Mobile Minecraft Security Breach

Symantec internet security company recently released information that millions of Minecraft mobile users had been hacked by a fraudulent advertising app. The malware was camouflaged as downloadable content that players like to use to make their game experience more unique. Symantec says that hackers tend to target mobile gamers because they tend to be less careful about downloading content. Some gamers also seek out cheat codes or other downloads that can make in-game purchases free or help them advance more easily through the game, which are typically offered by less reliable web sources that can also deliver malware.

Dangerous Precedent for Future Attacks

Experts are concerned that future malware attacks may not be as benign as simply creating ad campaigns to line the pockets of hackers. Hidden malware could create more dangerous problems, especially since these games allow the hacker access to large networks of users who are playing the games from hundreds of different devices. The potential for a large-scale attack that could shut down some networks is higher when the attack is sent out through something that seems as benign as online games.

Hacks Propagated Through Google Play

The Minecraft hack was sold through the Google Play app store. Minecraft users bought “skins” to create new looks for their in-game avatars. Some of the skins contained a virus that downloaded an ad revenue app along with the new look for the character. Users were typically unaware of the problem until they had sent out thousands of e-mail ads from their personal accounts. Symantec says the best way to avoid downloading malware with game accessories is to use a good malware scanner and make sure it is always up to date.

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