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"Winnti" Attacks On Online Gaming Servers Dissected

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the protect-ya-neck dept.

Security 24

Nerval's Lobster writes "Kaspersky Lab has completed a detailed analysis of "Winnti," a group of Asian hackers who target servers hosted by gaming companies, copying their source code and surreptitiously stealing money or virtual goods over time. In findings published April 10, the security firm said it had completed the latest phase of its eighteen-month investigation. A more detailed account of an actual attacks was published separately (PDF). Winnti has attacked two gaming companies in North America, two in Germany, two in Russia, and fourteen in South Korea. Although the Winnti group has been around for years, it first came to light in 2011, when Trojans began appearing on the PCs of users playing MMORPGs, online computer games which usually require a monthly subscription. Those Trojans, which included RAT (Remote Administration Tool) functionality, had been "signed" with the digital certificate of KOG, a South Korean gaming company. In the course of its investigation, Kaspersky discovered that the gaming companies (which often share resources, partner, and subcontract out work to one another) had provided an opportunity for the Winnti team to secure access to otherwise legitimate digital certificates, which could be used to sign malware. Malware signed by Japanese gaming company YNK Japan was used to attack the servers of social networks Cyworld and Nate in South Korea in 2011."

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They steal online gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429885)

...and nothing of value was lost.

Oh really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429917)

Why would I trust anything coming out of a RUSSIAN virus factory like Kaspersky Lab?

Re:Oh really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429951)

Yeah because reports like Mandiant's APT1 from american companies are much more believable pieces of work.

Re:Oh really? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#43430643)

The Russians are smart and only watch people of interest to them.
Other countries watch everybody and work back when they notice you.
Considering the help hinted by [] your better with a wide selection of developers from around the world.

Re:Oh really? (1)

Clsid (564627) | about a year ago | (#43431543)

Lol, they make one of the best antivirus software in the market. Go post with your flag waving stupidity somewhere else.

Stealing on-line gold? (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43429945)

They should be stealing bitcoins?

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (3, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#43430145)

I'm surprised an online MMORPG hasn't tried to recreate what Bitcoin is. The problem as I see it is MMORPG have an infinite supply of gold, orcs drop gold, rabbits drop gold, sharks drop gold. The economy is always inflating. There is a virtual market for this gold, but it is always being cratered over time. I sell MMORPG stuff sometimes, I know this. Now if a MMORPG created a MMORPG with a limited number of gold coins in the game, the value of them would not drop over time. I think this should not be the primary currency as there is something to be said for giving noobs gold to buy better equipment at low levels. But at high levels, there could be some alternative currency, maybe even consumable like Path of Exile(goes back into the environment to be found by someone else). This currency which does not inflate, but can deflate, would hold its value as a tradable good, so long as your game retains its value.

So far, only the mammoth of a game World of Warcraft has shown it can last from generation to generation. In general you don't want a cashcow to also have legal fees where people sue you because they lost real money in the game. But I guess with Diablo 3, they've tried real money auctions, so they have a legal team to handle this.

If I was a World of Warcraft designer, I'd add a coin you can get at high level raid bosses. The coin if consumed would give you some special power that isn't game breaking, but quite desirable(like +magic or gold find for 10 days). The coin drops at a certain % at certain raid bosses. But the trick is that the more coins people have, the less this % drop is eventually reaching zero or near zero. When people use the coin, the % drop increases again. If people delete their character, the coin is used and the % drop increases again. It'd be a function of how many coins found as the drop rate, pretty straightforward. I believe this type of drop would retain its value for a long time.

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (0)

Smirker (695167) | about a year ago | (#43430255)

You suggest a limited number of gold coins to reflect Bitcoin? I don't think you know how Bitcoin works. Also, money creation is an actual THING in real life - and it doesn't have to be done by a central bank. Crazy huh?

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43430421)

WHOOOOOOSH... It was a fucking JOKE, you moron.

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43430261)

What would you do if I would hoard all those coins? I could stop those coins from ever dropping if I had a whole guild farming those coins when they first come available.

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43430305)

I believe Entropia Universe is close to what you are referring to. Yes, gold (PED, actually) are practically unlimited in regards to drops, but since everything else in the games has to be bought, the economy is kept in balance. Also, since you can withdraw money from the game, balance is a necessity for the survival of MindArk.

Disclaimer: I haven't played the game in a few years though, so things might have changed.

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (3, Informative)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#43430329)

Watch some of the videos about EVE online's economy. The game designer even has an in house economist to keep track of it all.

The key is to add money sinks as well as money sources. For instance, money used to buy something from an NPC is gone. So, you can adjust the inflation within the game by both tweaking drops/rewards, and item prices.

Of course, most games just have an auction house, while EVE is an entire player based economy.

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43431791)

Of course, most games just have an auction house, while EVE is an entire player based economy.

More to the point, EVE has a functional economy, whereas literally every other game of which I'm aware has a fake economy. In EVE, the cost of resources is tied to supply and demand. Resources have uses and there are repercussions if they go missing. This is why I stopped playing Vega Strike. The prices for commodities are related to nothing at all and there are no repercussions for anything you do in the game.

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43434899)

EVE is somewhat unique in at least one respect: players don't expect their items to last forever. Most other MMOs are populated by players who get too attached to their stuff and would be put off the game by losing it. Destroyed items are a huge part of what makes the EVE economy viable: players are constantly replacing stuff, so there's constant demand for just about every item in the game, so you can viably run a business making it. Other games, though, there's almost no demand, and probably about 20 times as many people making any given item than there are who would buy it. This is a direct consequence to pandering to players who don't want to lose stuff, but unfortunately as those players seem to be in a majority you have to live with it if you want a mainstream game.

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43431609)

In other words, make a real-life version of Reamde [] , you mean?

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43435069)

I thought Bitcoin was part of a fantasy world too?

Re:Stealing on-line gold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43430169)

No, MMO gold has actual value.

Favoritism (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year ago | (#43430349)

> a group of Asian hackers

Hey special treatment man! Henceforth you will refer to me as "Caucasian Hacker".

Re:Favoritism (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#43430423)

"Hey special treatment man! Henceforth you will refer to me as "Caucasian Hacker"."

I'd call them 'more aggressive cheaters than usual'.

Re:Favoritism (2)

progician (2451300) | about a year ago | (#43430741)

One would think, that if they are such a good hackers, they just probably have a few Asian proxy over there, or perhaps even a host of Asian looking shells. Kaspersky has to call Section 9.

Re:Favoritism (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43431841)

One would think, that if they are such a good hackers, they just probably have a few Asian proxy over there, or perhaps even a host of Asian looking shells. Kaspersky has to call Section 9.

No. You never hear about the really good hackers. Ever. That's how good they are.

Re:Favoritism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43431833)

They mean Asian as in location.

It would be American hacker from America, or British hacker from Britain, etc.

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