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NFT hype could ruin your PC — literally

Surface Laptop 4 Amd 2021 Hero
Surface Laptop 4 Amd 2021 Hero (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are the latest cyber craze sweeping the internet.
  • Cybercriminals are using the hype wave as bait to lure in unsuspecting individuals.
  • The criminals promise NFT information via an Excel sheet, which results in PCs getting a heaping dose of malware.

Curious as to what the heck the non-fungible token craze is about? Looking for authoritative sources of information on the subject? Well, don't trust that sketchy Excel files entitled "NFT_Items.xlsm" will give you what you're looking for. That's a prime example of how NFT hype could ruin your PC — literally.

Fortinet's FortiGuard Labs has released a report alerting people about a new scheme from threat actors, one that takes full advantage of current non-fungible token hype (via ZDNet). It highlights a mysterious Excel file purporting to be about the NFT scene, though the file's real purpose is to enable a malicious macro and pump your PC full of malware. Specifically, you'll score a RAT (Remote Access Trojan).

The RAT will give threat actors access to everything from your PC's credentials to its webcam, let the bad guys transform your machine into an involuntary mining machine, and even give baddies the power to log your key inputs.

You can read Fortinet's full report for the technical ins and outs of how the scheme works on a computing level, but these are the broad strokes you should be aware of. As always, don't trust sketchy files from untrusted sources — especially Excel files (there's a reason Microsoft has been cracking down hard on Excel macros).

With that said, this report shouldn't scare you away from NFTs themselves; they're not the security risk here. Some would go so far as to say NFTs are being misrepresented in general these days. Though, even without malware, there are still plenty of non-fungible projects that are sullying the tech's reputation.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

1 Comment
  • NFT's are bought by people with more money that sense. If some rich Youtuber or upper class art collector is going to brick their PC chasing the latest trend, I say let him. I sincerely hope that regular Joes aren't wasting their money on "one of a kind" BS believing it's some kind of legitimate investment.