Thieves steal virtual items from hotel

While the Habbo Hotel thefts were virtual, there were still real financial ramifications.

Habbo Hotel

Finnish police have raided homes and seized computers after scammers had stolen virtual items from the online simulation game Habbo Hotel.

The cyber criminals set up fake Habbo sites in order to steal users' login information before going on to take various incorporeal objects from the virtual world.

Sulake Corporation Oy, which owns the game, confirmed it has been working with police on the investigation.

"Our aim with this is of course to catch the wrongdoers, but also to spread the word that it really is illegal and against our rules to put up scam sites or Habbo retro sites, or in general to even think about doing stuff like this," said Juhani Lassila, director of public relations and communications at Sulake, in a blog post.

"There are many unofficial, retro, scam etc sites that might look like Habbo, but they are not. Never try to sign up to these, unless you want to get robbed," Lassila warned.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, noted that while the objects are virtual, there are still real financial issues to be taken into consideration.

"It may seem petty to complain about something being stolen that never physically existed in the first place, but remember that this virtual furniture has been purchased with real cash," he said in a blog.

Cyber criminals have been increasingly looking to social services as the basis for their attacks and this case appears to be further proof of that trend.

Online crooks also typically head to where there is value, so this attack may come as no surprise considering Sulake recently reported its revenue had increased by more than 25 per cent in the first quarter of this year over the same period in 2009.

"Whether you're playing online games, or doing online banking, you still need to keep security high in your mind and protect your username and passwords from snooping hackers," Cluley added.

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