Are You a Victim
of Facebook Game Requests?

Online Gaming

Are You a Victim of Facebook Game Requests?

Cyberpsychology study commissioned by Kaspersky Lab provides insights into players’ cyber psychogram

Who hasn’t got caught up in the gaming buzz and plunged into the world of online role-playing, browser games or puzzles? Perhaps even felt like an e-sport champion?[1] Whereas previously in the PC scene, the cliché of the younger, male maverick often reflected the reality, today’s gaming scene is diversifying[2]. Particularly in social networks like Facebook, which act as an additional channel for the proliferation and distribution of games, it is becoming apparent that players can be both perpetrators and victims.

“Our behaviour changes when we enter “gaming mode”. Computer gaming speaks to both our emotional and our rational-cognitive system. While we react very differently to each game, they all influence our experience and our real-life behaviour,” explains Frank Schwab, a professor of media psychology at the University of Würzburg. “For example, users send game requests to people they know will be critical of such invitations. In the worst-case scenario, a Facebook friend will end their friendship due to such an invitation. Things become considerably more dangerous, however, when cybercriminals exploit gamers’ emotions.”

Perpetrators and Victims

In a study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania[3], researchers discovered that Facebook users allow others insights into their personalities during gameplay. Game apps also access a great deal of their users' personal information. They use general information from users' Facebook profiles, including their private email addresses. The apps can also post on behalf of users, and publish game statuses, including their scores. Passionate Candy Crush Saga players put their friendships to the test with their activities, as the game aggressively demands that they recruit more players. Users who want to increase their number of Candy Crush Saga lives are practically forced to rope their friends into playing, even though they know that recipients are often irritated by game requests.

This risky online behaviour makes gamers the perfect cyber victims. "Gamers tend to have difficulties turning off the feelings of success — and possibly also of omnipotence — they achieve in the game world in subsequent real-life situations. This can lead to risky online behaviour, with players searching for cheats on illegal websites, for example," adds Professor Schwab. Analyses carried out by Kaspersky Lab indicate that particularly players are increasingly falling victim to malware and phishing attacks carried out by cybercriminals.

Kaspersky Lab Names Cyber Risks for Gamers

Kaspersky Lab currently recognises more than 4 million different malware programs that specifically target gamers.

The aim of these malware attacks? To steal game account data and virtual objects. "In addition to malware attacks, we are also seeing an increase in phishing attacks, in which gamers are being very specifically targeted using extremely authentic-looking communications and layouts," explains Christian Funk, Head of Global Research and Analysis Team Germany at Kaspersky Lab. "Players remain lucrative targets for attackers. The sale of in-game objects and artefacts can be very profitablefor for cybercriminals."

Sources

[1] www.kaspersky.com/cyberpsychology

[2] http://www.bitkom.org/de/themen/54906_77024.aspx

[3] http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0073791 — Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach; H. Andrew Schwartz, Johannes C. Eichstaedt, Margaret L. Kern, Lukasz Dziurzynski, Stephanie M. Ramones, Megha Agrawal, Achal Shah, Michal Kosinski, David Stillwell, Martin E. P. Seligman, Lyle H. Ungar, September 25, 2013

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is the world's largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world's top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 16-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.

Media Contact

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Kaspersky Labs GmbH
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About Cyberpsychology:

Our Psyche Under the Influence of the Internet

The Internet has become today’s defining medium and considerably influences the behaviour of many people. Our experiences in social media, our relationships with end devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops, and the ways in which our immediate physical environment is being artificially expanded by “cyberspace”, are all part and parcel of the field of “media psychology”.

What are social apps, online videos, Internet communities, online shops and chat forums doing to us? If, in the 1960s, TV was postulated as a “second-hand reality”, what effect will the increasing electronic networking of humanity with a variety of increasingly intelligent technologies and end devices have? Are our online lives riskier than our real ones? Do we need digital risk literacy? Could some of us already be cyberpsychos?

Kaspersky Lab researched this question in collaboration with Professor Dr Frank Schwab and Dr Astrid Carolus from the Working Unit for Media Psychology at the University of Würzburg, and will be publishing its findings in an occasional series.