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Children's game Habbo Hotel is being targeted by cyber gangsters

Children's game Habbo Hotel is being targeted by cyber gangsters

Online criminals are ripping off children with bogus game sites
Bochum, 09.12.2009

Time and again data scammers forge the websites of online games to get at the user access data. This time the cyber criminals are attacking the virtual Habbo Hotel community with targeted phishing attacks. The game's target audience is younger teenagers, i.e. aged 12 to 16. Using bogus websites and dodgy blog entries the perpetrators are trying to get hold of user login data. Such phishing attacks are not limited to Germany. G Data Security Labs experts have already detected counterfeit websites in French, Dutch, Spanish and English. The criminals are mainly interested in finding out the account details of the young players and their parents' credit card details.

One of the largest violence-free community games is affected by a wave of phishing attacks. The counterfeit sites ask for input of user names and passwords. It is practically impossible for children and even adults to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit sites.

The risks for players
Theft of account details represents a serious danger because if an already registered user gives his data to a phishing site, the identity thieves can log into the game and take part in the game under the name of the genuine user.
Moreover the account thief can spend the victim's available Habbo coins. The perpetrators also try in various ways to sell this virtual money for real money. For example, a sale takes place on the eBay auction platform - the exchange of the virtual money then takes place in the game.

Screenshot of a phishing site with a Habbo design:


Parent credit cards targeted by the perpetrators
Another risk is presented by bank phishing: on the official home page of the game provider, users can procure virtual Habbo coins. Credit card payment is offered as one of the payment means.
The cyber criminals also attract users with an offer for sale of Habbo coins or credits. If the user enters his credit card details on the phishing site, then the scammers can make purchases with the details themselves or sell the credit card data on underworld websites.

Blog scam aimed at children
In Germany another particular devious scam is circulating, one which children are extremely likely to be taken in by. In general Habbo coins can generally be purchased from genuine operators via a premium line telephone call. The fee is € 3.30 per call for 18 Habbo coins. A Habbo ID is required for legitimation. This ID is created for each individual user and as a consequence it's unique. The online criminals use this payment method in a copycat manner. The scam involves creation of a simple blog by the scammers who then entice Habbo players with apparently free coins. The blog writer passes off his own Habbo ID as an administrator code. The administrator code appears to make calling and thus coin purchasing free of charge. However, by presenting the administrator code the purchased Habbo coins are credited to the account of the scammer and not to that of the actual purchaser.

Screenshot of a German Habbo rip-off blog:

 
How to avoid the traps
G Data recommends that all parents visit age-based sites together with their children. Parents should keep an eye on their children's activities on the net.
In general: users should carefully examine the URL in the browser before input of their user name and password. For a first time registration on Habbo Hotel, the secure website of the provider should be used without exception.

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