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Online games hit by 3.4m malware attacks per day

Market in stolen games accounts and items still thriving says Kaspersky

Online games hit by 3.4m malware attacks per day
Kaspersky predicts an upswing in online gaming fraud from the launch of the forthcoming World of Warcraft expansion pack.

The online gaming sector continues to be plagued by cybercrime, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab.

The security company says there are over 3.4 million malware attacks per day which target online games, as cyber criminals attempt to steal accounts and in-games items from popular games.

Use of malware to attempt to hijack accounts reached a peak in the first half of 2008, but Kaspersky warns that the launch of the new expansion pack for World of Warcraft, and the game Diablo 3, are likely to create a resurgence in the sector.

The most common form of attack targeting games are phishing mails that attempt to harvest login data, along with trojans that also target login details. Kasperksy said it has records of over 1.2 million trojans that target games.

Thieves access accounts and then sell on valuable items or whole accounts on the black market, with games that are popular in Asia being the primary target. In the report, ‘Online Gaming Fraud – the Evolution of the Underground Economy,’ Kaspersky virus analyst Christian Funk points out that while the market in stolen gaming items has declined recently due to oversupply, it is still a lucrative market for cybercriminals.

“Online gaming has evolved into a fully-fledged economy with well-developed demand, specific customer requirements and different sectors, including ‘premium’. Trading in-game objects is now an essential part of any game in itself,” said Funk.

“Game developers by no means neglect this market and are constantly busy developing new updates and extensions that include new tradable items. It therefore comes as no surprise that fraud and overtly deceiving online gamers has long since become popular among cybercriminals,” he added.

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