Criminals were also found trying to lure users into downloading malicious files pretending to be unreleased games.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of growing demand for video games by distributing malware through fake copies of the most popular ones, research by Kaspersky has found. More than 930,000 users were hit by such attacks in the 12 months from early June 2018 to early June 2019. Over a third of the attacks centered on just three games.
Kaspersky said the list of abused games was ‘Minecraft’. Malware disguised as this game accounted for around 30 per cent of attacks, with over 310,000 users hit. In second place was ‘GTA 5’, targeting more than 112,000 users. ‘Sims 4’ took fourth place with almost 105,000 users hit.
According to the researchers, criminals were also found trying to lure users into downloading malicious files pretending to be unreleased games. Spoofs of at least 10 pre-release games were seen, with 80 per cent of detections focused on FIFA 20, Borderlands 3, and the Elder Scrolls 6.
“For months now we see that criminals are exploiting entertainment to catch users by surprise – be it series of popular TV shows, premieres of top movies or popular video games. This is easy to explain – people can be less vigilant when they just want to relax and have fun. If they’re not expecting to find malware in something fun they’ve used for years, it won’t take an advanced-threat like infection vector to succeed,” said Maria Fedorova, security researcher at Kaspersky.
How to avoid falling victim to malicious programs pretending to be video games
– Use legitimate services with a proven reputation.
– Pay extra attention to the websites’ authenticity. Do not visit websites allowing you to download video games until you are sure that they are legitimate and start with ‘https’.
– Confirm that the website is genuine by double-checking the format of the URL or the spelling of the company name, before starting downloads.
– Don’t click on suspicious links, such as those promising a chance to play an unreleased game.