While some members of our Threat Research group are attending talks at the Black Hat Briefings, the rest of the team is back at our offices, hard at work watching for novel threats. That’s good news for gamers, and bad news for malware distributors who might try to take advantage of a confluence of events where many elite members of the security community are temporarily turned away from monitors while they attend the conference. I received a warning about one potential threat facing gamers who might turn to piracy to get a copy of Blizzard’s new real-time-strategy game, Starcraft II.
Apparently, there are a flood of torrents where gamers can download purportedly pirated versions of SC2. While your less ethical gamer might cheer this news, you might be less pleased to find out that some of the SC2 torrents appear to bring along a side order of malware. One of the torrents, for example, touted as a custom game launcher, drops the Zbot keylogger Trojan—albeit a variant we can easily detect and remove.
While this isn’t exactly new, we’re finding that the incredible demand for this game is driving malware distributors to supply something that looks like what the gamers want. We’ll keep an eye on this trend, and update the post if necessary with more details as they become available.
And if you want a copy of the game, just go out and buy it. It may not be the most thrifty use of your money, but it’s the ethical thing to do, and the safest way to get a copy of the game.
(Starcraft 2 logo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment)
Blizzard’s announcement today that they will begin a closed beta-test for the latest expansion pack is likely to generate a lot of excitement among that particularly low breed of online criminals who steal the fruits of other people’s entertainment when they commandeer passwords for other players.
While it’s hard to believe that most players of online games aren’t aware of the profusion of phishing sites attempting to steal logins, the problem clearly isn’t going away, so the warnings remain the same: Keep a close eye on your browser’s Address Bar, and make sure you’re really logging into Blizzard’s Web site, and not some phishing creep’s trap.
Today is Data Privacy Day, which is supposed to remind us all that keeping our digital secrets a secret is important and necessary. To commemorate the event, I’d like to run down some of the most serious privacy threats any of us could face on a daily basis: How a malware infection puts your privacy at risk.
For years, it’s been clear that the creators and distributors of malicious software are after one thing above all others — money. Whether they steal it (by installing a keylogger, or just phishing) or defraud you out of it (by coercing users to pay good money for a useless security application, or holding your computer itself hostage) cash is the name of the game.
But this isn’t pickpocketry — they’re not literally taking money out of your wallet. Somewhere along the way, the Bad Guys are using your private information to do that. Here are just a few ways they accomplish this task, by hook or crook. And more importantly, some tips that you can use to put a crimp in their plans.
Last week, I posted a blog item that explained how gamers face a growing security threat in phishing Trojans — software that can steal the passwords to online games, or the license keys for offline games, and pass them along to far-flung criminal groups. We know why organized Internet criminals engage in these kinds of activities, because the reason is always the same: There’s a great potential for financial rewards, with very little personal risk.
So I thought I’d wrap up this discussion with some analysis of how the bad guys monetize their stolen stuff. After all, how do you fence stolen virtual goods? And knowing that, is there a way to put the kibosh on game account pickpockets? Continue reading →
E3, the annual trade show for the computer and video games industry, kicked off in Los Angeles yesterday, not long after the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day. These events got me thinking about what many students might do with their free time over the next three months. I imagine that for legions of young PC gamers, this could mean hour after blissful hour spent honing their skills as a blacksmith and earning gold in their favorite online fantasy universe. You can bet cybercriminals are imagining the same thing, too – and banking on it.
In PC gaming, it used to be that hackers would seek to steal log-in information to take control of someone’s character for their own personal enjoyment. But they’ve figured out in-game currency translates into real-world money, and now many people log onto World of Warcraft or Lineage to find their account balances wiped to zero.
To help keep hackers out — and hopefully make their summer a little less lucrative – I’ve outlined the most common tactics for infection during gaming and how gamers (of all ages) can avoid them. Continue reading →