The antivirus company's Threat Labs caught several skins with a virus coded within them hosted on the official Minecraft website. The seemingly-innocent downloads used the PNG image filetype to deliver a simple script that would reformat users' hard drives, delete their system processes, and remove their backup data, Avast found.
"The malicious code is largely unimpressive and can be found on sites that provide step-by-step instructions on how to create viruses with Notepad," Avast's Alexej Savčin wrote earlier today. "While it is fair to assume that those responsible are not professional cybercriminals, the bigger concern is why the infected skins could be legitimately uploaded to the Minecraft website."
Alongside the skins' damage to players' computers, Avast reports users may receive strange messages in their inboxes. These include "You have maxed your internet usage for a lifetime" and "You Are Nailed, Buy A New Computer This Is A Piece Of Shit." Avast reports Mojang is aware of the problem and is currently working on a fix.
For players that downloaded the Minecraft skins in question, Avast recommends running a virus scan with Avast Free Antivirus. Some users may want to reinstall their copy of Minecraft, too, and for those that have already lost data, Avast recommends using a backup if possible. Read Avast's full report for more information on the skins' damaging properties.