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Theft of Online Game Weapons

A few years ago, young people in Hong Kong have begun to be attracted by online games. Many games are fighting or war programs offering virtual weapons which can be purchased by players. The weapons have a money value. The higher level a player attained in the game with your virtual weapon, the more monetary value your weapon is worth.

Beginning in 2003, there are increasing number of complaints regarding virtual weapons being stolen from online game players' account. According to the police's report, some complaints refer to online gaming accounts being misused thus accumulating large sums to the victims' monthly bills. From the police's enquiry, there are several ways in which the culprits could have stolen the virtual weapons or misuse the accounts. These methods may in fact be criminal in nature and the culprits may therefore be subject to criminal prosecution:-

  • Social Engineering - victims could have revealed their user ID or passwords to their online game partners or even to close friends thus allowing their accounts to be abused by the culprits. The related offence can be : unauthorised access to computer through telecommunications.

  • Plug-ins - Some victims revealed that they have downloaded plug-in programs for online games so that the game can be set at "auto play" mode. These plug-ins are often downloaded from unknown sources and some may contain hacking program such as Trojan Horse. Hacking amounts to unauthorised access to computer, access to computer with dishonest intent and criminal damage