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Jagex tackles 'Runescape' criminals

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Jagex tackles 'Runescape' criminals
Jagex has launched a clampdown against criminals abusing its online MMO Runescape, including the arrest of a man in Britain.

Millions of gamers actively play Runescape to collect and spend loot in a virtual world. However, Jagex is working with UK police and the FBI to tackle criminal activity in the game, reports BBC News.

The studio is particularly concerned about phishing scams where criminals get players to hand over their login details. Upon securing the account particulars, thieves then sell off the player's in-game items for Runescape gold, which can be traded for real money.

On November 24, Avon and Somerset police arrested and cautioned a 23-year-old man on suspicion of "computer misuse offences", believed to be in connection with Runescape.

Jagex chief executive Mark Gerhard confirmed that the firm plans to mount a long-term investigation into criminal activity on the game to eliminate the problems.

"We have pinned down and identified the handful of ring leaders and we are going after them with both barrels," he said.

"Any online games company will tell you that as soon as the game has value, there's a very small foreign element that tries to exploit that value."

Jagex recently clamped down on a process in Runescape called gold-farming, where players repeat activities to generate as much virtual property as possible.

However, Gerhard accepted that closing the door on one form of abuse merely encourages criminals to find other ways to exploit the rules.

"Once you close one vulnerability you move the attack surface to another part. They were going directly after the user credentials and trying to get at the wealth that way," he said.

"Players invest years of time and effort into developing their Runescape character so the theft of a Runescape account shouldn't be treated differently to the theft of any other valuable possessions such as a games console, television or car."

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