Warning! Protect Your Skins and Steam Account from Malware
Protect your account!
Beware! Recently there’s been a tricky malware detected hijacking people’s Steam accounts and conducting fraudulent deals. Antivirus analysts have uncovered a malware creator, who operates under the nickname “Faker”. The said creator designed a malware, which he rented out to whoever wanted to pay, utilizing the “Malware as a service (MaaS)” model. Many users report losing their account or in-game items, and it seems like more are yet to come.
Let’s take a closer look at the situation and means of protecting your digital items.
A lot of people remember to lock their doors and set a password on their phones, yet we rarely think about protecting our online identities and accounts. Safety in the wild wild web is often like an ostrich with his head in the sand. It’s a common cognitive bias which most humans are guilty of – if we don’t see the threat, we think that this will never happen to us. Of course, it’s better to prepare in advance and protect your account beforehand. Here are the three main strategies utilized by Faker, which caused havoc in the gaming community.
One might say that a person shouldn’t engage in such activities in the first place, but we all have our little weaknesses, right? And Faker seems to know how to play on them quite well. This scheme was used on roulette websites, where players placed several bets, and the user with the highest stake has a higher chance to win. However, instead of real people, players were up against bots, which always ended in users losing their stake. The system was programmed to let the human win several times, and thus lure them into betting higher sums. Stay vigilant and bet only on trusted websites (or don’t bet at all).
Watch out, one of your most precious online possessions, after your MySpace page with embarrassing high school posts, is endangered. Faker and his “clients” are effectively hijacking hundreds of Steam accounts from unsuspecting users, and here’s how they are doing it. The method is centered around a Trojan virus, which is transferred and installed on the victim’s computer.
- Hook the fish. Using clever methods of social engineering, criminals send a Steam e-mail lookalike, inviting to join a team, which is lacking just one player (you) to start playing. After the first match, plotters suggest another one, and ask the victim to install a voice app for easier communication. They then send the user a phony link which is a Trojan.
- Snoop around. After the victim grabs the hook by installing malware on their computer, it automatically executes the following sequence of actions. First of all, it analyzes your Steam client and steals your SteamID, nickname, your OS, the user and PC names, path to Steam application, and even the language interface.
- The change. This stage denotes the point of no return for your Steam account. After the malware has examined your specific client, it deletes the original file and substitutes it. This means that your account has a 99% percent chance of being stolen, and only a miracle can save it. After launching the fake application and inputting your login data, you can wave bye-bye to your games and items.
The malware designer created a specific virus subtype, targeting skins only. Probably Faker knows how big skins are now, and wanted a piece of the action. Many item marketplaces suffered from phony deals conducted under their names. Here’s the explanation of this tricky method.
- Distribution. The Trojan application is distributed in similar ways, using various social engineering technologies. First of all, remember not to click on links in emails right away – first hover the mouse over the link, or the sender, and you’ll see their real name and address. Instead of Steam and Steam Support, it may be an incomprehensible combination of letters you have never seen before.
- Marketplace sham. The hacker went so far as to create a special application for changing the receiver of the goods, which specifically targets marketplaces. When you agree to a deal, an automatic bot on an infected computer copies all the information about the deal, cancels the present deal from a legitimate bot, and recreates an absolute replica of it. An unsuspecting user agrees to the deal, sending their items not to the official bot, but to the malware users.
- Steam Community sham. You won’t surely be safe on the official steamcommunity website, as the hacker found a way to fool gamers even there. The system of virus distribution is similar, but the mechanics of the deceit is slightly different. Instead of cancelling the offer, the malware modifies it to look like you’ve been offered an expensive item for your goods. Happy users believe they have grabbed their luck by the tail, eagerly click “Accept,” and instead of a $300 knife they receive a $0.3 pistol skin. It’s nearly impossible to prove that you’ve been scammed, as system sees the deal to be completely voluntary.
Knowledge is power! We hope that now you will be more careful around e-mails and trade offers, and always double-check them. And oh, don’t forget to extend your antivirus subscription.