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December 16, 2013

Gamers suffer 11.7 million malware attacks in 2013

Kaspersky warns gamers Christmas titles will provoke new threats.

By Joe Curtis

Security experts have issued a warning to people expecting videogame consoles for Christmas after research showed that gamers fell victim to cyber attacks 11.7 million times in 2013.

With the Playstation 4 and Xbox One expected to appear in thousands of avid gamers’ stockings later this month, Kaspersky Lab claimed 34,000 malware attacks hit gamers daily.

Spain suffered the most attacks according to Kaspersky’s data, with 138,786 attempts from January to November, with the UK placed sixth out of the 10 European countries, with 27,049 attempts.

The security firm discovered that online forums have numerous cyber crooks selling access to gamers’ accounts on platforms like Steam, while the market for usernames and passwords has been fuelled by attacks on the game companies themselves.

Malware has become targeted to specific games such as Minecraft, users of which earlier this year had their login details stolen after downloading a fake Minecraft tool built with Java.

When Grand Theft Auto V landed earlier this year, various sites offered fake downloads of the game that in fact downloaded malware onto everybody’s computers.

David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky, said: "We’ve just seen two of the biggest console launches ever, with the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. That means there will be more gamers for criminals to target, especially as the Sony and Microsoft machines increasingly use the internet for a fuller gaming experience.

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"As computer games continue to become an increasingly prominent and important part of our lives, and our culture, expect malicious actors to up the sophistication and the volume of their attacks on gamers. If people want to enjoy their new toys this Christmas, they have to be careful, as it’s clear they are facing a greater threat than ever."

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