Scandinavian Police investigate Habbo Hotel virtual furniture theft

Thieves have struck again in the virtual world Habbo Hotel. Finnish police are investigating up to 400 cases of theft, with some members reporting the loss of up to EUR 1000 worth of virtual furniture and other items, according to Detective Sergeant Marko Levonen. This is not the first time Habbo Hotel, which allows users to meet friends and buy virtual goods, has been targeted. In 2007, a Dutch teenager was arrested for allegedly stealing virtual furniture worth thousands of euros on the site, which is believed to have more than 100 million registered “avatars”. DS Levonen explained that several Habbo Hotel members contacted the police earlier this year, saying their virtual belongings had been stolen, and seeking help from the police. The Finnish company Sulake, which owns Habbo Hotel subsequently identified several hundred more users who appeared to have been targeted, according to DS Levonen. The online thieves allegedly targeted users with fake web pages to capture usernames and passwords, in what is commonly known as an online “phishing” scam. “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. Mr Hypponen pointed out that Habbo is just one of many online games and virtual worlds being targeted by cyber-criminals.


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