24.08.2009

Hot property: the trade in gaming accounts is booming

G Data analyses the black market in stolen player data

The market in online games is booming and the number of active gamers has significantly increased in recent years. According to a recent Bitkom report, there are 10 million gamers on the Internet in Germany alone - and the trend is growing. It is not just the computer games industry that is benefiting from this growth. Online criminals have long been zeroing in on this community. In the run-up to gamescom in Cologne, G Data has been analysing underground forums. Going for up to 50 Euros, World of Warcraft and Steam accounts are the clear data theft best sellers.

 

G Data Security Labs experts have spent two months researching and analysing hundreds of illegal forums where stolen player data is on sale. Access data for almost any popular online game can already be obtained for less than two Euros. The price depends upon supply and demand, account quality, volume discount and the interested party’s negotiating skills.

 

“The perpetrators make the majority of their profit from captured Steam accounts that contain a great deal of access data for different games,” says G Data security expert Ralf Benzmüller. “Theft of the data is carried out using special malware and is completely unnoticed by the victims. Once the malware is embedded on the victim’s PC, all entries are logged and automatically forwarded to the perpetrators. Unfortunately gamers often don’t bother with effective antivirus solutions for performance reasons, so they make easy prey for online criminals.”

 

G Data Security Labs experts ended up looking at almost every online game. Besides WoW and Steam accounts, the following ten titles were particularly frequently involved:
• Call of Duty
• Counter-Strike: Source
• Day of Defeat
• Eve Online
• Half-Life
• Opposing Force
• Left 4 Dead
• Team Fortress
• Unreal Tournament 3
• Warhammer 40,000 Dawn Of War II

In light of the booming trade in online games accounts, gamers should in no way be avoiding the use of firewalls and virus protection.

 

WoW account on offer (screenshot)

 

 

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