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08 Jul 2005

Suspected gang who stole from online game players arrested in Korea, Sophos reports

Man at PC
A gang suspected of targeting online game players has been arrested in Korea.

According to Korean media reports, authorities in the country arrested a gang of hackers today suspected of stealing from online game players and hacking popular websites to seed password stealers.

A 37-year-old man named Lee is said to have hired eight Chinese hackers who installed Trojan horses on popular Korean websites and are said to have stolen 50,000 usernames and passwords in May.

Another 37-year-old, named Cho, is alleged to have launched a denial-of-service attack against a popular massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG) website and stole $150,000 in "cyber-money" from users of the game. A man named Kim, 22, is said to have used a Trojan horse to have stolen $50,000 in "cyber-money".

In the last couple of weeks, the media has reported that MSN Korea's website had been hacked and malicious code planted that would steal from players of the popular "Lineage" fantasy online game.

"MMORPGs have proven incredibly popular, particularly in South Korea, with online games have tens of thousands of active members spending hours playing every night. Hackers are actively trying to steal from other players, whether it be "cyber-money", spells or armoury - these are sometimes sold for real money via the internet," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "By stealing usernames and passwords, hackers can break into these games and steal other player's virtual identities and belongings. It's good to hear that the Korean police are working hard to catch online criminals."

Multi-player online games whose players have been targeted by viruses and Trojan horses in the past include "Lineage", "Outwar" and "Legend of Mir 2". In December 2004, a British youth received a six-month suspended sentence for his part in distributing the Randex worm, with the intention of gaining points in "Outwar".

Sophos recommends computer users ensure their anti-virus software is up-to-date, and that companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend them from the threats of both spam and viruses.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.