Cybersecurity experts have discovered that cybercriminals launched more than seven million attacks on children, exploiting popular games titles in 2022.
A latest report revealed the risks for young players in online gaming and mentioned that attacks on this age group increased by 57 per cent compared to 2021. Phishing pages used by cybercriminals to target young players mostly mimicked global titles including Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Apex Legends games.
To reach parents’ devices, cybercriminals purposely create fake game sites evoking children’s interest to follow phishing pages and download malicious files.
In 2022, 2,32,735 gamers encountered almost 40,000 files, including malware and potentially unwanted applications, that were disguised as the most popular children’s games. Since children of this age often do not have their own computers and play from their parents’ devices, the threats spread by cybercriminals are most likely aimed at obtaining credit card data and credentials of the parents, the Kaspersky report said.
In the same period, nearly 40,000 users tried to download a malicious file, mimicking Roblox, a popular kids’ game platform. This resulted in a 14 percent increase in the number of victims, compared to 33,000 gamers attacked in 2021. Since half of Roblox’s 60 million users are under the age of 13, the majority of victims of these cybercriminals’ attacks are potentially children who lack knowledge of cybersecurity.
“In 2022, cybercriminals even exploited games designed for 3-8-year-old children. This highlights cybercriminals do not filter their targets by age and attack even the youngest gamers, with the likely target of reaching their parent’s devices. When focusing on young players, cybercriminals don’t even bother to make deception schemes less obvious,” said Vasily M. Kolesnikov, a security expert at Kaspersky.
According to Kaspersky statistics, phishing pages used by cybercriminals to target young players primarily mimicked Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Apex Legends games. In total, over 878,000 phishing pages were created for these four games in 2022.
One of the most common social engineering techniques targeting young players, involves offers to download popular cheats and mods for games. On a phishing site the user may get a whole manual on how to install the cheat properly.