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Kaspersky detected over 5.8 million malware attacks from fake PC games in past year

As we all know, the pandemic and associated lockdowns keeping people at home led to a surge in gaming across all platforms between 2020 and 2021. Due to this, there was also a surge in malware attacks, using pirated games or mods as a vehicle for malware, leading to Kaspersky alone detecting over 5.8 million attacks in the past year. 

In its game-related cyberthreats report, Kaspersky picked the 24 most popular PC games and the top 10 mobile titles of 2021. Using only PC titles, in Q2 2020, Kaspersky recorded 2.48 million detections, a 66% increase over the previous quarter. However, the number of detected attacks in Q2 2021 was reduced significantly, to 636,904.

On the other hand, the mobile gaming trends were slightly different, with the number of detections increasing by 185% from February 2020 (1138) to March 2020 (3253). Compared to Q2 2021, the number of attacks decreased by only 10%.

Out of the 24 games used by malware developers, Minecraft was the most common. That may be explained by its massive modding community, which distributes mods through unofficial platforms, “providing a convenient disguise for malicious payloads or unwanted software”. After Minecraft, there’s Sims 4, which is then followed by PUBG, Fortnite, and GTA V. You can see how many times Kaspersky detected malware in these games during the past year (from Q3 2020 to Q2 2021) in the following table:

Game title Users Detections Files
Minecraft 184887 3010891 36336
The Sims 4 43252 1266804 5844
PUBG 26724 484528 10360
Fortnite 14702 267598 6109
GTA V 14261 187114 4953

The majority of files distributed under disguise were downloaders, applications that download unwanted software and adware to the infected device. Some of this unwanted software and adware include Trojan-Stealers, Trojan bankers and backdoors.

To prevent issues with malware, Kaspersky recommends users employ strong passwords, download apps from trusted sources and use reliable security solutions on PC and mobile.

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KitGuru says: The number of detections might be decreasing, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful when downloading mods and other things. Instead of downloading from random pages on the Internet, try to find the official distribution channel of what you want to download.

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