Hackers are increasingly targeting child-focused gaming websites to spread malware, a leading anti-virus firm has revealed.

According to the BBC, Avast says it has detected malware threats at more than 60 sites that contained “game” or “arcade” in their title, in the 30 days running up to January 12.

It claims the pages tried to download Javascript infections, redirectors and potentially unwanted software.

The Czech company says that young children are often less careful than adults about what they click on.

“These are sites with mini-games, including flash applications and simple online apps – one example is software that allows girls to dress and change the clothes of characters,” Ondrej Vlcek, the firm’s chief technical officer, told the BBC.

Avast says the most visited site affected – cutearcade.com – had generated more than 12,600 infection reports from its protection software as of last week.

The company says a Trojan on the site had redirected users to linuxstabs.com, a known distribution point for malware.

Cutearcade.com’s owner Two Point Oh, registered to the British Virgin Island of Tortola, did not respond to requests for comment.

At the time of writing the site no longer triggered a malware warning.

In October last year Security News Daily reported a similar problem affecting children’s games on more than half a dozen Chinese websites.

Avast’s research suggests the problem has become more prevalent since then.

It said: “This is an issue that parents should discuss with their children, and also highlights the need for them to ensure that they regularly update the anti-virus and other security software on their children’s computers.”



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