Minecraft and Roblox most targeted games for malware attacks

8 Sep 2022

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Kaspersky researchers analysed 28 popular games that are being used as lures for distributing malware files and miner attacks.

Minecraft and Roblox are the two games with the greatest number of malware threats associated with them, according to cybersecurity company Kaspersky.

Researchers at Moscow-based Kaspersky found that Minecraft and Roblox, both popular with kids, are two of 28 PC and mobile games or series of games identified as attracting considerable threat from cybercriminals with miner attacks, malware files and other unwanted software.

Using the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), a system for processing anonymised cyberthreat data shared voluntarily by users of the antivirus software, between the period of January 2021 and June 2022, they were able to analyse threats related to these games.

The report found that the top five PC games used as bait for attacks between July 2021 and June this year were Minecraft, Roblox, Need for Speed, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty.

“We used the titles of the games as keywords and ran these against our KSN telemetry to determine the prevalence of malicious files and unwanted software related to these games, as well as the number of users attacked by these files,” Kaspersky wrote on its Securelist blog.

“Also, we tracked the number of fake cheat programs for the popular games listed above, and an amount of miners that dramatically affect the performance of gamers’ computers.”

The total number of users who encountered gaming-related malware and unwanted software in the same period was 384,224, Kaspersky said. More than 90,000 files were distributed under the guise of the 28 games, which also include titles such as FIFA, The Sims, Far Cry and PUBG.

With more than 3bn gamers by 2023, the global gaming market is expected to exceed $200bn in value – making it a ripe target for cybercriminals.

Minecraft and Roblox also topped Kaspersky’s list of top five mobile games that served as a lure for attacks in the same period, followed by Grand Theft Auto, PUBG and FIFA.

However, Kaspersky noted that the number of malicious and unwanted files related to Minecraft had dropped by 36pc compared to the previous year and the number of affected users decreased by almost 30pc year on year.

Far Cry, Roblox, Minecraft, Valorant and FIFA topped the list for games used as a lure for miner attacks, which use programs that adversely affect gamer productivity by using the machine’s energy to mine cryptocurrency.

The first half of 2022 saw a spike in malicious activity, with a 13pc increase in the number of users attacked by programs that can steal secrets compared to the first half of 2021.

Attackers particularly cranked up their efforts to spread Trojan-PSW, a family of trojans that attempt to steal confidential information from victims. Kaspersky said that 77pc of secret-stealing malware infection cases were linked to Trojan-PSW.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic