Gaming-related web attacks increased by more than 50% in April -KasperskyBy Staff Writer 19 June 2020 | Categories: news
Cybercriminals have been exploiting the increased popularity in video games during lockdown to launch attacks, according to Kaspersky. In April, the daily number of blocked attempts to direct Kaspersky users to malicious sites that exploit the gaming theme increased by 54% when compared to January 2020. In addition, for April, the number of blocked attempts to direct users to phishing pages for one of the most popular gaming platforms increased by 40% compared to February 2020.
Over the last few months, millions of people around the world were relegated to staying inside, as many countries enforced some form of lockdown measures or movement restrictions. With more people at home and greater amounts of free time on their hands, many turned to available online entertainment, including video games. Beginning in March, the overall number of Steam users (the most popular online gaming platform, community, and store) increased significantly, with the platform reaching an all-time record for both active users and concurrent users actively playing games by 30 March.
Upon noticing this trend, Kaspersky researchers decided to look deeper into the threat landscape of video games during the lockdown period. What they found - not surprisingly - was that cybercriminals have been exploiting the increased interested in video games to launch various attacks.
According to data from Kaspersky Security Network, there was a significant increase in the daily number of attempts to direct users to malicious sites that exploited the gaming theme: a 54% increase in April when compared to January. Often, users are lured by promises such as free versions of popular games, updates and extensions, or cheats. However, if users click on these links, a wide variety of malicious programs can be downloaded, from password stealing malware to ransomware and miners, software that secretly mines cryptocurrency from the victim’s computer.
“Many of these video game-related attacks are not particularly sophisticated; there is a large user component to their success. The past few months have shown that users are highly susceptible to falling for phishing attacks or clicking on malicious links when it comes to games - whether they’re looking to find pirated versions or eager for a cheat that will help them win,” comments Maria Namestnikova, security expert at Kaspersky.
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible to protect your video- accounts
- Use a reliable security solution like that identifies malicious downloads, blocks phishing sites, and prevents redirects to malicious pages
- During the game, don’t switch off your security solution, but turn on mode, which consumes less resources
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