Beware - that Steam link could be dangerous malware

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Gamers have been warned to take care when accessing their libraries online following a huge rise in the number of phishing sites using the Steam platform as a lure.

Recent research from Webroot found that there had been a 250% jump in Steam mentions on phishing sites between November and December 2020.

However following further lockdowns over the festive period, and a rise in gaming-themed Christmas presents and giveaways, attacks using Steam-themed sites have continued to rise, with a nearly 400% jump in phishing sites mentioning Steam in January 2021, when compared to November 2020.

Record year

“Remember that your online gaming accounts are a hot target for hackers for several reasons," warned Matt Aldridge, Principal Solutions Architect, Webroot. 

"Cybercriminals are able to extract funds that you may have paid in, or sell items you have purchased in your games, but they can also use your account for theft via a stored credit card and also for money laundering – purchasing in-game currency using one stolen account and then transferring it to another compromised account to try and cover their tracks from law enforcement. For these reasons it is important to keep your credentials safe, use strong passwords and be aware of phishing attacks trying to fool you into providing your details.”

Phishing scams are becoming even more of a threat as many people are forced to work from home due to pandemic-related lockdowns, cutting them off from the business environment and in-house security protection.

Recent data from Google suggested that 2020 was a record year for phishing, with the company detecting 2.11m phishing sites in 2020 - a 25 percent increase compared to 2019, when the search giant discovered 1.69m malicious domains.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.