Gamers tend to be surprisingly tech savvy, and as such, they’re a bit harder to trick with social engineering than many other groups.
Gamers do have a weakness, and it’s one that hackers around the world have recently begun to exploit in a systematic way.
Increasingly, security researchers are finding instances of poisoned cheat codes.
The basic idea is the gamer in question downloads a set of cheat codes for his or her current obsession. Lurking inside it is an embedded bit of malicious code, capable of deploying back doors to allow for further malware infection, as well as keystroke logging code. That enables the hackers controlling it to capture a wide range of passwords and other personal information from the compromised system.
Even worse, there’s a growing body of evidence that hackers are launching supply chain attacks against game development companies themselves. They’re specifically targeting Asian companies in a bid to infect vast numbers of systems, and based on initial estimates, it’s working. Security professionals who are tracking the trend now estimate that there could be hundreds of thousands of infected systems around the world, making this a quietly growing threat that has, until now, gone largely unnoticed.
If that wasn’t bad enough, and given that the hackers know that gamers tend to be tech savvy, they’re specifically designing the malware they’re using against them to actively evade detection, making them notoriously hard to pin down on an infected system.
All that to say if you are a gamer, and you enjoy making use of cheat codes to shortcut the time it would otherwise take to master the game, beware. Hackers all over the planet are now targeting you. It seems nothing and no one is safe these days.