According to data from Kaspersky Security Network, every day in 2012 there were 7,000 recorded attempts to infect PC gamer’s systems. These attacks attempted to gain access to personal user data, such as passwords to online games and online banking systems.
Hackers attempt to steal avatars and in-game items to subsequently sell these virtual goods for real money. In the case of online banking, cybercriminals aim to steal money directly from real bank accounts.
According to Kaspersky, cyber-criminals send an average of 10 e-mails with malicious links and attachments to gamers every day, in addition to making roughly 500 attempts to infect gamers via browser-based attacks.
Kaspersky also said that their “collection” of malicious programs targeting online games is increasing at a rate of 5,000 a day.
Phishing is a particularly popular form of attack, with cyber-criminals attempting to lure gamers to fake websites designed to look like popular online gaming destinations 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. There were up to 50,000 attempted redirects to phishing sites each day.
In 2012, the top 3 targeted countries turned out to be Russia, China, and India.
Cyber-attack prevention and protection
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 authorisation 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.”