As part of a joint fight against cheating in the gaming industry, Kaspersky Lab and MY.GAMES presented the results of the study “Security risks when using cheats in online games”. Experts have found that almost half of the cheats for online games threaten the safety of users.Using the example of the game Warface, experts analyzed the prevalence of threats among cheating software available on the Internet.
According to experts, 42% of the publicly available potential cheats (including files that are positioned as cheats) contain a security risk for users’ computers. 41% of the threats are potentially dangerous adware capable of downloading malware, 9% are trojan-stealers for stealing passwords and other data, 5% are unwanted software (not necessarily malicious, but capable of slowing down the PC), 4% are backdoors for hidden remote control of an infected computer. The remaining threats (41%) are represented by Trojan software of different families.
“Cheats in games work like viruses. They make complicate their detection and analysis, implement their code, intercept function calls to change the game client’s algorithms, and have access to the player’s personal data. We have extensive experience working with such mechanisms, so now we protect not only cyberspace from viruses, but game worlds from cheaters,” – says Anton Selikhov, project manager at Kaspersky Anti-Cheat.
Experts classified four types of potential cheats for the Warface game according to the complexity of the mechanism of their work and compiled a selection of cheats for each of the categories. In total, 53 unique cheats were recorded during the year. Among them are the simplest cheats (13% of the total sample), working inside the game client process, medium complexity cheats (17%), working inside another process and gaining access to the game of client using special drivers or vulnerabilities in the anti-cheat, high complexity cheats (4%), working inside another process and gaining access to the game client using independently developed and installed rootkits in the kernel of the OS.
The category of “fakes” was classified separately (66%), in it were presented files, only positioned as cheats.
According to experts, among the “fakes” and simple cheats, almost every second file poses a threat to users. However, the more helpful the cheat, the more likely it is that the threat will be more dangerous. For example, instead of adware, the cheats will contain software to steal passwords and other data from the user’s computer.
“The use of cheats in online games is a complex problem, and our research proves this”, – commented Evgeny Parinov, producer of Warface.