The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, opens in Los Angeles on June 15th. There will be a lot of news coming out of this major expo and that means a lot of press. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are all set to announce new games and motion control devices that are certain to attract a lot of players.
Are you following me yet?
This means a lot of people will be searching for more information about the news items. People will want to know what is so hot about the latest games and what the new gaming devices have to offer that you simply can’t live without!
See where I’m going with this?
A lot of people will be looking for news about the announcements coming out of E3, so the criminals will be trying to poison the search engine results to lead you to their web sites where they will try to infect your computer, steal your money, or both.
If you recall, when the iPAD first launched, there were a lot of fake sites selling the devices and there were also fake contests alleging you could win an iPAD. I would have to expect to see the same types of attacks involving the cool new games and gaming devices. Incidentally, pre-ordering for the iPhone 4 starts tomorrow as well, so watch out for the “Win an iPhone 4” scams.
I was talking to Sam Saengmanivone, one of our quality assurance engineers, about trends in attacks against gamers and he reminded me that even some of the free games get bundled with malware. The blog at bejeweledonlinefree.com has had multiple posts about removing fake antivirus software. If you search for Bejeweled you will find many sites that offer to let you play it for free, or allegedly make money playing it as well. It can be tricky knowing which sites to trust, but since Bejeweled is from PopCap games and they are a respected developer, I would simply go there to play and be safe.
Online games, such as those to be announced at E3, are often pirated and rogue servers are used to offer these games for free. The problem is that the pirates are not interested in your entertainment, they want to loot your virtual goods. There’s a lot of money in the selling of virtual goods and characters.
No doubt there will be a lot of exciting news coming out of E3, but no good news will be coming to you from unsolicited emails. Watch the links you choose to click on and stick with well known sources for your news about the games.
Special thanks to Sam Saengmanivone for collaboration on this post.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, We Live Security