Scam of the day: psvitaisogames.com. Full Free Vita ISO games are not so free…

June 8, 2013

scam_emailI don’t mind piracy. I mean, I’ve always been clear on this blog that piracy is a matter of personal decisions, ethics, and, basically, if you pirate, well it’s your choice and I’ll try to not judge you. After all I’ve been in high school too, a long time ago. But there’s one thing I really hate, it’s people making money out of piracy, and even worse are the people who don’t seem to see it as a problem, such as the thousands of users of the True Blue Dongle. If money is involved, it should go to the right people: the developers of the game.

I’ve tried in the past to explain this, but I failed, so this time I’m trying a new approach: I’ve decided to run a series of articles where I debunk those scam websites that pretend to provide you full PS Vita games for free, ps vita isos games, vita hacks, or other “full iso for free without buying”.

My target today is a site called psvitaisogames.com. That site is 100% fake, and as I’m trying to not give them too much advertising, I won’t link directly to them here. Also, next time you see somebody mentioning psvitaisogames.com, I humbly suggest you point them to this article.

Let me restate this: psvitaisogames.com is a scam website, this is a fake and definitely will not let you download (let alone play) Vita isos.

Let me elaborate…

The PS Vita is one of the few consoles on which (at the time of this writing) games cannot be pirated. That does not prevent many people from looking in search engines for information about ps vita isos, or free ps vita games.

We’ve all gone through this: when a reliable source tells us something is not doable, we all at some point wanted to believe in some sort of conspiracy theory: hackers are hiding the true hack from me, the one that will let me download Vita games for free, but surely google will have the answer I am looking for!

Whenever there is a large amount of people searching for popular keywords (such as “free games for vita” or “download games vita”), scammers see this as an opportunity.

Why they do this

The goal of these people is to find a “niche” concept, where they can rank as high as possible in google search results, and somehow make money from that traffic. Money, as usual, is the main reason behind these scams. This is no different for scam site psvitaisogames.com, a site which pretends to offer you a way to play pirated vita games for free (a.k.a. Free Vita Isos)

psvitaisogames

when it looks too good to be true, it’s too good to be true

How they make money

There are several ways for websites to monetize traffic. Popular ways to do that are “pay per click” advertising, or affiliate links. Monetizing traffic on a website is not a bad thing by definition (I myself use Amazon affiliate links and google adsense on this site), but a “typical” website will generally provide a service that its users find useful, in a way that they actually want to come back to the site regularly.

psvitaisogames.com, on the other hand, is closer to a “bait and switch” type of website: they’ll make money out of your clicks, install a few viruses on your machine in the process (note, in their defense, they are not the ones actually installing those viruses, but they use shady advertising companies, that do) and by the time you realize you were tricked, it will already be too late.

Of course such websites generally don’t use adsense or Amazon. Trusted advertising companies such as google regularly check the quality of the sites showing their ads, and scam websites such as psvitaisogames.com probably wouldn’t pass these checks. But there are many other ways for such shady sites to make money.

free-money

psvitaisogames.com make money with at least three sources of income:

  • clickbank: psvitaisogames.com promote the sale of some software called GameBackupSystem, through clickbank. They basically get a percentage of the sale every time somebody buys GameBackupSystem through them. For all I know, that piece of software is probably a series of open source tools repackaged and sold. It really doesn’t have any value and doesn’t bring anything that you wouldn’t find for free on scene websites, don’t buy it.
  • Donations: I don’t think psvitaisogames.com is getting any money from donations, but the paypal link probably makes them look legit. “look, we’re nice guys, people help us with the server costs!”
  • Paid surveys with filespeedy.net (also known as astrocash). That’s probably the main source of income for psvitaisogames.com. This is a hosting system where people have to fill a survey before being able to download your files. The owners of psvitaisogames.com then get paid a percentage of the money that is paid by the survey company to filespeedy.

How you get scammed

First of all, I’ll state the obvious, but if you ever manage to pass the barrier of viruses that stand between you and the download, you’ll sadly realize that the files are absolutely not vita game packages, and if they were, they would never run on your PS Vita because of Sony’s DRMs. In my attempts, the downloads ended up being bogus and redirecting me to the “astrocash” homepage.

More importantly, in the process of trying to download the files you will:

  • Run a heavy risk of installing a virus (a vast majority of the “surveys” from filespeedy.net are actually “free downloads” infected with malware or viruses)
  • Indirectly send money to the scammers, as they get paid every time you try to use filespeedy.net to download their fake files
  • if you have a facebook account, “Like” them on facebook without even knowing about it, through some automated clickjacking hack running on their site
  • The most stubborn among you will probably try several times (giving them even more money in the process, and getting more viruses), end up being frustrated and maybe try to actually buy their GameBackupSystem software.
  • Waste an insane amount of time

If you are a good candidate, they probably make between $10 and $30 on you by the time you give up, while you ended up with viruses on your computer, less free time in your day, and absolutely no iso on your Vita.

psvitaisogames_virus

You’re going to have to wilingly install a Virus before you can download… another virus

How they pretend to be legit

psvitaisogames.com have several ways to appear like a legit website. One of their tricks, as I mentioned above, is that some of the links on their website hide a “facebook like” button, and without knowing about it, just by visiting their site, you end up being one of their supporters. They currently have more than 10’000 people liking them on facebook, which are either real people who got tricked, or fake accounts.

Another thing they do is a series of fake “comments” on their website. The comments are reasonably clever, and look like they could have been asked by real people. But, paradoxically enough, there are too many “it works!” comments, it becomes too good to be true. But again, those are difficult to judge before you’ve tried to download one of their things, and realize there’s no way in hell so many people are satisfied with the service.

Additionally to that, psvitaisogames.com, like many other scam websites, advertise for their service through the illusion of “random” comments on more legit websites like us. They target sites like ours, with credibility in the scene, pretend to be a random commenter with questions such as “I’ve seen this psvitaisogames.com site, which has isos, it seems to be legit, what do you guys think?”. This contributes to bringing them more traffic, apparent legitimacy, and more gullible people.

They also have a facebook page, a twitter account, and probably (although I haven’t found any) youtube/dailymotion videos pointing to their website. This contributes to artificially boost their credibility in the eyes of search engines and of real people.

Conclusion

psvitaisogames.com is one of the many scam websites on the internet that pretend to have free vita isos for you to download. This site is not only a scam making money out of gullible people, it is dangerous and a vector of malware. I was honestly initially trying to prove that the stuff they distribute is not legit, but I had to stop given the amount of red flags my antivirus spit at me. The conclusion is obvious: stay away from this site and let your friends know about it too.

There are many sites like this one, and their tricks are always the same. Try to stay away from sites that promise you a download in exchange for a survey in general, and sites that use filespeedy.net in particular. Filespeedy.net, and the site behind it astrocash.org seem to be extremely fishy advertising platforms, that don’t hesitate to let viruses go through their systems. Their whole terms and conditions are solely available in Polish, which (coincidence?) happens to also seem to be the country where psvitaisogames.com is registered. I have nothing against Poland, but an advertising service that only has T&C’s in Polish when the rest of their interface is in English just feels too fishy to me. (Astrocash has a 13% rating on scamadviser.com, which is extremely low)

Clickbank in itself is a legit service, but it is used by so many fishy sites, that it is a warning flag as well (I have used clickbank in the past, but gave up on that system given the poor quality of the products actually sold there). For example, for console hacks, the “tools” being sold on clickbank are repackaged versions of free tools such as VHBL.

What you have to keep in mind is that if such a “miraculous” solution to run PS Vita isos was actually available and out in the open, sites like wololo.net or other reputed scene websites would be all over the place talking about it. People would also immediately be sharing the techniques on many forums, upload the “hacks” or “isos” to dropbox, mediafire, and other hosting services without required survey. Sony would also be taking immediate measures, either legal or technical. When nobody’s talking about it, it’s not because it a well guarded secret, it’s because it doesn’t work.

At the time of this writing, the only way to play ISOs on the vita is to use CEF or ARK. These tools only allow people to play PSP isos on the vita, NOT PS Vita isos, and only run on specific firmwares. In particular, there is no public method as of today to run PS Vita isos, on any Vita firmware.

Verdict: psvitaisogames.com is 100% fake (will not provide the service they claim to provide) and dangerous (has malware and viruses). Avoid at all costs.

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