The teenagers are suspected of stealing items from players of Habbo
According to media reports, Dutch police have arrested a
seventeen-year-old teenager for stealing almost $6000 worth of
virtual furniture from users of the Habbo Hotel, a chat room and
gaming website aimed at teenagers. Five other teenagers have also
been questioned by police.
The site's owner, Sulake, told reporters that the group created
fake Habbo websites and lured players into visiting them. Usernames
and passwords were recorded from these fake sites and used to break
into the real Habbo accounts to steal the virtual furniture from
Habbo Hotel's virtual furniture, known as "furni" by the site's
members, are purchased with credits by the players and traded in
the community to furnish the virtual hotel rooms. The credits are
purchased by members with real currency.
"Stealing virtual items might seem petty to some, but it is pure
theft when you consider that they have been purchased with real
money," said Carole
Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "Reports
suggests that the teens used phishing tactics to get the username
and passwords, which highlights the need for better user education
in the gaming community. Sophos applauds the efforts of the Dutch
police for treating this case seriously and setting the example
that theft, whether in a virtual or real world, will not go
This is not the first time that online gamers and residents of
virtual worlds have suffered attacks on their usernames and
passwords. Last year, Sophos reported that 45% of Chinese malware
steal online gaming login information.
Sophos reminds readers that passwords are an important part of
overall computer security. A Sophos web poll last year revealed
that a staggering 40% of computer users use the same password
for all online activities.
Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can control network access and defend
against the threats of spam, hackers, spyware and viruses.