Cybercriminals setting their sights on gamers: Kaspersky
By Digital News Asia February 12, 2013
- Attacks launched to gain access to personal user data, such as passwords to online games and banking systems
- 15 million attempted visits to phishing websites designed to look like pages of one of the largest online games developers
ACCORDING to data gathered from the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), Kaspersky Lab experts recorded 7,000 attempts to infect gamers around the world every day in 2012 (click infographic to enlarge).
These attacks were launched in an attempt to gain access to personal user data, such as passwords to online games and online banking systems. Where games are concerned, malicious users attempted to steal avatars and in-game items to subsequently sell these virtual goods for real money.
In the case of online banking, cybercriminals aimed to steal money directly from real bank accounts, Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.
As Kaspersky Lab experts discovered, in order to do this, malicious users sent an average of 10 emails with malicious links and attachments to gamers every day, in addition to making roughly 500 attempts to infect gamers via browser-based attacks.
What’s more, the company’s ‘collection’ of malicious programs targeting online games increased at a rate of 5,000 new programs a day.
One of malicious users’ most favored tactics in the world of online games is, of course, social engineering — phishing in particular.
For example, cybercriminals invoked the names of well-known gaming worlds and desperately tried to lure gamers to their fake websites in order to harvest passwords from registered gaming accounts.
In 2012, Kaspersky Lab experts recorded 15 million attempted visits to phishing websites designed to look like the pages of one of the largest developers of online games. As it turned out, there were up to 50,000 attempted redirects to phishing sites each day.
Threats targeting gamers are found all over the world but are, of course, not found in equal concentrations everywhere as their numbers are in direct correlation to the number of active players found in different countries.
In 2012, the top three unlucky targeted countries turned out to be Russia, China, and India. These are the countries where gamers faced the highest risk of infection and subsequent theft of avatars and in-game valuables.
Kaspersky added that this list of ‘leaders’ has remained more or less unchanged over several years, and there is, unfortunately, no reason to expect malicious users to lessen their interest in this area.
Kaspersky Lab’s malware expert Sergey Golovanov suggests that gamers adhere to the following simple code of Internet conduct:
“First and foremost, one needs to be alert when receiving emails featuring, for example, a request from an online game’s admin server for personal information about your account or an authorization offer under some pretext. Don’t just click on the link right away – it could be a phishing site.
“Next, don’t download unofficial patches from dubious sources — you could easily end up downloading a ‘bonus’ in the form of a trojan that would then infiltrate your system and start stealing all of your passwords.
“And I don’t mean just for online games, but also for bank cards, if your bank offers online services. With this in mind, gamers might consider keeping an up-to-date virtual debit card that lets them limit their spending to an amount they choose – with no risk of someone else cleaning out their account.”
The Kaspersky Security Network brings together millions of users of Kaspersky Lab products around the world. It automatically collects information about infection attempts or attempted downloads and launch of suspicious files on user computers.
This data is collected with the consent of users and is confidential. This data is subsequently used for analysis using Kaspersky Lab’s central servers, the company said.
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