The Nintendo Switch has been one of the most successful launches of 2017 so far.
Released earlier this month, Nintendo’s latest console hopes to revolutionise the world of hand-held gaming, offering players much more freedom to experience games both on the go or at home.
But gamers have been warned that cyber-scammers are now targeting eager Switch fans with fake emulators that could end up costing them more than they expected.
The news comes from security experts Symantec, which says it has seen a major rise in scammers attempting to push a fake Nintendo Switch emulator online.
Emulators allow smartphone, tablet or PC users to play console-only games on their devices, often illegally stealing content from top titles.
The main tactic used by scammers involves fake surveys, where victims are encouraged to complete a survey and enter their personal details in order to get the opportunity to get an unlock code to download a free emulator.
However doing so will in fact download an program that installs unwanted apps and files onto the victim’s device.
The scam is supported by multiple fake YouTube videos that claim to offer a guide to downloading Nintendo Switch emulators.
Symantec found that searching for “Nintendo Switch Emulator” on YouTube brings up a huge number of results, some of which apparently have tens of thousands of views (the most having over 76,000).
However, the videos differ hugely in terms of their actual content, with some containing a step-by-step process, showing how to visit a website, download a file, and play Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on a PC.
Other videos feature a person talking about “free tools” but never explicitly referring to the Switch Emulator, indicating that these videos were designed to be generic so they could be repurposed for other trending search terms.
“If you’re looking to play emulated games on your personal computer, be wary of websites that ask you to fill out a survey to unlock content—that’s a big red flag that you’re being scammed,” Symantec’s Satnam Narang warned in a blog post.
The company adds that there is of course no official Nintendo Switch emulator, however there are a number of highly-respected third-party offerings.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a cyber-attack, you can view Express.co.uk’s guide to the next steps to take here.