Digital criminals exploit the growing demand for video games by distributing malware through fake copies of the most popular ones.
More than 930,000 users have been attacked in one year from early June 2018 to early June 2019. More than a third of the attacks have focused on just three games.
Video gaming has been in our lives for quite some time, but the power of the Internet has accelerated its growth and development. Nowadays, around 1 in 10 worldwide plays online games.
Like other types of digital entertainment, video games are vulnerable to violations such as copyright infringement and illegal torrents, but are now faced with another growing threat: fraudulent use of their brand as a means of distributing malware. Many of the top video games are hosted on digital distribution platforms. They can not always detect whether “uploaded” software files are legitimate gaming files or disguised malware samples.
Kaspersky researchers have decided to more closely check the ‘infected’ files found during 2018 and early 2019. ‘Minecraft’ was at the top of the list of infringing games. Malware was detected in this game, responsible for about 30% of the attacks, with over 105,000 attacked users. The second place was the ‘GTA 5’, through which more than 112,000 users were targeted. ‘Sims 4’ ranked third, with nearly 105,000 users attacked.
According to the researchers, criminals tried to drag users into downloading malicious files, which were presented as unreleased games. Misleading specimens have been found in at least 10 games for circulation, with 80% of the scans being detected mainly in “FIFA 20”, “Borderlands 3” and “Elder Scrolls 6”.
“We’ve been watching for months that criminals are taking advantage of the fun to surprise users, whether it’s called popular TV series, top movie premieres, or popular video games. The explanation is simple; people are not alert when they just want to relax and have fun. If they do not expect to find malicious software in something fun they used for years, they do not need some sort of sophisticated threatening player to achieve the purpose. We urge everyone to be alert, avoid unreliable digital platforms and suspicious offerings, install security software, and perform regular security checks on all devices they use for gaming”,
said Maria Fedorova, security researcher at Kaspersky.