Mobile Games are now more popular then PC games. Mobile games generate billions of dollars in revenue. Cyber crooks have found a way to exploit the in-game currency to launder real money without the fear of being tracked by government agencies.
The cyber crooks have created a system where they use fake Apple accounts and fake gaming profiles to carry out transactions using stolen credit or debit cards. These game accounts are then sold online for real money and it is transacted using online E-wallet apps.
The operation came to light when the researchers stumbled upon a MongoDB database that was left exposed on the internet without any login or password. The free access to this database revealed that it had details of more than 150,000 unique card details which recorded the card number, expiration date and the CVV.
The MongoDB database revealed that the details on the sheet were not some ordinary company data but something else entirely. Upon closer inspection, it was deduced that it belonged to credit card thieves or more commonly known as carders. The details on the database were relatively new, not older than a few months.
The cyber crooks were using the services of a special tool to create many new iOS accounts that had valid email accounts attached to them. These game accounts were then connected with stolen credit cards to carry out in-app purchases of game features for various games on jailbroken iOS devices.
The automated tool created accounts specific to users located in India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Mauritania. The cyber crooks recovered the money through online E-wallet transactions by selling these accounts and carried out their money laundering activities.
The stolen credit cards belonged to 19 different banks and were offered in groups of 10k, 20k, 30k in carder markets.
The popular mobile games from Supercell namely Clash of clans and Clash Royale and Marvel contest of Champions developed by Kabam were used by cyber crooks to carry out their money laundering operations.
These games are very popular among the gaming community and generate about 330 million dollars annually as revenue. Third party markets associated with these games allow gamers to trade game resources. This probably lured the crooks into carrying out this scheme to launder money to avoid detection.
The operation was able to benefit due to the lax credit card verification process employed by Apple. Cyber crooks took advantage of this and carried out fraudulent activities to add credit card details, even those that had improper names and addresses.
Game makers need to implement better policies and preventive measures to stop this kind of activity which takes advantage of in-game currency to launder money.
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