Beware of video game “patches.” They might contain nasty malware used to steal your sensitive financial information. Case in point: Lewys Martin. The 20 year old Kent, UK resident offered a software “patch” to players of the highly popular first person shooter game series Call of Duty. He also packed the patch with trojan software.
Once the “patch” was installed, Martin was able to capture users’ keystrokes, which revealed sensitive bank, credit card, and other sensitive financial information. Everything from paypal accounts to logins and passwords were recorded by the keylogger installed by the trojan. Martin then sold the financial information his malware recorded to other cyber criminals he met online. Martin then stashed much of his proceeds in a Costa Rican offshore account.
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It appeared Martin would have continued his digital pilferage much longer if he did not slip up and participate in alcohol-fueled computer equipment burglaries of colleges located in Deal and Dover. Police who raided Martin’s home discovered printouts of over 300 credit cards and financial passwords. They even uncovered evidence of a fraudulent loan Martin took out under a different name. The loan was for £3,000. Martin was sentenced to 18 months in jail for the three fraud and burglary charges. The prosecutor is asking for another five charges to be considered for Martin’s sentence.
The prosecutor in Martin’s case said that he sold credit card information online ranging from $1 to $5 each in an illegal online market for stolen financial information. The prosecutor admitted that they could not put a precise figure on Martin’s earnings because he stashed his ill-gotten money at an offshore bank which won’t release his account information to authorities. The police were able to get a statement from Martin that his total earnings were in the “thousands of pounds.” After Martin’s sentencing, the prosecution has opened an investigation into recovering the money Martin made through his crimes.