NEWS FROM THE LAB - Friday, October 6, 2006

WOW Posted by Mikko @ 07:02 GMT

We see tons of trojans designed to target online computer games: Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs), such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Lineage, and Second Life.

Dunky Dancing

Now, this might sound pretty harmless to some of you. It sounds like kids using trojans to steal somebody's game progress, right?


MMORPGs are big commercial operations with many millions of subscribers. With seven million subscribers paying monthly for their accounts, World of Warcraft's Blizzard Entertainment must have hundreds of millions in revenue per year. And there's lots of money involved in secondary markets.

There are Asian sweatshops that do nothing but play these games to create virtual stuff to sell at auction. But why make virtual stuff when you can steal it?

The target of the trojans is to gain access to thousands of accounts to steal the gold, weapons, and spells those accounts possess. Then the gold, weapons, and spells are transferred to other accounts and are sold in online markets - For real-world cash.

This makes a lot of sense from the attacker's point of view. Imagine somebody trying to file a police report about how somebody stole his gold? In a game? It wouldn't get far.

Here's a screenshot of Stefan doing some research: