MicroWorld warns online gamers

Indian security company reports trojan that attacks Taiwanese online games

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  November 14, 2007

Indian-based security firm MicroWorld is warning global online gamers regarding a new trojan called ‘Win32.OnLineGames.dr'.

According to MicroWorld, the trojan is being circulated using gaming forums and browser flaws. Once downloaded, the trojan stores a file called autorun.inf in the root of each drive to ensure it gets activated every time a drive is opened. It then sends account information to a remote attacker and, in some cases, posts the information on malicious websites.

The firm revealed that the trojan is targeting MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing games) such as Gamania and WowTaiwan, which are aimed at Taiwanese users. At the timing of writing, there were no reports of major gaming sites such as World of Warcraft or Guild Wars being affected by the trojan.

MicroWorld reckons the aim of the attacker is to log into the victim's account and sell off their characters and other items, such as property and weapons for real world money.

"The magnitude of the online gaming economy is much bigger than what meets the eye," stated Govind Rammurthy, CEO of MicroWorld Technologies. "The total amount of real world money connected to all gaming sites is close to half a billion dollars, and there you can see why malware writers are training their guns on virtual game players. Trojans are known for their direct or indirect financial motives and this breed is no different".

He went on to say, "To combat this menace, gaming companies need to come up with more sophisticated authentication procedures while users should deploy competent protection for their computers. Because when you are pitted against a cyber criminal, neither does he play by the rules of the game nor does he give you a second chance."

Rammurthy recommended that online gamers use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date to prevent infecting their machines.

As virtual worlds and online games such as World of Warcraft and Lineage become more widespread, they become bigger targets for hackers. In September of this year, director of emerging technologies for Symantec Security Response, Oliver Friedrichs predicted that fraud in virtual worlds such as Second Life and online gaming would be a major threat in 2008.

"We see more and more threats targeting online gaming accounts," Friedrichs stated. "If I can gain access to your account, I can steal your online possessions and then go sell those in the real world. It's an economy that's growing at a fairly rapid pace."

Win32.OnLineGames.dr is not the first trojan to target online gamers. In May of 2006, a trojan called ‘PWSteal.Wowcraft', designed to steal passwords of World of Warcraft users, was discovered.

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