Feeds

11-YEAR-OLD code wizard hacks Greedy RuneScape geeks

Kid's .NET Trojan offers hard coin but teleports passwords

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A Trojan that promises RuneScape players gold but instead steals their passwords was developed by an 11-year-old, researchers claim.

Antivirus biz AVG said it made the discovery after studying a piece of code masquerading as a cheat tool for the wizards'n'warriors online role-playing game. The malware asks victims for their login details and, rather than send them in-game currency as promised, it passes the sensitive data to its munchkin master.

But the little tyke was outed by his own source code: it contained personally identifiable information that a more experienced VXer would never reveal.

AVG Technologies said this isn't the first time a child-built nasty has wandered onto its radar, and said the age of the Canadian developer suggests that kids are "digitally fluent far earlier than previous generations".

While snooping on players' login details may at first seem a petty triumph, gaming accounts often store credit-card details or virtual currency for in-game purchases.

And many people use the same passwords for their accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google and other websites and gaming networks, potentially putting the victims at serious risk across the entire web: as well as the inconvenience of regaining access to compromised accounts, there's a possibility information could be exploited by online bullies and identity thieves.

"We have now seen a number of examples of very young individuals writing malware, including an 11-year-old from Canada," said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at AVG Technologies, referring to the RuneScape Gold Hack tool.

"The code usually takes the form of a basic Trojan written using the .NET framework, which is easy to learn for beginners and simple to deploy via a link in an email or posted on a social media page.

"We believe these junior programmers are motivated mainly by the thrill of outwitting their peers, rather than financial gain, but it is nevertheless a disturbing and increasing trend. It is also logical to assume that at least some of those responsible will be tempted to experiment with much more serious cyber-crimes."

The rise of the pre-pubescent VXer is documented in AVG Technologies' latest security dossier (PDF here), which also reports that almost 60 per cent of all threat activity online was carried out using exploit toolkits. The newly created Cool Toolkit accounted for 16 per cent of the top web threats in Q4 2012, topped only by the Blackhole Exploit Kit at 40 per cent. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.