How Minecraft undermined my digital defences. Image copyright. Reuters.
Image caption. Mods for Minecraft are often repackaged to contain all kinds of malicious extras. Could your children be your weak link when it comes to home security? One of mine almost was thanks to Minecraft. One of my boys wanted to install a mod for it and needed me to approve it. And as I am paranoid about what runs on our main computer, I oversaw the whole process.
It is the systematic failings that have attracted such attention. Not only were the email address and passwords breached, but users were actively encouraged to weaken.
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At first, it all looked fine. There are thousands of mods or add- ons for Minecraft that make a variety of changes to the game. Titanic 3D Blu Ray Movie Free Download. Some add new blocks, others change the way it looks and some turn it into an entirely different game. The one he wanted was hard to find, despite it being popular among his friends.
When we found it, I was not sure we were getting it from the person who actually created it. I was suspicious because the site was festooned with buttons that looked like they would start the download but instead led to dead ends populated by links to download accelerators and other utilities we did not want. Grubby ads blinked alongside. I'm not sure mature Russian women are keen to meet my 1. Cybersecurity Alert special index. Is your phone listening to you?
How to hack the average home. Hanging out with the script kiddies. Ukraine blackout hacks 'could happen elsewhere'Image copyright. Capcom. Image caption. Scams aimed at young web users and fans of popular games, such as Neopets, have a long history.
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After a few dead ends, we clicked the right link but then had to wait while we were put through several re- directs and a pop- up page that could not be shut down if we wanted the mod. We did, so we stuck with it and the download started. Which was odd given it was only a few megabytes in size. My suspicions aroused, I killed the download over my son's protests. Running it through an online malware scanner revealed that though it was not actively malicious it would have installed adware and hijacked searches. Definitely not the mod we wanted. Big target. Soon afterwards, I found a warning about the page saying it was fake.
That warning was circulated by the Stop Mod Reposts campaign. It is attempting to stop popular mods being hijacked by conmen, virus writers and cyber- thieves. It even makes an extension for web browsers that warns when you stray on to a dodgy site. He has seen fake sites offering the game for free, fake pages asking visitors to log in with their Minecraft name and password as well as a variety of other scams offering skins, capes and cheats.
But, he said, there was a long history of cyber- conmen going after children and the things they do online. He remembers seeing scams in 1. Neopets - digital creatures popular with younger web users. Staying safe online. Keep all software up- to- date and patched. Use anti- virus and anti- spyware software.
And a firewall. Give your children an account on a PC or laptop that restricts what they can install. Use strong passwords (mix letters, numbers and symbols) and do not share them. Not even with friends. Be wary of links offered in chat forums or in- game. Talk to your children about what is appropriate behaviour. Choose neutral user names. Use different login details on different sites.
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Do not reveal personal information, even to those who are being friendly. Be sceptical of flashy ads and links to games, cheats, and freebies that offer in- game currencies. Check if there is a way to restrict who children play with online.
Check online privacy settings to see with whom data is being shared. Younger gamers are regularly targeted, said Mark James of security firm Eset and many inadvertently give away their age with the names they choose when they sign up to a site or service. Scammers and conmen can lurk in forums offering advice and links to extras, cheats and advice pages that are actually laced with malware.
Valve, which runs the massively popular Steam gaming service, revealed late last year that 7. Control of those accounts will be lost via Steam's chat system or through booby- trapped links. Image copyright. Thinkstock. Image caption. A flashy advert can entice a child to click where they shouldn't.
Mr James warned against befriending people on social media just to get . A report it produced in early 2.
Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft's chief online safety officer, said scammers go to great lengths to catch children out. Cyber- thieves targeted children only to get at this data, she said.
Mr Boyd from Malwarebtyes agreed.