Exercise Caution When Downloading Mods

Amazing mods such as the RECBZ mod for Battlefield 2 should be downloaded with caution.

Mods are absolutely terrific. I can not imagine gaming without them. Ever since I first got into computer gaming in the early 2000s, I’ve been fascinated by ways that people have been able to modify assets within video games to create totally new experiences for the player. I can honestly say that I benefit from the modding community on a weekly basis and I’m thankful for their tireless work. But if you’re going to get into the modding scene, whether as a modder or as one who plays mods, you should definitely be careful of what you download.

To date, I haven’t had any issues with modding sites such as ModDB.com or Nexus Mods. But this doesn’t mean that it is okay to throw caution to the wind. I’ve read reports on many occasions of people who ended up with Trojan viruses or malware on their computers as the result of downloading a mod. Many gamers can be so excited to play a game modification that they don’t realize that all of them come with the disclaimer of utilizing them at our own risk. Not only can the mods come with viruses and malware, but they can also possibly break your game to the point of having to re-install it. Also, being that each person’s computer is different with unique setups and configurations, sometimes the mods just may not work.

Credit: CD Projekt Red
Earlier this year, it was discovered that some Cyberpunk 2077 mods contained exploits that allowed hackers to take over the user’s computer.

One of the greatest examples of the reason to exercise significant caution with mods was due to the hacking exploit of Cyberpunk 2077 mods from earlier in the year that forced CD Projekt Red to release an emergency patch. The exploit was embedded in the mod files and gave the hackers the ability to seize control of the computer the files were downloaded onto. Since its release, the Cyberpunk 2077 modding community has cranked out numerous mods so many gamers were possibly at risk. Being that Cyberpunk 2077 was arguably the most high-profile game of 2020, this story was reported through all the major video game media outlets.

When you are downloading mods, one rule that I would always keep in mind is to know your source. On modding websites, I always check the comments sections of specific mods to see what other users are saying about them. If malware is discovered within the files, typically someone will mention it in the comments. Sometimes, people mention that the files are showing up as a security threat on their computers. When I see that, I scroll down further to see if other users identify it as a legitimate threat or a false positive from the antivirus software. The comments section usually is a good indicator if the mod is safe to download or not. But if you feel uncertain about downloading the mod, then my advice is to refrain from doing it altogether.

Capture Credit: Venice Unleashed
Modding communities like Venice Unleashed allow you to access to forums where you get up-to-date information on the mods the community supports.

Venice Unleashed is a modding community dedicated to Battlefield 3 mods for PC. What’s great about this website is that it has a forum where members are regularly posting about the different mods. This means if there were viruses, malware, or anything else dangerous associated with them, it would be quickly reported and not recommended to the other members of the community. That accountability does help when determining when a site is safe to download from. From there, you can search to see if the mod has received coverage from any gaming publication. For instance, TheGamer wrote an article on Venice Unleashed back in December. This type of coverage helps to substantiate the modding community as being legitimate and not a haven for viruses.

I’ve included the websites I personally use regularly in the “MODS” section within the main links menu. To date, I have not experienced any issues with any of the sites and I have downloaded from all of them. Please let me know if it is a different experience for you. But the main thing to keep in mind when downloading mods is to not be so quick to click. Take some time and research the mod. See what others are saying about it. And make sure that you’re okay with possible consequences (such as breaking and having to reinstall your game) that may come of it.

-TVGA
admin@videogamersadvocate.com

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