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The online battle royal game Fortnite is being played by over 200 million people worldwide and popular amongst the children and teenagers because it is free to play and available on every major gaming platform. However, Fortnite has recently come into limelight and in the radar of investigator because of its in-game currency called V-bucks and how it is being used by cybercriminals to launder money.
An investigation by The Independent and research by cybersecurity firm Sixgill has revealed that the cybercriminals are targeting the hugely popular video game Fortnite to launder money on the dark web using V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency. The joint investigation has also revealed the scale of the money laundering operations and other criminal activities. The investigation claims, quite bombastically, that children who play the popular video game Fortnite “are helping to fuel organized crime.”
The game has a variety of exclusive offerings that allow the players to buy outfits, weapons and other items with their credit cards. Clarifying the issues, the Independent and Sixgill have also broken down the fraudulent practices and inclusion within the dark web and an in-game cryptocurrency called V-bucks.
The investigation further revealed that the security of users’ accounts is open to attacks, and that there are other such vulnerabilities in the game. Unearthing the facts, Sixgill and the independent said that the cybercriminals are stealing the users’ credit card details and using them to buy V-bucks – the digital currency used to buy items in the game – from the official Fortnite store. Later, the V-bucks are being sold at a huge discounted price to the Fortnite players that allow the criminals to “clean” the money. The Independent asserts that “[t]he vendor accepts bitcoin and bitcoin cash, two semi-anonymous cryptocurrencies that are difficult for law enforcement agencies to track.”
The dark web (or deep web) – a hidden section of the internet only accessible using a specialized software (such as Tor) has become one of the largest markets not only for V-bucks but also for many other virtual currencies as well. By posting as such a customer in need of V-bucks, the Sixgill further realized from the offers they received that the activities are conducted in many different languages across the globe.
Going further, the Independent has also seen a dark web seller offering the V-bucks at discounted prices and boasting, “I’m fking rich as fk,” whilst writing in the product’s description, “Now it’s time to give back to the deep web at a massively discounted rate.” Fortnite developer, Epic game, didn’t even bother commenting on the investigation by The independent and Sixgill.