Many gamers may have noticed the Trojan-infected file that’s being advertised as a patch for the popular Call of Duty game. As it turns out, the mastermind behind this scheme is a 20-year-old student from the UK who has used the malware to collect credit card details from the affected computers.
Kent Online reports that Lewis Martin was apprehended by police while trying to steal computer equipment from colleges in Dover and Deal.
When investigators searched his house, they uncovered documents containing 300 credit card credentials, along with passwords. The details of a fraudulent bank loan were also found.
Prosecutors accused him of using the Trojan to collect credit card details, passwords and credentials to websites such as PayPal, which he sold on the underground markets for sums between $1 (.76 EUR) and $5 (4 EUR).
Now, he has been sentenced to serve 18 months in prison for fraud and burglary charges.
Apparently, Martin was known by law enforcement representatives as a burglar, since he was caught on numerous occasions breaking into educational institutions. However, we’re more interested in the part in which he used the piece of malware to commit his crimes.
This incident shows that users subject their digital assets to numerous risks when downloading games from untrusted sources.
We’ve recently seen how most “Diablo 3 free download” searches point to malware-laden websites. With patches and key generators the problem is even more serious because most of the malicious files actually work, making users disregard the warnings displayed by their antivirus software.
What they don’t know is that while they’re happy to be playing the game, a nasty Trojan is logging their every move, stealing every bit of valuable information it finds.
“Game players would be wise to pay attention to the technique used by Lewys Martin to infect computers,” Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, advises.
“It's not uncommon for malware to be distributed in the form of cracks and hacks for popular computer games - if you run unknown code on your computer to meddle with a video game, you might well be allowing malware to insidiously install itself too.”