According to a study by The Harris Poll that led to a Norton report, 47% of US players and 42% of UK gamers have experienced a cyberattack, with their gaming accounts or devices being the target. It’s an alarming statistic that shows the need for cybersecurity now more than ever.
Cyber threats have been a significant issue for businesses whose income and reputation were at risk in the last twenty years. A small portion of the threat has also been present for the customers, who have their own data and finances to protect.
As an expanding industry worth billions, it’s no surprise that gaming is a target for cybercriminals. As a consequence, millions of gamers across the globe are now seen by criminal networks as potential access points to infiltrate platforms, connect with users, and achieve their aims.
When looking at threats and how to prevent them, it’s useful to consider what it is that the perpetrators want. Often, the aim of the game is to access data in order to manipulate it or sell it in databases on the dark web.
One of the most common thefts is that of financial details, such as access to credit cards, e-wallets, or crypto wallets. Data could be obtained from your device from game downloads, your browser through visiting and interacting with certain sites, or even entered by you under the guise of a contest application or cheaper in-game currency purchase.
Having the appropriate security to identify legitimate sites and files is essential to presenting data theft. Doing your research and performing a few basic checks on-site authority or download scans can also help.
Gaming relies on online personas, and part of what’s so great about it are the communities formed. However, a gaming profile can also be an identity target for hackers and cybercriminals. They might create a fake copy of your profile to appear legitimate but carry out illegal activities on a platform, such as offering illegal investment schemes, scamming other gamers with fake trades, or extorting money.
Protecting your identity is vital across all gaming platforms. For example, if you sign up for an online casino, you’ll need to create an account. It’ll include a username and password, maybe even a profile picture, and will be linked to a payment method. You’ve created a new online identity that needs to be looked after as closely as you would with your passport, house keys, or bank card.
Carefully choosing the place to play live casino games is your first step in protecting your identity. Ensure that your casino has the appropriate SSL encryption in place, as well as security policies. Ideally, you’ll have a form of 2fa (two-factor authentication) available for your account, which means knowing your username and password isn’t enough. Access will only be possible with a code sent to your phone number or email address.
One of the most common ways cybercriminals target gamers is through malware. It’s a form of unwanted software that could include a number of harmful components. They range from unwanted adware, which is most common, to Trojans, which pretend to be something they’re not, such as games.
Once downloaded, Trojans can have all kinds of devastating effects. They can seek out and affect banking information or applications on your device. Others might freeze your files and programs and demand a ransom. Some act as a backdoor, allowing criminals to control your system or as spyware to trace your keystrokes to steal data and your identity.
Another type of attack where cybersecurity and caution are vital is phishing. Many people think of it as an email-based problem, but gaming accounts are targets. It could come as a pop-up or a message on Discord, Twitch, or Steam. The message could be offering you a deal or asking for verification in order to get access to your gaming credentials and account.
Besides having the appropriate security, caution around deals that sound too good to be true can protect gamers from these threats. Cybercriminals are known to have offered access to in-game currency, tournaments, and giveaways to encourage gamers to click and enter information.
There are cybersecurity tools to use to prevent the worst effects of attacks. They include creating secure and unique credentials with 2fa and using malware detectors on gaming devices. However, the industry also needs to step up its attempts to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals with the right expertise and tools.