FutureFive New Zealand logo
Story image

Online gamers: the new target for theft

28 Mar 2013

Online gamers are the latest target for theft as cyber criminals attempt to steal personal gaming data and passwords.

That is according to Kaspersky Lab, who says in-game items, such as avatars and virtual goods, are being stolen and sold for real money; while online profiles and passwords are used in an attempt to steal money directly from online bank accounts.

As a result, the company’s cloud based detection network, Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), recorded more than 7,000 attacks directly a day targeted at gamers.

“It’s important to treat your online gaming profile with the same level of security as you would your email or online banking details," says Wayne Kirby, product specialist, Kaspersky ANZ.

"Because all three can be just as vulnerable to attack from cyber criminals."

Direct attacks

In order to trap gamers, cyber criminals send emails with malicious links and attachments, disguised as coming from a legitimate gaming site.

In addition, Kaspersky Lab’s online database detects 5000 new malicious programs targeting online games a day.

Phishing sites

Cyber criminals create fake versions of well-known gaming sites with the hope of harvesting real password details from registered gaming accounts.

In 2012, Kaspersky Lab recorded 15 million attempted visits to phishing websites designed to look like the pages of one of the largest developers of online games.

“Online gamers need to be aware that these scams exist, and be alert for any emails requesting account information, even if it looks legitimate," Kirby says. "Don’t just click on the link right away - it could possibly lead you to a phishing site."

Tips to stay safe when gaming online:

· Always confirm the authenticity of emails before clicking on any suspicious links

· Be suspicious of any gaming site emailing you to authenticate your details – rather than following the link, go directly to the site and login from there

· Beware of downloading unofficial patches - sometimes Trojans are disguised as ‘bonuses’ and once downloaded, can steal all your personal data

· Ensure your internet security system is kept up to date at all times to protect against the latest security threats

Have you been the victim of a cyber attack when gaming? Tell us your experiences below