects rendering" required when running on high graphics settings, but that claim doesn't really pass the sniff test for a title with such simple visuals.
In addition, a suspiciously named "SteamService.exe" file in the Abstractism's directory reportedly set off many antimalware services for allowing "remote execution of commands," which would be necessary for communicating with a cryptocurrency platform (this shouldn't be confused with the legitimate SteamService.exe executable, which exists in a different folder). In a July 23 Steam update, developer Okalo Union claimed that this file was necessary to control the game's "Inventory Service," which provides randomized item drops, saying directly that the executables "are not Bitcoin miner (and are not Monero miner too, honestly)."

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