In what’s probably one of the more unique illegal money-making schemes I’ve ever come across, a report from a German cybersecurity firm is stating that mobile game money laundering is a thing, where criminals use some of the most popular mobile titles to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars with reported ease.
According to the report from Kromtech, the security firm that discovered the practice, these types of money laundering activities are being performed on several major mobile titles such as Clash Royale, Clash of Clans and Marvel Contest of Champions.
Here’s how it works: criminals have taken stolen credit card information, made in-game purchases and then resold game accounts with those purchases on digital re-sellers like G2G or iGameSupply without the transaction being associated to the stolen cards.
The laundering operation is reportedly made easier with generally lax account creation requirements. Kromtech used Apple ID as an example, where creating an account requires an e-mail address, a password, a date of birth and some answered security questions. According to the firm, criminals have even managed to automate account creation.
“This process should be much more complicated than it is now,” remarked Kromtech security researcher Bob Diachenko. “When we started digging into this, I was also surprised to see the amount of shadow business behind the internal currency. This internal currency just became a real currency in the real world.”
You know, it’d almost be worthy of respect for cleverness if it wasn’t astonishingly illegal and very likely destroying the lives of those whose card information was stolen. Clearly, the folks behind the games in question as well as mobile app storefronts need to tighten their security measures to cut off this cash flow.
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