Police Investigate Another Habbo Virtual Theft

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Police Investigate Another Habbo Virtual Theft

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Police in Finland are investigating roughly 400 unusual cases of theft involving virtual furniture and items taken from the online world of Habbo.

Detective Sergeant Mark Levonen said several Habbo users contacted police earlier this year to report the theft of various virtual items. The thieves apparently use fake websites to capture user names and passwords, then log into the game and transfer the items to other accounts. Some users valued their lost items at well over $1200 in total.

"Habbo as a virtual world is targeted by thieves from all over the world," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish internet security firm F-Secure. "We've seen Dutch hackers, Italians, Russians and others, and have investigated some of these cases previously with the company that runs Habbo."

Habbo, previously known as Habbo Hotel, launched in 2000 and attracts roughly eight million unique visitors each month. The virtual world, which is actually a collection of several "localized communities" serving different areas of the world, is aimed squarely at teenagers and an estimated 90 percent of its users are between the ages of 13 and 18. This isn't the first time Habbo has been at the center of a real-world police investigation: In late 2007 a Dutch teen was arrested for stealing over $5800 worth of virtual property.

"We see malicious attacks and trojans stealing accounts for all the games you can imagine, including World of Warcraft, FarmVille and so on. Poker games, for example, are susceptible to trojans which share you cards with other players around the table," Hypponen said. "When the TV stars play poker online, we're talking potential losses of hundreds of thousands of euros."

Levonen said that police have performed "five home searches in five cities in Finland" and the investigation is ongoing.

Source: BBC

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Oh well, at least nobody got AIDS from the pool.

That's a relief.

Some users valued their lost items at well over $1200 in total.

Lol'd, did they not realise that these items arent in fact real?

Billion Backs:
Oh well, at least nobody got AIDS from the pool.

That's a relief.

It was closed luckily.

flaming_squirrel:

Some users valued their lost items at well over $1200 in total.

Lol'd, did they not realise that these items arent in fact real?

Billion Backs:
Oh well, at least nobody got AIDS from the pool.

That's a relief.

It was closed luckily.

To be serious, those items -are- real. They payed for them with real money.

Something doesn't have to be material to be "real". An idea can be copyrighted and bought, for example.

Hey, hey, wouldn't it be great if the admins found out who was behind this, then crossed their arms, threw their chests out, and proclaimed "CASE CLOSED"?

I think it would be funny, at any rate. In an ironic kind of way.

To be serious, those items -are- real. They payed for them with real money.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/real (see 2 and 3)

not really, no. Just because something is payed with money, doesn't mean it's real. Can you grab it? Can you feel the wood of the virtual chair you just bought? Smell it? Will you be able to claim your chair if the company goes bust? No, because it is, in fact, not real.

Femaref:

To be serious, those items -are- real. They payed for them with real money.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/real (see 2 and 3)

not really, no. Just because something is payed with money, doesn't mean it's real. Can you grab it? Can you feel the wood of the virtual chair you just bought? Smell it? Will you be able to claim your chair if the company goes bust? No, because it is, in fact, not real.

It does exist, but in form of code. You pay for the right to use it.

Femaref:

To be serious, those items -are- real. They payed for them with real money.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/real (see 2 and 3)

not really, no. Just because something is payed with money, doesn't mean it's real. Can you grab it? Can you feel the wood of the virtual chair you just bought? Smell it? Will you be able to claim your chair if the company goes bust? No, because it is, in fact, not real.

You do realize everything you think is real is simply electrical impulses sent to your brain right? those virtual items are just as real as anything else or nothing at all is real to begin with.

*grumbles*rassnefrassenjohnnycomelatelyfrassens*grumbles*

Anyway...least you did your research, more than I can say. xD

Still, as petty crime goes, this is pretty weak. Even if we are dealing in the 1000's of euros.

Billion Backs:

To be serious, those items -are- real. They payed for them with real money.

Something doesn't have to be material to be "real". An idea can be copyrighted and bought, for example.

Wait a minute....people paid ~$1200 of real, physical money (see: mum and dad's money) for useless crap to decorate a poorly constructed 2d room of no actual use whatsoever?

There I was thinking buying items in WoW was somewhat pathetic, at least they're usable. Sort of.

HontooNoNeko:

You do realize everything you think is real is simply electrical impulses sent to your brain right? those virtual items are just as real as anything else or nothing at all is real to begin with.

They lack a physical form, your point is somewhat invalid.

flaming_squirrel:

Billion Backs:

To be serious, those items -are- real. They payed for them with real money.

Something doesn't have to be material to be "real". An idea can be copyrighted and bought, for example.

Wait a minute....people paid ~$1200 of real, physical money (see: mum and dad's money) for useless crap to decorate a poorly constructed 2d room of no actual use whatsoever?

There I was thinking buying items in WoW was somewhat pathetic, at least they're usable. Sort of.

HontooNoNeko:

You do realize everything you think is real is simply electrical impulses sent to your brain right? those virtual items are just as real as anything else or nothing at all is real to begin with.

They lack a physical form, your point is somewhat invalid.

No, I think those are the amounts that were stolen. As in from a lot of different players. It would be weird if it was all from the same small group hehe.

As for lacking physicality, it's no less stolen 'property' than say you buying a movie ticket and having that stolen. The ticket isn't some magical piece of paper that grants you entry to the theatre, it's the idea of the ticket, that owners of the theatre attach to it. It's a worthless piece of paper otherwise, but now it has value.

Money works in much the same way, doesn't it?

The funny thing is these "fake site" are all pretty much just sites that say "put your username and password here and i'll give you free money on Habbo. My friend one Christmas eve went on these sites and tried some of the accounts to get the free 5 gold they gave out to all accounts, and he stumbled upon an account that had since gotten premium membership (HC) and a ton of furnie and took it all and we shared it. If people are stupid enough to put their username and passwords on sites like that, they deserve it, especially if they care that much about a crappy game like Habbo Hotel!

HT_Black:
Hey, hey, wouldn't it be great if the admins found out who was behind this, then crossed their arms, threw their chests out, and proclaimed "CASE CLOSED"?

I think it would be funny, at any rate. In an ironic kind of way.

Not really ironic but funny none the less.

People spending one thousand dollers on fake things appauls me. If they pay for pixels and their pixels dissapear bully for them.

interesting, good thing I got out of there years ago. Damn pool seemed to be closed every day.

Billion Backs:

flaming_squirrel:

Some users valued their lost items at well over $1200 in total.

Lol'd, did they not realise that these items arent in fact real?

Billion Backs:
Oh well, at least nobody got AIDS from the pool.

That's a relief.

It was closed luckily.

To be serious, those items -are- real. They payed for them with real money.

Something doesn't have to be material to be "real". An idea can be copyrighted and bought, for example.

Ok the whole is it real argument made me think of the matrix, only the people looked like they do in the top picture. Thank you so much for that image.

It is good to see the criminals finding new ways to steal, however I wonder if these types of thefts become more common will we see new laws? I do fear that when people are buying $1200 in items that can only be used in a game that the virtual world will soon be overtaking the real world in users. Will humans as a race lose touch with life as we know it for a simulated life, rather than useing simulated life as a short escape from real life?

Who the HELL would pay money for anything in this joke of a game.

Anyone who falls for an obvious scam like that deserves to have their items stolen.

Also who the hell spends that much money on virtual item? really some people have more money then brains.

Theres a Sucker born every Minute and i'm gonna take em for all they got.

If someone falls for it and downloads a program or something then loses it so be it. If it happens when someone guess their info then thats not good.

Well a sucker does what a sucker gets. These people invest lots of real money into an online game, and then don't bother to secure their accounts, frivolously going to any websites sharing their info. And then they get upset when somebody rips them off.
image
That is all.

Call me when an EVE player calls the police over a hostile corporate takeover where, literally, billions of dollars are lost.

flaming_squirrel:
They lack a physical form, your point is somewhat invalid.

True, but you pay for it, so legally its your property.

danpascooch:
Who the HELL would pay money for anything in this joke of a game.

That. Also, if you go into ALL kinds of pages without thinking over what may lie there you deserve to get all your virtual belongings stolen.

Oh man, this game is just for the fun. I used it but if you don't pay, there goes your enjoyement. I keep to 'real' games as I like to call them.

Pool's closed Damn.. ninja'd

Is this really worth the hours that the finnish(ed) police puts into this case? I mean, the age group for this kind of website is 10-13 right? That means that they tend to click on everything that shines and sparkles online, including those fancy banners that provide you with spyware and trojans... The worst threat to their account security are the users themselves.

Edit: In the olden days, when the grass was green, America called The New World and the maidens fair, I protected my Habbo account with the password: 1234

Also, once you have stolen $1200 in Habbo stuff, how do you fence it? How is stealing Habbo stuff worth your wiles?

I've never played this game partly because for that money I could buy comics and partly because I hate the name "Habbo".

Perhaps this has been a learning experience for those people.

(Hint: Thieves in the real world would have a tough time stealing your real furniture like a couch. Maybe that's where you should spend your money.)

What a waste of police time.

Like when the police came to my house the other week and told me to stop being mean to people through youtube videos.

Silly waste of time.

game devs restore items, and ban thieves.

police, DO NOT GET INVOLVED FFS, is there not any serious crimes to take care of in finland?

What an utter waste of time for both the crooks, police and userbase, why people would pay for it is beyond me. Maybe the whole hotel has AIDS now, please close it.

I still cant believe people would spend that much on virtual goods for a game like Habbo...

Shitty virtual goods... Or an LED TV... What a conundrum...

Patrick_and_the_ricks:

flaming_squirrel:
They lack a physical form, your point is somewhat invalid.

True, but you pay for it, so legally its your property.

Oh yeah? Tell that to Steam...

Edit:

Woops! As for the OP, Anyone who's willing to pay over $1200 to a game like Habbo hotel needs to do something more constructive with their money...

Real or not it has a monetary value, which makes it real in the eyes of the law.

Technically, going by current exchange rates, I have personally been involved in the destruction of over $20,000 US worth of imaginary internet spaceship property while playing Eve, which to be honest is fucking scary.

EDIT:

Hopeless Bastard:
Call me when an EVE player calls the police over a hostile corporate takeover where, literally, billions of dollars are lost.

Unless said hostile tack over was done by using a keylogger Trojan; that will never happen. Though to be quite honest, if you are dumb enough to fall for one of these scams maybe you shouldn't hold the keys to the corp wallet.

Pool is closed.

Stormz:
Anyone who falls for an obvious scam like that deserves to have their items stolen.

Also who the hell spends that much money on virtual item? really some people have more money then brains.

Well, I think it's a status thing to be honest. People do it because they can in many cases, especially when it comes to virtual chat modes and such like Habbo. It's like any other indulgence, or fad from the "haves" that the "have nots" don't get.

When it comes to games, things are a bit differant. If you like an actual game enough where your going to sink a hundred hours into it, buying some extras can be worthwhile. What's more some people are completionists, and as much as I loathe the practice of DLC items, I happen to fit this bill, and have been known to get certain things like items or characters for various RPGs. I for example downloaded most of the "extra" characters for "Disgaea 3" despite ironically having spent most of my time playing it on someone else's system and needing to (eventually) do my own playthrough before I can even use them. :P

As ridiculous as it is, I can sort of "get" the idea of a cash shop, for people who like the game enough to play it seriously to the point where such things become viable. I can understand the whole "Farmville" thing even if I loathe it and the financial model on
which it runs.

Generally speaking I do think the police should leave things like virtual furniture alone. Actual game play items I can see being worthy of calling a crime, but this kind of thing strikes me as being somewhat pointless. Of course where to draw the line of actual value is debatable. I guess it comes down to the idea (for me) that things like WoW (which I play), can be competitive, where Habbo, generally speaking is not.

When it comes to some other games like EVE, I would argue that deception is part of the game, and going by the various stories and such, many of which have been used to sell the game, one can't really complain about a "scam" costing someone billions since that's part of the game in this case. Of course hacking is something differant. It's sort of like the board game "Diplomacy", you can't complain about someone stabbing you in the back since that's pretty much what it's all about (not a matter of if, but when).

-

On a side note however, I will say that I believe that when it comes to games I do not think that real life wealth should have any effect on them. This is why I loathe the idea of cash shops run by the company and the like, especially when actual game benefits are involved.

I do not think people should be buying WoW gold for money to begin with (for example), and truthfully it's the fact that nobody has policed it seriously (no matter how many accounts Blizzard claims to ban) is one of the reasons why hacking accounts, keylogging, and similar things has become profitable.

When it comes to EVE, the massive RL money market for ISK and things which seems to be more or less ignored (and actually encouraged it seems) by the guys running the game, is part of what makes things such a big deal. I didn't like how the game worked to begin with, but the very idea that someone can legitimatly claim to have destroyed $20,000 worth of in game property owned by another player makes me nauseus.... as it destroys what games should be about (IMO). Really when it comes to this kind of thing the only game that makes be feel more queasy than EVE are the "Entropia" games where people are throwing around maddening amounts of money more or less because they can.

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