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Trend Micro launches security app for gaming industry

TAIPEI -- Internet security firm Trend Micro Inc. teamed up with Taiwanese gaming companies to launch a mobile security app on Monday that promises a safer environment for local gamers.

The free security app, developed in cooperation with 18 local gaming companies and four mobile payment service providers, can identify and block malware programs within gaming apps that are capable of stealing personal data or virtual items purchased by users.

The Android version of the app also provides a list of authenticated gaming apps and a secured platform to make mobile payments, Trend Micro said.

An iOS version will be available within a month, the company said.

“We're offering a happy and secured platform for the country's gamers, who range from 5 to 80 years old,” Trend Micro co-founder and CEO Eva Chen told a press conference held to announce the alliance with the local gaming industry.

A study by the government-funded Institute for Information Industry found that of the estimated 15.8 million people who used fixed or mobile Internet in Taiwan last year, more than 34 percent of them had purchased virtual items within games.

Of that group, more than 3 million gaming users had virtual items they purchased stolen by malware programs or hackers, the study found.

An estimated NT$7.2 billion (US$235 million) in virtual items are stolen per year, similar to the total annual output value of all of Taiwan's gaming companies, according to a survey by Bahamut, a community site for local gamers.

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