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Digital thieves pose their gaze on video games


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There are, in the world,
more than 2,500 million video players and in 2021 that number is expected to reach 2700 million. Such a volume implies,
According to estimates by the Newzoo firm of last June, 152,000 million dollars in billing of the industry.

That lot of
users is quite heterogeneousThere are those who play casually within a social network, and others who pay monthly subscriptions and spend more time on their video games. In addition there are those who participate through mobile devices, those who play on consoles and those who play with the PC. This last group is made up of 1,200 million people.

According to Miguel ngel Mendoza, IT security specialist at ESET Latin America, this industry has become
an attractive target of cybercriminals given the amount of money that moves on the different platforms. "In addition, many of them contain vulnerabilities and the number of people who access increases the likelihood that a threat developed for this industry affects the largest number of users and is much more effective for a developer," he says.


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Among the main attacks Mendoza explains that his company continuously detects
malware campaigns and different types of malicious codes that affect gamers. "Some who pretend to be cracks, alluding to the fact that the user can use a game for free, but in reality it is a hoax and infects the systems," he explains.

Objective and threats

One of the
main objectives is information theft and in other cases we seek to use the resources of the equipment, as explained by the ESET expert. "The gamers use equipment with great processing capacity, and this is usually used by attackers for, for example, cryptocurrency miner. That is, they seek to generate some economic revenue with another person's devices. Another type of malware does what is to hijack the files, in this case we are talking about
ransomeware. And it is interesting a fact that revealed our survey:
almost 50 percent of Latin American gamers are willing to pay a ransom that an attacker asks you to recover your account, "she said.

It is that although in most cases they are sessions of a few hours, gamers can have games that extend for days or months (some campaign, a difficult level), they dedicate a lot of time and many resources on each play. They can also buy or get many improvements in equipment, or "states" that represent a large economic investment, too. If someone kidnaps your account, it's a big loss, and that's why they want to recover it even if they have to pay ransom for it. It depends on the game, of course: in many cases the online profile store that data.


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Malware Zbot, notices in Fortnite

Among the main threats that were recorded, Zbot (or Zeus) malware also stands out. It's about a
malicious codeor botnet type, which allows the attacker to gain control of the victim equipment and steal information such as equipment files, screenshots and even users and passwords.

"Thousands of
Fortnite users were infected by malware which hijacks encrypted web sessions to be able to inject fraudulent advertising in every page the user visits. According to Sampson, in the morning of June 26 they detected an inconvenience when the server records reported more than 300 thousand errors as a result of attempts to call advertising platforms, "Mendoza details.

Last February 4, Apex Legends, a game similar to Fortnite, achieved in 72 hours the record of 10 million downloads. "Although the game does not have a version for mobile devices, just search YouTube to find explanations for downloading the game on Android devices. Several tutorials claim to have the key to do so; however its true purpose is for the user to click in a link with malicious content or that installs in your device an application of doubtful origin, "exemplifies the security expert of Eset.


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Other major dangers that haunt gamers are vulnerable servers and phishing, a digital hoax through which attempts are made to convince users to register their private data and passwords in order to steal their bank credentials.

To take note

Good practices in security matters can avoid great headaches for gamers, so it is essential to take certain precautions. "Those who play from their PC, have to have an anti-malware security solution installed. Sometimes such solutions are not used or are disabled because the players consider that it has an impact on the performance of the game, however many of these tools they are already designed so that the consumption of the processing is minimal. In this way, you can play and be protected ", recommends, first, Mendoza.

For their part, those who play using mobile devices should download the applications from official stores to both Apple (Apple Store) and Android (Google Play), highlights the Eset executive. That is one of the complaints about Fortnite on Android, which requires downloading an external installer from the Epic Games page.

"Another good practice is to have all the software updated because in addition to adding new functionalities, they correct failures and this helps us to prevent threats from reaching any of the devices we use to play," he adds.

But is there any way we can realize that we have hacked the PC? "If they see unusual behavior of the computer," Mendoza says. "For example, if they have malware related to the cryptocurrency, this will consume too much equipment resources. To confirm it, the user can review the performance indicators. But the most simple is to perform control through an automated security solution. These tools detect threats on both computers and mobile devices, in a simple way. "

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