Fake MSI website offers Afterburner app with possible malware

JC Torres - May 14, 2021, 1:41am CDT
Fake MSI website offers Afterburner app with possible malware

When access to a popular resource suddenly disappears, people are likely to search for an alternative source, no matter where it comes from. That’s true for websites but even more so for software and apps which can carry some unfortunate consequences. That might be the case with MSI’s popular Afterburner tool that suddenly became unavailable without much warning and was, at least briefly, imitated by an almost convincing fraudulent website that could have caused unwitting users to download some malware instead.

MSI’s Afterburner tool is quite popular among PC and gaming enthusiasts who want to squeeze out the most from their rigs. It offers both system monitoring as well as GPU overclocking tools that don’t discriminate between rivals NVIDIA and AMD. Given its popularity, it’s really no surprise that people went off looking for an alternative download source when MSI’s official server suddenly stopped working.

Unfortunately, one such source not only tried to offer a copy of MSI Afterburner, it also tried to masquerade as MSI itself. As with efforts designed to hide the owner’s true identity, any download coming from this fake MSI website should be held suspect. That’s exactly what MSI’s warning is all about but, it might have come too little too late to undo some damage.

The real problem is that MSI itself only used one such announcement to warn users about this situation. In the meantime, its official page for Afterburner has no warning whatsoever and still has a non-working download button. Without any explanation or clear alternative, users will naturally try to look for other sources.

Fortunately, it seems that the fraudulent website has been taken out of commission. MSI also says that Afterburner would be downloadable again after routine maintenance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t also offer an alternative download link which could have saved people time and trouble right from the start.


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