After Hours

Trojan horse rides off with game accounts

Security researchers warn of a new pest that steals logon and password data for "Lineage," one of Asia's most popular online games.

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By David Becker
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Security researchers have warned of a new pest that steals subscriber information for one of the world's most popular online games.

British security company Sophos said on Tuesday that the LegMir-Y Trojan horse attempts to steal usernames and passwords for "Lineage," an online fantasy game with more than 4 million paying subscribers, mostly in Korea and other Asian nations. The pest also attempts to turn off antivirus software on an infected PC.

Led by "Lineage," online games have become a huge business in Asia, where millions of players pay fees of $15 to $20 a month to access large fantasy universes.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said LegMir-Y is the latest in a string of pests to specifically target game-related data.

"It is more and more common for the analysts in our virus lab to discover that, as well as causing disruption, a piece of new malware is designed to steal registration keys, passwords and data from players of computer games," Cluley said in a statement. "It's sad to think that people will be so desperate to do better in a virtual world that they're actually prepared to commit a real crime."

"We expect to see more Internet skirmishes between rival online gamers and malicious code to assist this kind of Internet robbery in the future," he added.

Previous game bugs include a variation of the Randex worm designed to turn infected PCs into zombie machines that would help the worm writers gain points in the online game "Outwar." Previous versions of LegMir attempted to steal passwords and other subscriber data for the online game "Legends of Mir 2."

Sophos recommends that Microsoft Windows users ensure their antivirus software is up to date and that they don't open unknown files.

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