Internet security company Symantec revealed this week that it had discovered a server containing the “credentials” – username, password and other information – of 44 million stolen game accounts. The credentials themselves were gathered by some sort of traditional malware botnet, but the new and terrifying twist on the story is that they were being validated by a distributed network of computers infected by a Trojan virus. What this means is that unsuspecting internet users were helping the hackers validate the account details of these 44 million accounts with their own computers, due to the presence of a Trojan in their system.
The theft appears to be targeted mainly at Chinese gaming company Wayi Entertainment, but around 2 million of the accounts were registered with PlayNC, a service that includes Lineage 2, City of Heroes and Guild Wars, among others. Around quarter of a million were also spread between Aion and World of Warcraft.
As always, make sure you keep antivirus protection and general internet security in mind on any computer that is online.