The Bottom Has Fallen Out Of Gaming-Related Cybercrime

There was a time in the dim distant past, aka 2005, when unscrupulous types made their fortune by stealing MMORPG characters and attributes and selling them for huge profits. Sucked in, chumps! That market is officially dead.

The chart below, presented by Kaspersky Lab founder Eugene Kaspersky at the company's annual security summit in Malaga, Spain, shows how the volume of game fraud-related malware has dropped dramatically in recent years, after rising rapidly between 2005 and 2008.

The simple reason for the change? There's not enough money in it any more. As Kaspersky noted, while high-ranking game characters were once exchanged for massive sums, these days the going price in crime-minded forums is a measly 70 Euros or so.

Yes, that would still get you a skanky motel room in the outer suburbs of Dusseldorf, but at those prices, there are more profitable avenues for the ambitious young cyber-criminal with an empty wallet and no evident sense of ethics. As Kaspersky himself sung to the assembled crowd to the tune of a well-known Bob Marley classic: "No business, no crime."

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to Spain as a guest of Kaspersky Lab.

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    That may have been true in 2005 but I honestly have not heard of anyone that's been hacked loosing their account completely.

    The main reason that accounts in MMO's get hacked ISN'T to sell the character but to steal the characters currency, clean out their in-game bank and inventory for more currency, last I heard gold farming was still big business.

    I got hacked 3 weeks ago on World of Warcraft. Password was changed so I couldn't get in All my gold was taken and anything the could be sold was sold. I was able to get the account back VIA my games serial number. Changed Email address and Password put in a ticket and got it all back in 30 minutes all restored.

    I must hand it to Blizzard Top marks for service.

      Same thing happened to me. All my gold taken, all my Best-in-slot gear sold to vendor (!!!). I logged in to see my character wearing the absolute bare minimum PvP (unsellable) gear. Oh, and he dropped my maxed out JC and Eng for Herb and Mining (!!!)

    In other news, trolling is up 500%

    Well I'm not surprised. WoW's plateaued. They've reached a point where anyone who'd likely ever play WoW is currently playing it with no further beachheads into mainstream markets. Remember when almost each month the number would rise by a million subscribers and it seemed like it wouldn't stop? Well, it stopped. And it's now hovering at 12mil with no flux.

    Blizzard did a damn good job keeping it going as long as they did, but people are just bored of the same old mechanics and you can only reinvent so much each expansion. Now people are looking into The Old Republic for no other reason than "It's not WoW"

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