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Malware targets gamers, holds high scores hostage

A new type of malware is playing with gamers. The ransomware, described by a researcher at cybersecurity company Bromium, affects at least two dozen popular games, locking players out until they pay to open up their saved games, add-ons and scores.

Ransomware has been a rising trend among cyberattackers over the last couple years. The name comes from the fact that the malware infects your computer and then takes over, requiring payment to let you back into your files. Earlier this year, readers of the Huffington Post and other sites were victims of rasomware that made its way onto their machines via infected advertisements.

Bromium said on its blog that this is the first time it's seen gamers being targeted by ransomware. Given that gamers not only work hard to advance in their games, but that they also pay for upgrades and new features within the games, they certainly seem like ripe marks for blackmail.

The infected games include Call of Duty, Minecraft, Half-Life 2, Assassin's Creed, Resident Evil 4 and Bioshock 2, as well as the online game World of Warcraft. (There is a full list on Bromium's blog.)

To help keep important files on your computer safe, Bromium offers this advice: "We'd like to remind you keep your files backed on an external hard drive and keep this hard drive unplugged when you go online." They also warn that if you have folders synced with DropBox or other cloud services, "malware will get to them too."

  • Amanda Schupak

    Amanda Schupak is the science and technology editor at CBSNews.com