The Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s console, which was released on March 3, 2017, was extremely successful but is very hard to find. That’s why many people wanted to get this product’s emulators. With the help of emulators the users of smartphones, tablets and PCs can play console only games on their devices (the content usually is pirated from top titles).
And there are scammers on the web that anticipated this new opportunity and created bogus free Nintendo Switches. The security company Symantec warned PC users that those emulators are frauds.
A visit over to YouTube and a search for “Nintendo Switch emulator” produces lots of videos, many with tens of thousands of views. Their content differs greatly. The video named “Nintendo Switch Emulator for PC – Play Breath of the Wild on PC” has more than 77,000 views. That fraudulent video explains how you go to the emulator website, download a .zip file and then run an .exe file in the archive that presumably allows users to play Nintendo’s latest game Zelda: Breath of the Wild. After that the video then displays scenes from the game, so that people would be duped into thinking that downloading and executing the supposed emulator really “works”. Other videos feature people mentioning ‘free tools’ without directly referencing the Switch emulators. This suggests that these videos were intended to be generic and easily modified for other search terms. Most of those fake Switch emulator videos include links to other sites in their description fields, but in one case the video itself contained a promotion of such a website. Elements of Nintendo branding, such as screenshots of Breath of the Wild appeared on the most of those sites.
Symantec says that when you download those files, you get fraudulent survey scams. The users are directed to websites that ask them to complete offers to receive free Nintendo Switches or other consoles and prizes or to fill out surveys and enter their personal information to get an unlocking code or to unlock the download itself. Each completed quiz, download or offer generates affiliate earnings.
One of the videos on YouTube resulted in software downloads for Mac and Windows installers (OSX.Malcol and PUA.Downloader) for a potentially unwanted application named PUA.OneSystemCare. Obviously, this is an annoying adware application.
Symantecs advices to stay away from shady websites that offer users fill out surveys for the purpose of unlocking content. That’s a clear indication of scamming. Users also should do research on emulators before they decide to download and install any applications.
If people want to get a Nintendo Switch, their best bets are Internet trackers such as NowInStock. It’s also recommended to wait for announcements from retailers about availability of the new stock.
While Nintendo Switch emulator doesn’t exist, the emulators for the Wii-U, Nintendo’s previous console, are being developed. The hottest one is Cemu and it does reportedly support Breath of the Wild.