Be Careful Playing Call of Duty Tonight - Hackers Are Spreading Malware Through Multiplayer Lobbies

Last month, on June 26th, a Steam forum user alerted other players of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) that hackers had attacked the game’s multiplayer mode.

The attack was made through hacked lobbies, and the user suggested running an antivirus. Since then, security researchers have discovered that the malware mentioned in the warning was on the malware online repository VirusTotal.

How Did Hackers Spread Malware in Call of Duty?

Hackers have essentially launched a worm that was able to spread automatically using online lobbies. A player was among the first to try and analyze the malware, and they were the ones who found that it was a worm.

The player identified the type of threat based on a series of text strings in the malware. This was also confirmed by a game industry insider who requested to remain anonymous.

As the malware attack became more apparent, Call of Duty itself addressed the matter, saying that it took the multiplayer mode offline to investigate the issue.

Neil Wood, Activision’s spokesperson, referred to this vague confirmation of the malware to point out that the company is aware of the matter and that it is working on it.

So far, the hackers’ motivations remain unknown but the worm seems to have been rather successful so far. If it was able to spread through each and every lobby, it’s not surprising that it spread fast.

The hackers must have identified one or more bugs in the game that allowed them to upload malicious code and get the game to spread to other players’ computers.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a fairly old game at this point, as it was released in 2009. The game got a remake last year, but the original is still highly valued in the Call of Duty community, so hundreds of players continue to play it daily, even as of 2023.

What Can Gamers Do To Stay Safe?

For now, game fans will likely have to wait for Activision to create and release a patch that will address the issue. Most modern games shouldn’t allow the spread of worms but there is still a potential risk. In the meantime, experts recommend that players protect themselves with antivirus software to protect their PCs from malware.

Those on a tight budget can certainly get by with Microsoft’s default Windows Defender option. However, there are plenty of premium options that may or may not catch malware better but come with some extra features included, such as password managers, VPN technology, and more.

Other than that, players are recommended to use the same approach to games as they would when securing their email. That means not opening links and attachments that arrived from unknown sources and being careful not to reveal their sensitive information to strangers.

With the gaming industry being one of the largest industries out there, there is a lot of money tied to it. Typically, where there is money, there are hackers trying to steal it, so hacking activity in the gaming space is likely to continue.

That makes it that much more important for players to learn how to protect themselves and their hardware while engaging with games.

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