Virus writers could target gamers

Games consoles could be the next targets for bugs, according to antivirus expert McAfee Security.

With Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox gaming community growing, McAfee is worried that manufacturers have not paid enough attention to making systems safe and that the console may be open to attack from virus writers.

"Malware authors will and do take advantage of any vulnerabilities found within networked common operating environments," said Jack Clarke, product manager at McAfee. "Even if platforms are secure, applications written for them may not be."

But despite the threat, neither antivirus firm Sophos PLC or McAfee have actually received or seen a virus specifically written for games consoles.

"No [we haven't seen any] but a quick scout around the internet shows high levels of interest," added Clarke.

Virus warnings have already been circulated concerning mobile phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants) but again, no specific viruses have been written for either.

"Everyone should be aware that the more connected we are, the more risks we take," said Clarke. "As we move towards entertainment consoles rather than a pure gaming environment, the need to protect the personal data we collect on these machines rises."

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