Kaspersky warns of more malware attacks on gamers
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2013 - 4:02pm

MANILA, Philippines - Secure content developer Kaspersky Lab on Wednesday announced that its security experts have discovered that PC gamers around the globe were hit by a massive number of attacks in 2013.

Kaspersky Lab said that it knows 4.6 million pieces of malware which focus on gaming, with the total number of attacks facing gamers reaching 11.7 million globally.

It said that on average, users were hit by 34,000 attacks from gaming malware every day.

The company said it expect the attacks to mount this month and malware may be presented to the gamers as Christmas presents.

Kaspersky said Russian gamers were the most at risk, as hackers made 8,813,050 attempts on them from 1 January to December 2013.

The other countrys with the most number of attacks on gamers were:

Vietnam - 503,947
China - 376,058
India - 207,245
Spain - 139,078
Poland - 127,583
Turkey - 121,164
Taiwan - 97,843
Thailand - 92,914
Italy - 75,155

Gamers face all kinds of different digital assaults on their systems. Underground forums, such as the Steam portal and marketplace, are ridden with cyber crooks selling access to people’s gaming accounts.

The market for usernames and passwords is fuelled by attacks on gaming companies themselves.

Earlier this year, Kaspersky Lab detected a major espionage campaign on a range of massive multiplayer online game makers, with source code and other valuable data stolen.

Malware designers target specific games, such as the hugely popular Minecraft. Earlier this year, a fake Minecraft tool built with Java promised to give the player powers such as banning other users, but in the background it was stealing usernames and passwords.

When Grand Theft Auto V landed earlier this year, various sites offered fake downloads to access the record-breaking game for free.

But when users tried to get the game, all they got was malware –– a classic example of powerful names being abused to lure victims into downloading malicious code.

Then there are the traditional scams like phishing. Slews of emails are sent out every time a big gaming launch happens, especially at Christmas, attempting to lure users into handing over data or money with the promise of discounts or cheap gaming goods.

“Gaming has an ever increasing fanbase, which means that the number of potential victims for cyber criminals is rising as well,” said Christian Funk a senior virus analyst from Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT).

“Cybercriminals are putting a lot of effort into their attacks and we can see a surge in their sophistication. During Christmas when a lot of new games are being released, gamers need to be even more attentive to stay secure,” Funk added.

So gamers, especially those investing in a load of new games this season, need to take the right precautions, invest in adequate protection and wise up to the range of threats they face.

Kaspersky Lab’s top five tips for gaming security:

1. Don’t click through on any offers that look too good to be true, whether from your inbox or on social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

If an offer comes through and looks legitimate, ensure the sender is trusted before hitting a link or handing over any details. If in doubt, contact the company the sender claims to be from.

2. Use strong and varied passwords across your gaming accounts. As we’ve seen this year, gaming companies get hacked and logins are leaked.

If you don’t have different credentials, stealing one set could be a cybercriminal’s key to open all your different accounts using that same password.

Consider investing in a password manager, as it will give you simple, smart protection.

3. Get a good quality anti-virus. With rafts of gaming malware out there, and the increasing sophistication of malicious software, you’ll need some level of protection.

You’ll need AV that goes beyond signature-based detection to look at file reputation, if you want to stop the smartest malware getting on your system.

4. Be careful whom you befriend. It’s easy to make friends in virtual worlds today, but not all are doing so innocently.

Beware of anyone who asks for your personal details, as they may want to do more than just contact you.

5. Only download titles from legitimate sellers. If you’re downloading an illegal copy of a game, you aren’t just breaking the law.

Kaspersky said that a gamer also risks getting malware on his machine, as crooks often disguise game files as malicious software.

ANALYSIS TEAM ATTACKS CHRISTIAN FUNK DURING CHRISTMAS GAMERS GAMING GLOBAL RESEARCH KASPERSKY LAB MALWARE
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