Steam, WOW used as phishing bait

New wave of fradulent e-mails attempts to swipe account information from gamers.

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The inboxes of GameSpot editors are regularly bombarded with spam, but a handful of shady missives that slipped through the junk-mail filter this week show that at least one spammer is trying to trick World of Warcraft players and Steam users into handing up their account information through a practice commonly known as spoofing or phishing.

No, not that kind of fishing!
No, not that kind of fishing!

The first e-mail arrived Sunday night, claiming to be from Steam maker Valve Corporation. It read, "Dear Steam User, This is the official notification from STEAM, that your account will be deactivated and deleted if not email us immediately." To avoid the threatened deletion, the e-mail recipient was told to send an e-mail to steam.admins@gmail.com "with you [sic] login details," specifically a user name, a password, and a real name.

The scammer apparently used an e-mail from a previous phishing attempt as a template. A copyright line at the bottom of the message indicated not only that the contents of the e-mail were copyright Valve Corporation, but also a logo implying that Valve is an Equal Housing Lender in accordance with Federal Fair Lending Laws (a logo that when clicked on linked to Bank of America's page about its Equal Housing Lender status).

A second draft of the Valve phishing scam was received early Monday morning, this one linking to an external site that mimics the appearance of the official Valve site and requests that users enter their account information to log in. While the grammar was improved, the Equal Housing Lender logo remained.

Monday night, a handful of nearly identical e-mails arrived seeking World of Warcraft account login information. The e-mails appeared to come from account@worldofwarcraft.com and featured the same formatting and phising tactics of the second Valve e-mail. Again, the spam carried the Equal Housing Lender logo.

According to the security center on publisher Blizzard's official World of Warcraft Web site, phishing is one of the biggest sources of user security problems the company encounters. Downloading Trojans and other harmful programs disguised as add-ons or hacks for the game is another.

"People should be suspicious of anything that doesn't come from a Blizzard.com email address, or attempts to forward you to a site that isn't Blizzard.com or worldofwarcraft.com," a Blizzard representative told GameSpot. "If you're unsure about any communication you receive, you can forward any email to our official address--billing@blizzard.com--and do NOT reply at all unless our Billing staff actually confirms for you that the message is legitimate."

As for what the company is doing to crack down on these scams, the rep said, "Blizzard works actively to combat fraud against our customers" and regularly updates players on new security measures through its forums and phone support.

A Valve representative didn't return GameSpot's request for comment.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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