Cybercriminals devise ‘The Last of Us’ scams ahead of new series release
Woburn, MA – January 12, 2023 – Today Kaspersky researchers are detailing scams they’ve uncovered related to "The Last of Us," the much-anticipated TV series based on the PlayStation game of the same name. With the series due out on HBO on January 15th, fraudsters are spreading scams based on the game, some spreading malware disguised as downloads of a "The Last of Us" game for PC – even though that doesn’t exist yet. Others are offering a download of the PlayStation version, an unusual tactic in the world of game-themed online phishing, which is typically based on PC games.
After "The Last of Us" premieres, interest in the game will likely see a boost. But if viewers haven't been fans of this game series before, they are unlikely to know that "The Last of Us" is currently exclusive to PlayStation, with the first part of the game only scheduled for PC release in March 2023.
Kaspersky researchers found a site that offers a download of "The Last of Us Part II" for PC. Users who try will download a malicious file instead of the real game. This malicious file can hide on the computer undetected for years. Users will not know that something is wrong because it may not cause any visible harm, while silently doing its job.
Cybercriminals offer a download of "The Last of Us Part II," which in fact has not been announced for release on PC yet
Kaspersky experts also discovered a phishing site that offers an activation code for “The Last of Us” on PlayStation. To download the file with the code, users are asked to choose one of the “gifts” that they will receive together with the game, for example, a brand-new PlayStation 5 or $100 Roblox Gift Card. Users are prompted to enter their credentials and bank card data to pay a commission fee. By giving their data to the scammers, fans will have money stolen and will be left with nothing, while their personal data will later be used in other fraud schemes.
Along with the code for the game, users are asked to choose from a list of tempting gifts that may interest any gamer
“The Last of Us will be a real boom in early 2023, considering how many years millions of fans have been waiting for the series,” said Olga Svistunova, security expert at Kaspersky. “Curiously, now instead of offering pre-access to the series, cybercriminals have chosen a different path and are distributing malicious files under the guise of a game. This shows that gamers, especially the new ones who don't yet know enough about cybersecurity when playing, are among the main target audience for cybercriminals, and they will come up with more and more ways to exploit them. Be alert and check if your coveted game is available on the platform offered, download games only from official app stores and don’t forget to use a trusted security solution.”
To avoid falling victim to malicious programs and scams, Kaspersky recommends that users:
● Avoid links promising early viewings of films or TV series. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of the content, check with your entertainment provider.
● Check the authenticity of the website before entering personal data and only use official, trusted web pages to watch or download movies. Double-check URL formats and company name spellings.
● Pay attention to the extensions of files you are downloading. A video file will never have a .exe or .msi extension.
● Use a reliable security solution, such asKaspersky Plus, that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites.
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments, and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies, and we help 240,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at usa.kaspersky.com.
Sawyer Van Horn