Hackers’ Malware Hides in Popular Video Games
Minecraft allows its dedicated fan base to explore and enjoy new adventures in the burgeoning gaming world. And that is one of the main reasons why billions of searches are done on Google from game enthusiasts that cannot get enough of these addictive games. However, while dedicated fans are steadily streaming into the Minecraft, and other hot video games’ craze, so do the criminal hackers that prowl from deep within the links of the dark web.
Hackers have found a crafty way to earn millions of dollars annually off Minecraft, and other hot features on the gaming platform. According to security researchers, they have been tracking notorious threat actors that are now frequently utilizing Minecraft players, as a cash cow, to earn passive streams of income.
Minecraft unwary players are constantly being tricked by hackers to install their maliciously coded malware onto their gaming devices. Recently gathered statistics released by a cyber security team revealed that over one year, July 2021 and July 2022, there were 25% of dangerous files transmitted through Minecraft.
The analyzed document shows that hackers have constantly misused premium game brands that attract millions of users to carry out their illicit scams. Some other misused gaming brands include the popular FIFA brand at 11% percent.
Hijacked Popular PC Games
Roblox, Far Cry, and Call of Duty, all fall in the 9 percentile range where they are frequently used by hackers to target unsuspecting victims. Other games targeted by criminal hackers include Need for Speed and a few other games, which host a notable percentage of hackers’ malware.
The Kaspersky analysts, in their comparison between mobile devices and PC gaming, show that mobile devices were targeted significantly less, whereas players utilizing a desktop computer were the main victims.
With PC games, the top five targets for hacking groups were Grand Theft Auto, The Sims, Valorant, and the popular FIFA video game series. Meanwhile, on mobile devices, Minecraft, Roblox, GTA, FIFA, PUBG, and Roblox, were targeted less by the threat actors. However, with annual trends analysis, Kaspersky notes that hackers’ malware has declined by 30 percent with 36 percent fewer victims when compared to 2020.
Video Gaming Attracts Hackers
The video game industry provides hackers with a large target audience because through exploited games hosting malicious codes, these threat actors gain a steady flow of income, earned from their victims.
Recent research shows that malware files are usually concealed as game hacks, installers, keygens, or sometimes as hacked versions of the actual games. Oftentimes, criminal hackers entice their victims through the use of some of the most widely played video games with millions of daily players.
Chaos ransomware is being promoted through Minecraft on many gaming forums.
For Roblox, hackers hide their Ransomware and password stealers in NPM packages.
Microsoft files used for copies of games are injected with malware loaders.
YouTube is another channel used by hackers to release information-stealing malware.
Video Games’ Bait
Furthermore, the constant stream of quickly released modern games always attracts individuals, as they promise already created hacks to easily progress through every stage. Other tricks are also used to lure victims, such as fake game accessories that are copies of the original games. And according to the Kaspersky team, most of the “easy progress” aka valuable hacks are tied to phishing scams and items that the victims paid for, but will never receive.
Meanwhile, although various video games may be alluring to players, the cost is prohibitively high, which led them to buy pirated versions coded with malicious codes. In addition, some Beta developed games exclude most potential players, thus forcing them into the underworld of pirated beta versions controlled by criminal hackers.
Last but not least, video game enthusiasts must be vigilant when purchasing video game hacks, and pirated versions of newly released video games. They must be aware that the tools, mods, and hacks for most popular video games were not created by the official brand, but by other persons, who might turn out to be criminal hackers.