have you heard of malware that spreads via spam emails and mysterious links on strange websites. But now there is a new avenue of attack for bad actors to take, and that is through Minecraft. Yes, you read that right. The open-world construction game loved by seven-year-olds around the world is fast becoming a favorite method of spreading malware.
As reported by bleeping computer, Kaspersky Labs investigated the phenomena from July 2021 to July 2022, and found that in-game malware accounted for a significant amount of the malware spread in that time. Although there was a 30% drop in malware attacks in that year compared to 2020, the amount of gaming-related malware actually increased. Minecraft in PC it was the preferred vector.
In-game economies have grown in popularity as a way for developers to earn money, with everything from new skins to upgraded weapons and tools available. Minecraft has a whole ecosystem of user-made goodies and mods available for download, and there are plenty of off-the-shelf sites where users can find free stuff to use in the game. Many kids can’t resist the lure of free skins and loot boxes to download, and this is where malware hides.
Before we all abandon our dear Minecraft And let’s jump to Roblox, keep in mind that many other games are also platforms used to spread malware, according to Kaspersky. FIFA was the second most used game after Minecraftwith 11% malware in the game. RobloxFar Cry, and the Call of Duty franchise also had significant amounts of malware attached to off-platform mods and downloads.
Computer games weren’t the only targets for malware. Mobile games also had threats. Grand Theft Auto, PUBG Mobile and Roblox were compromised, but once again, Minecraft led the pack with 40% of mobile gaming malware threats. Minecraft it remains a favorite for threat actors precisely because it is one of the most popular games out there.
Most of the malware Kaspersky found were downloaders, accounting for nearly 89% of all malware. Adware, Trojans, and exploits made up a minor portion. Most of the downloaders were data thieves and cryptocurrency miners.
You can avoid these pitfalls by only downloading mods and skins from trusted in-game stores. Downloads from off-the-shelf websites and forums can introduce nasty malware to your device, which you may not realize is there until it’s too late. Also, if any developer tells you to disable virus protection for their mod to work, run fast.
More importantly, keep a close eye on your child when playing Minecraft or Roblox. You never know when a cool new world with a real fire-breathing T-Rex will tempt them to download something on their computer.