Some Minecraft fans are struggling to keep their businesses and homes safe from an onslaught of malicious software, ransomware and other threats.
In a study released Monday by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), some users found themselves locked out of their homes for days at a time, as they were forced to download a series of security patches for the popular online game.
Users who tried to install a new patch from Microsoft’s Microsoft Update service, which came out last week, said they were prompted to enter their email addresses and password.
And while the patches were being installed, many of the software updates could not be downloaded.
The study also found that while some users had attempted to download the latest security patch from the Microsoft Update site, the patches could not install.
“The malware was actually installing itself.
It was installing itself in the browser, it was installing it in the operating system, and it was also installing itself on a USB stick,” said Matt Fagan, senior vice president of the security firm FireEye, in an interview.
“So the virus was doing the exact same thing as it did before, and they were trying to get a little bit more protection than they were getting.”
The NIST report also found users were unable to keep up with the virus’s rapid spread.
It found that only 3% of users who tried updating their software were able to get it installed, compared to 48% for those who tried using a different method.
The study did not offer a specific time period for when users could no longer install patches, but Fagan said it’s possible that the virus spread faster during the holiday shopping season and after the new year.
If you are having trouble updating, try the Microsoft update for free, Fagan wrote.
Microsoft says it’s not available at this time.
While the researchers did not analyze how the malware spread, they did find it possible that some of the virus’ code could have been obfuscated in a way that allowed it to evade antivirus programs.
“If you look at the obfuscation in the code, you see that it was obfuscated to not reveal the malware’s IP address,” Fagan explained.
“You can see that the malware actually uses the address that is assigned to the IP address to communicate with its victims.
And that’s a technique that antivirus software typically doesn’t detect.”
In the case of the obfuscated malware, the obfuscator is not just doing it in a certain way, but it’s doing it so that the obfuscators will not be detected.
“Microsoft says it is actively working to protect customers from malware and ransomware.
The company says it uses a set of software and security tools to detect malware, block malicious downloads and defend against ransomware.