HP Threat Research Blog Laundering Via In-Game Currency and Goods is on the Rise | Part 2

Online gaming currency and goods are used to launder money.

March 20, 2018 Category: Into the Web of Profit, Uncategorized By: Jennifer Carole Comments: 0

Laundering Via In-Game Currency and Goods is on the Rise | Part 2

  • In-game purchases and currencies are spurring a rise in gaming-related laundering
  • Minecraft, FIFA, World of Warcraft and more are used for laundering
  • China and South Korea become hotspots for gaming-currency laundering

In April of 2017, we started an independent, academic study into the macro economics of cybercrime and how cybercriminals launder and ‘cash out’ the profits of criminal endeavours. This is just part of the nine-month study we sponsored titled Into the Web of Profit. The full findings will be presented at the RSA Conference in April by Dr. Mike McGuire, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Surrey University, England.

Today, in part two, we find out how gaming currency and goods are used to clean dirty money. Read part one and part three.

Video games generate goods and money that can be bought and sold with dirty money.

Cybercriminals are spending “considerable time” converting stolen income into video game currency or “virtual goods” that include in-game items like gold, which are then converted into bitcoin or other electronic formats.

Games such as Minecraft, FIFA, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, Star Wars Online and GTA 5 are among the most popular options because they allow covert interactions with other players that allow trade of currency and goods.