Symantec published a blog post last week addressing a widely reported issue: there are several websites offering Nintendo Switch emulators online. These emulators are fake and they install unwanted software on both OS X and Windows.
The security firm says these replicas of the Nintendo Switch for PC and Mac do not even exist, and that the whole thing is a scam led by a couple of sites and YouTube channels looking to make a profit on innocent users.
Symantec recently came under heavy fire for issuing SSL certificates to websites without following regulated procedures by Google. As a result, the firm got caught and the tech giant imposed a penalty on them by reducing their credibility online.
How does the Nintendo Switch emulator scam work?
The thing about this so-called scam is that it is simple. It relies on people who believe there is a Nintendo Switch emulator, even though the console released a mere month ago.
These eager gamers frequent YouTube and end up visiting channels that claim anyone can play, for example, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on a PC or Mac.
Videos showing a step-by-step process on how to download and install the emulators abound, and some of them link to external sites where players can allegedly download them.
Some of these websites offer the file for the Nintendo Switch emulator in exchange of answering a survey or handing over some sort of personal data. Others just have a direct download link to the file.
Unwanted apps under Zelda skin
According to Symantec, scammers are profiting from each download of the supposed Switch emulator, while users get nothing but a file that doesn’t work.
Or at least that is what it seems. While the emulator itself does not exist, downloading the file will also download unwanted applications. It is an entire network that starts with sites and video channels that direct users to download the fishy software.
“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,” says Symantec.
Lastly, the security firm recommends just simply buying the console. If a player really wants to experience a title that much, supporting the original developers and manufacturers is the way to go.