Japanese couple busted for Lineage II virtual theft

Many aspects of our lives seem to seep into the virtual space, whether it’s about love or friendships.

Although our real lives and virtual lives may overlap, people often use the Internet to reinvent themselves and live a life they can’t from the day-to-day.

But remember, the virtual space is not a lawless domain.

Two people learned this the hard way when they were arrested for stealing virtual characters and goods from players in one of the world’s most popular online games – Lineage II Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG).

The arrested cybercriminals created a fake website advertising free tools that Lineage players could use to boost their online character’s combat characteristics.

Once victims put their usernames and passwords into the system, the website would ultimately access Lineage II and sell the players virtual belongings for real money to other players.

From the scam, the couple has accessed over 100 accounts and made approximately 1 million yen (approximately US$ 12,000) through the scheme between April and June 2010.

This type of scam is nothing new as the creators of Lineage II claim that they have lost around 100 million yen and are spending more trying to fight this type of cybercrime.

And this isn’t the first time.

Police across the world have fought virtual crimes ranging from stealing online funds, to killer virtual avatars.

One of the steps MMORPGs has taken to fight this type of cybercrime is by introducing hardware token devices to authenticate users, which requires they enter a one-time authentication code that changes every 60 seconds.

If convicted, Nishimura and Tanaka each face up to three years in prison, and a maximum fine of 500,000 yen (US$ 6,000).

(Via Sophos Naked Security)