New Type of Malware Gives Online Gamers an Unfair Advantage

There is a lot more to the concept of malware than meets the eye. It is malicious software, pure and simple, yet many different variations and use cases exist. Stealing data from corporations, extracting a bitcoin ransom, or even logging banking credentials are some of the most common malware use cases. In the gaming world, however, malware is giving certain players a competitive advantage.

Online Gamers Cheat By Using Malware

Even in the online gaming industry, malware has become a very serious problem. Not just to steal login details or prevent other gamers from accessing their library, but rather as a way to outcompete them. According to SophosLabs, the emerging trend of gaming-related malware should not be underestimated by any means. In the end, using such malware allows players to cheat, which is not something any company should condone.

One example of gaming-related malware can be found among players in the Ghost Recon: Wildlands environment. One player is able to see things he shouldn’t be seeing, including where enemies are located and information for every adversary. While this may not be of major concern in a single-player environment, the undisclosed type of malware is making its way into multiplayer games as well. As a result, some players are cheating and appear to be “godlike”, even though their adversaries do the best they can.

Other games are affected by this new threat as well, though. Grand Theft Auto V, one of the most popular games among online players, has seen a new type of malware that gives players physical advantages. Performing higher jumps and going invisible, for example, can ruin the experience for other players rather quickly. It is impossible to determine how this is pulled off or what type of malware is being used, though.

Cheating is nothing new in the online gaming world, though. Popular games such as CS: GO, for example, have dealt with players shooting through walls and teleporting all over the map for quite some time now. Anti-cheat solutions can only thwart so many of these possible attack vectors, yet none of these concepts are capable of dealing with game-cheating malware. It appears criminals are outsmarting game designers by quite a margin.

Whereas online gaming should be about fun and playing with friends, it has become a very competitive and toxic environment these days. As the game industry grows and gains more recognition, players want to achieve the best possible status in multiplayer games. Cheating for profit is a real problem, albeit it will be virtually impossible to stop this trend in its current form. Despite anti-cheating tools being developed, new types of “cheating solutions” continue to pop up.

The only solution to nip this problem in the bud is by having other players report cheaters as quickly and as often as they can. Only then can game companies undertake action against this type of behavior. The fact that so many online games allow players to earn items they can sell for real money will only attract more illicit behavior in the future. Malware will play a big role in this regard, that much is certain.

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