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NEW DELHI: Cyberscams around gaming consoles have increased since October, as cybercriminals are trying to turn the launch of new Sony PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Microsoft Xbox Series X consoles to their advantage.

Around 130 suspicious websites mentioning ‘PlayStation’ in their scams and phishing campaigns were detected by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky in October alone, which, as per their estimate, is half the number of similar malicious websites they had detected during the year until October.

Though both Microsoft and Sony have launched new consoles this month, the PlayStation has been targeted a lot more, given its higher sales figures and market share. In India, PlayStation accounted for over 96% of all gaming console sales in September quarter of 2020, as per techARC, a technology market research firm.

Brand names which are in the news and are being searched a lot on the Internet due to new product launches, acquisitions or strong quarterly results are often used by cybercriminals in their campaigns to lure users to malicious websites and steal their personal and financial data.

In this particular case, researchers at Kaspersky found websites offering visitors the option to pre-order the PlayStation 5 by making a prepayment or by leaving some personal information.

In some instances, the malicious websites were found to be luring buyers by listing the new consoles at much lower price than the official retail price, while some were offering special sales on previous generation PS4 on account of the launch of PS5.

“We would like to remind users that if something on the internet looks too good to be true, then it is probably a scam. Messages about sales and pre-orders should be checked on reliable sources and we advise against clicking on links from suspicious emails or messages on messengers and social networks," cautioned Tatyana Sidorina, security expert at Kaspersky.

Microsoft's Xbox Series X ( 49,990) and Series S ( 34,990) were launched in India on 10 November. Sony PS 5 was launched in select countries on November 12. It is expected to come to India after November 19.

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