The gaming industry has grown at a phenomenal rate over the past decade. As more people around the world are connected to the internet or own a mobile device, their awareness of online games has also expanded.
The majority of today’s young generations are avid players of at least one online game, while most young adults are well aware of the online games available on the internet. Online gamers are passionate about their games and have dedicated accounts and profiles for their games. For hackers, personal data are very attractive pieces of information, which makes the online gaming industry susceptible to hacking and other cyberattacks.
If you are an avid online gamer, read on as we discuss the importance of cybersecurity for online gamers.
Online Games Require Online Personas
Online gaming has evolved from playing purely as a guest to a game format that allows you to create your online persona and profile for a more immersive gaming experience. Online games are highly competitive and making a name for yourself or letting your avatar or profile be known among various guilds and clans is an exciting feat. Thus, many players place their utmost trust in online game databases when it comes to creating and keeping their personal data secure.
Because of the expansion of online games to massively multiplayer formats, the requirement for cybersecurity also increases. One relevant information that can be gathered from a review of IOBit’s Malware Fighter software is that real-time protection and regular threat database updates are key factors in boosting an online gamer’s online security. Whatever the platform a gamer uses, whether it’s a computer or mobile device, varying levels of cyberthreats are targeting the gamer’s profile. It’s not just the gaming technology that has evolved. Even threats to cybersecurity are evolving at an alarming rate. Your basic antivirus or anti-malware software won’t keep you protected for a year, as virus types change and evolve at any given time. A highly adaptive antivirus program is needed to keep important data secure.
Hackers are Looking for New Areas to Attack
The finance and banking industries were once areas of constant hacking threats, but they have since invested in significantly boosting their security systems to protect millions of users and consumers. Now, other emerging industries are hot items for hackers. The booming industry of online gaming is one such area.
In the online gaming world, players can interact with other players from various parts of the globe in real-time, and they can also process in-game transactions and purchases. While in-game currencies are commonly used, there is no regulation on using real money or cryptocurrency for game transactions. Such activities can be picked up by hackers, and they will find ways to get through the game’s security system and steal valuable data.
In a way, the current online gaming situation is much like the situation of finance and banking institutions from way back. The online gaming scene now is receiving an ever-growing number of new users, but the database where the various user information is stored is not tightly secured. Personal data is valuable to hackers, and online user databases that have low-security measures would be like begging to be compromised.
Common Cybersecurity Threats to Gamers
Hackers have adjusted their MO from directly going for bank information to using more subtle yet effective ways of getting money from the data they steal. From taking over your player profile to unauthorized selling of your in-game items, there are many ways that hackers can compromise your online gaming profile and make you pay for it, literally.
- Identity Theft
Players that have high rankings or extensive networks in online game communities are often targeted by hackers. When hackers assume their personas and profiles, they use them for malicious purposes, which could shift the blame and accountability on the real users if the hackers are not apprehended or could not be tracked. Hackers may solicit funds, offer investment scams or transact bogus trades and run off with the money using their assumed accounts, leaving the hapless player over the mess they have gotten themselves into.
- Data Theft
This works in the same way as identity theft, and there can be a thin line separating the two. The hacker doesn’t actively assume the victim’s persona or profile, but will insidiously go through the hacked data in ways to get access to the victim’s financial information. Hackers can access social media engagement, locations, phone calls, in-game transactions, and monthly subscription data, which could in one way or another lead them to the victim’s financial resources.
- Unauthorized Transactions
In-game trades and transactions are lucrative methods of earning by some online gaming communities. Rare and valuable in-game items can be exchanged for various types of items or currencies, including real-world money and cryptocurrency. Hackers can go this route after compromising the player’s personal data and gaining access to the player’s gaming logs and activities. Much like the identity theft strategy, they make transactions in the guise of legitimate player personas or accounts, but divert the funds they collect to their personal accounts or any deep-web accounts that could not be traced by authorities.
Even online gamers are not safe from phishing. Phishing has also taken various forms other than malicious emails that trick users into entering their login credentials. In the gaming environment, hackers may create a fake login page, they’ll try to send a malicious link via chat platforms while posing as a fellow online gamer. Any successful phishing intrusion can lead to the previous 3 threats we discussed earlier.
Another significant threat is the spread of malware in the online gaming community. These can be direct attacks on a player’s PC or an attack on one or more of the game site’s servers. Malware vectors and links are cunningly added to links and pages that are legitimate or those that offer cheats, mods, new maps, and other game advantages. The effects of malware can range from game disruption, PC system malfunction to compromise game or user information.
By now, online gamers may have realized the importance of prioritizing cybersecurity. A safe and secure gaming environment is an ideal scenario that online game owners, game designers, web developers, and players hope to achieve. Proactively taking steps to bolster and maintain a high standard or security protocols is an effective measure, even if no threats are observed. The same level of vigilance is expected from gamers, as they are responsible for their own profiles. A truly enjoyable online gaming experience is one that doesn’t worry about your security.