If you play a lot of Minecraft, Roblox, Need for Speed, FIFA, GTA, or COD, you might be one of the 384,224 people who encountered malware or unwanted files related to those titles between the start of July 2021 and the end of June 2022.
A new report from cybersecurity giant Kaspersky examines cyberthreat-related data shared by its users, narrowing the scope to PC and mobile games. The researchers looked at the prevalence of malicious files and unwanted software related to certain titles, along with the number of users attacked by these files.
The game with both the largest number of unique malicious files and impacted users was Minecraft. Kaspersky found 23,239 malicious files associated with the world’s best-selling game, and 131,005 users were impacted during the year-long period.
In terms of unique malicious files, FIFA (10,776) was next on the list, followed by Roblox (8,903), Far Cry (8,736), and Call of Duty (8,319). Franchise games such as Far Cry and CoD refer to the entire series.
The same games are found on the list showing how many users were attacked using each game as a lure, with Need for Speed and GTA breaking into the top five.
While Minecraft has the unwanted title of being the game with the most unwanted files and affected users, these figures were actually down year-on-year, by 36% and 30%, respectively. That could be related to the lockdowns easing during the report’s timeframe.
Downloaders, commonly used to load other threats onto infected devices, remained the most common type of unwanted file by far, accounting for a massive 88.5% of cases. It was followed by AdWare (4.2%) and Trojans (3%).
Kaspersky warned users about downloading games from untrustworthy sources—you can download Minecraft safely here—and be extra careful when grabbing mods or cheats. The latter is often home to malware, as was the case with a popular CoD: Warzone cheat last year. The company found 3,154 unique files distributed as cheat programs, impacting 13,689 users. Counter-Strike: Global Offense had the most files of this type, while Need for Speed had the most affected users.
Malicious cryptominers, aka cryptojackers, a form of malware that first gained popularity a few years ago, are still infecting unsuspecting victims, despite crypto’s falling price. Surprisingly, the Far Cry series had the most related files and affected users in this area.
Kaspersky concludes with the usual recommendations on how to protect yourself from these threats: enable two-factor authentication wherever possible, use unique passwords (preferably a password manager), download from trusted platforms and sites, and watch out for phishing emails.