Among PC users, gamers are most at threat in India, a report by Kaspersky Lab indicates. In 2012, Kaspersky recorded 7,000 attempts every day to infect gamers around the world. The report states that in 2012, the top three countries targeted by cyber-criminals were Russia, China, and India. These are the countries where gamers face the highest risk of infection and subsequent theft of avatars and in-game valuables, the report said.

The report adds that the attacks were launched to gain access to personal user data, such as passwords to online games and online banking systems. As far as games are concerned, cyber-criminals attempt to steal avatars and in-game items to subsequently sell these virtual goods for real money. In the case of online banking, they aim to steal money directly from real bank accounts. 

Kaspersky discovered that in order to do gain information, malicious users send an average of 10 emails with malicious links and attachments to gamers every day, in addition to making roughly 500 attempts to infect gamers via browser-based attacks. What’s more, the company’s “collection” of malicious programs targeting online games is increasing at a rate of 5,000 new programs a day.

Gamers in India among those facing highest risk of infection, theft

Gamers in India among those facing highest risk of infection, theft

One of cyber-criminals' most favored tactics in the world of online games is social engineering and phishing. For example, cyber-criminals use the names of well-known gaming worlds and try to lure gamers to their fake websites in order to harvest passwords from registered gaming accounts.

In 2012, Kaspersky recorded 15 million attempted visits to phishing websites designed to look like the pages of one of the largest developers of online games. As it turns out, there were up to 50,000 attempted redirects to phishing sites each day.

To stay secure on the Internet, Kaspersky Lab’s malware expert, Sergey Golovanov, suggests that gamers adhere to a few simple codes of Internet conduct. “First and foremost, one needs to be alert when receiving emails featuring, for example, a request from an online game’s admin server for personal information about your account or an authorisation offer under some pretext. Don’t just click on the link right away – it could be a phishing site. Next, don’t download unofficial patches from dubious sources — you could easily end up downloading a ‘bonus’ in the form of a Trojan that would then infiltrate your system and start stealing all of your passwords. And I don’t mean just for online games, but also for bank cards, if your bank offers online services. With this in mind, gamers might consider keeping an up-to- date virtual debit card that lets them limit their spending to an amount they choose – with no risk of someone else cleaning out their account,” he said.

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