Microsoft warns online gamers of potential security risks

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Those well-renowned security-conscious bods at Microsoft have been warning online gamers about the potential threat of online crime – and we’re not talking virtual crime here.

Games like "World of Warcraft" are massively popular, and devoted gamers will invest real money into creating and sustaining their characters. Fraudsters are literally cashing in on this, by introducing malware into the game code, stealing players’ account information, and then selling off virtual gold, weapons, equipment and other items.

hose of you who are working on massively multiplayer online games, organized crime is already looking at you," said Dave Weinstein, a Microsoft security development engineer, at the company’s Gamefest video game development conference.

Apparently game accounts are already being sold online alongside the usual array of stolen credit card details, fake passports, work papers and other illegal gains.

It’s a thought that takes a little getting used to – real crime in a virtual workd – but it is real, and it’s yet another avenue the criminal will look to exploit. Keep your virtual wallet nice ‘n’ safe, eh?

Andy Merrett