Games most targeted by hackers in 2023

Cybercriminals continually targeted the global gaming community with a range of attacks including DDoS attacks, cryptocurrency mining, complex trojan and phishing campaigns

Updated - December 22, 2023 03:59 pm IST

Published - December 22, 2023 02:44 pm IST

Minecraft emerged as the favored target among cybercriminals, responsible for triggering 70.29% of all alerts.

Minecraft emerged as the favored target among cybercriminals, responsible for triggering 70.29% of all alerts. | Photo Credit: AP

The booming gaming industry is often targeted by cybercriminals with an eye on compromising security and infecting games to gain access to sensitive user information.

During the period of July 2022-July2023, more than four million such attacks were launched targeting the global gaming community. Amongst these 30,684 were found to be unique files masked as popular games, mods, cheats, and other game-related software. And these files affected some 192,456 users worldwide.

However, not all the attacks contained malicious files, with 89.70% of detected files being capable of downloading various other programs on the user’s device. Of these, 5,25% were found to be adware, while 2.39% were found to be trojans.

And while attackers targeted games from across the board, some games were targeted more than the others due to their popularity. Here are some of the most targeted games of 2023.

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Minecraft

Minecraft emerged as the favored target among cybercriminals, responsible for triggering 70.29% of all alerts. Threats using Minecraft as bait impacted 130,619 players across the globe during the reporting period.

The game was targeted across devices, with 90.37% of attacks focused on them. In terms of regions most affected by the attacks, Indonesia and Iran witnessed the highest prevalence of these attacks.

Roblox

Roblox became the second most targeted game title, contributing 20.4% of all alerts affecting some 30,367 users.

Counter Strike

Counterstrike: Global Offensive, with 4.8% of all attacks was another game that came under attack from cybercriminals. The game accounted for 5.09% of all alerts and was closely followed by Hogwarts Legacy accounting for 0.6% of cyberattacks.

Mobile games an enticing target for cybercriminals

The mobile gaming industry is categorised as an area of significant growth making it an enticing target for cybercriminals. Between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023, Kaspersky documented 436,786 attempts to infect mobile devices, impacting 84,539 users.

In the mobile games, Minecraft was once again the primary target accounting for 90.4% of attacks. The game was followed byPUBG: Battlegrounds Battle Royale, that became the second most exploited mobile game among cybercriminals, accounting for 5.09% of all alerts.

Roblox came in a close third in terms of alerts generated with 3.3% but was second in terms of users affected.

Phishing, use of fake apps and counterfeit pages are some of the main methods employed by cybercriminals when it comes to targeting gamers online. A notable discovery in 2023, However, was the use of SpyNote. A spy trojan distributed among Roblox users on Android devices under the guise of a mod.

The trojan was found to exhibit various spying capabilities, including keylogging, screen recoding, video streaming from phone cameras, and the ability to impersonate Google and Facebook applications to lure users into compromising their account details, including passwords.

Additionally, threat actors made use of clone apps published on the Google App Store to target gamers. Some 38 clones of Minecraft 35 million collective downloads were detected in the app store.

How to stay safe while gaming
Download games only from official stores like Steam, Apple, and Google App stores. While games in these stores may not be 100% secure, the screening process of companies reduces the chances of malware in the downloaded files.
Do not click on too-good-to-be-true offers on the purchase of games from unofficial sources. Additionally, be on the lookout for phishing campaigns in emails and in-game chats and avoid opening or downloading files from strangers.
When downloading games, ensure that the URLs are authentic.
Check for signs of slowdown of your system in case you suspect your system has been the subject of an attack.
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