Cybercriminals are exploiting the increased popularity of video games during lockdown to launch attacks.
New research from Kaspersky finds that in April, the daily number of blocked attempts to direct users to malicious gaming-themed sites increased by 54 percent, compared to January, 2020. Also in April, the number of blocked attempts to direct users to phishing pages for one of the most popular gaming platforms increased by 40 percent, compared to February 2020.
“Users are often lured by promises of free versions of popular games, updates and extensions, or cheats,” Kaspersky said in a press release. “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.
The game most often used by criminals is Minecraft. The game was used in more than 130,000 web attacks. The other most popular games used in attacks were Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and The Witcher 3.
“Many of these video game-related attacks are not particularly sophisticated; there is a large user component to their success,” said Maria Namestnikova, security expert at Kaspersky. “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.”