News Room

Trend Micro warns of ‘cryptojacking’ threat in online games

League of Legends – Philippines becomes a recent target of cybercriminals

Trend Micro, a global leader in IT security, has flagged the vulnerability of online games to unauthorized mining of cryptocurrencies in the Philippines, home to one the of world’s most active mobile gamers.

“Mining cryptocurrencies comes with a price, taking up a significant portion of a computer’s processor capacity and consuming a huge amount of power,” Trend Micro Director for Technology Marketing Myla Pilao said.

“Because of the high cost, some cryptocurrency miners resort to ‘cryptojacking’ or the unauthorized insertion of mining scripts in online games, advertisements and other websites with high traffic.”

Players of League of Legends in the Philippines recently became a target of cryptojacking. On Facebook, the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game reported an “unauthorized modification” of its client lobby with the insertion of a JavaScript that performs cryptocurrency mining.

“The steep ascent in the value of cryptocurrencies has prompted new mining malware and other threats,” Ms. Pilao noted. “In the first half of 2018, cryptocurrency miners topped the list of malware detected, based on data from our Trend Micro Smart Protection Network.”

Gamers have become a popular target of cyber criminals, according to Trend Micro. In the Philippines, 11.42 million individuals play online video games, according to market and consumer data provider Statista.

“Developers and players make for good targets for cybercriminals, who see online games as a platform for stealing user information, invading privacy, or spreading malicious content and malware,” Ms. Pilao said. 

Other attacks in online games

Earlier this year, some players of cooperative survival shooting video game Fortnite reported about their accounts being taken over. Fraudulent purchases of the game’s different versions as well as its online currency and cosmetic items for in-game characters were made using details saved on the affected game accounts.

Hackers could get into a player’s account by simply designing a phishing site or “hacking” tool that asks for a player’s credentials. They could also get players to download a file that delivers information-stealing or keylogger malware onto a player’s system.

The motivations of hackers range from stealing in-game items and holding characters hostage for ransom to possessing personal information that could either be sold in cybercriminal underground markets or used to further invade the victims’ privacy.

Stolen online gaming currencies, for one, have serious real-world implications, Trend Micro noted. Aside from trading them for profits, hackers launder payments from illicit activities by converting them into untraceable digital currencies and use them to fund other schemes.

“Gamers must be aware of the privacy risks involved, especially when a majority of the popular games these days have either an online component or a pay-as-you-play business model where in-game items and add-ons can be bought with real money,” Ms. Pilao said.

Ensuring privacy, security

To ensure data privacy and prevent gaming-related threats, Trend Micro listed some tips:

  • When signing up for a gaming account, go through the account details and determine which are truly important for your gaming experience. Refrain from volunteering information for optional fields.
  • Set up a separate email account for game registration purposes to protect email accounts that contain your address book, contact information, and verification information for other accounts such as social media or online banking.
  • If you have to search for tips or files that could help improve your gaming experience, avoid visiting unverified sites or downloading third-party software from unknown sources. Be mindful of messages delivered via in-game chat or game networks.
  • Take caution in using your game account credentials when logging into third-party sites or apps. Check if a site or app links back to the online game; otherwise, avoid entering your credentials directly into the site or app.
  • Do not link your credit or debit card details to a gaming account. When needed, take advantage of online verification services offered by your card provider or route payments through reputable third-party payment providers that provide a buffer between the game network and your card information. Similarly, regularly review your bank statements for unverified purchases.
  • Install reliable security software that can also detect malicious links and spam and regularly scan your system to make sure that your system is malware-free.

 

About Trend Micro

Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, helps to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Our innovative solutions for consumers, businesses, and governments provide layered security for data centers, cloud environments, networks, and endpoints. All our products work together to seamlessly share threat intelligence and provide a connected threat defense with centralized visibility and control, enabling better, faster protection. With more than 6,000 employees in over 50 countries and the world’s most advanced global threat intelligence, Trend Micro secures your connected world. For more information, visit www.trendmicro.com.