Online Gaming: Security Risks and How to Protect Yourself

Every year more and more people are discovering the magical world of online gaming. There is hardly anyone who hasn’t played some type of online games, either on the gaming consoles, computers or, thanks to the evolution of mobile technology, even our phones.

With so many different playing options, and not to mention so many remarkable games, it is no wonder online gaming attracts everyone into its world, regardless of their age or status. But, unfortunately there are also dangers lurking in the world of online gaming.

Instead of playing games as a way to relax, to socialize, to explore new worlds or face challenges, there are people whose only goal is to get access to your information, and use it for their financial gains. For hackers, no victim is too small, they can find a way to turn profit from even the smallest piece of data.

Even though the game studios and developers try to protect their users through various security tools like device fingerprinting and data enrichment or by implementing password protection policy and multi-factor authentication.

While at the same time trying not to ruin the gaming experience for the user, that is not always going to be enough. It is up to everyone to take responsibility for their security and learn what they can do to protect themselves.

Things To Know About Cyber Attacks

gaming

Most people are convinced they will not become a victim of cyber attack as they don’t have anything of value for them to steal, especially if they are playing free games. But, the truth is that hackers can get plenty of worth from your account, no matter how small or big a player you are.

If they manage to get access to your account, hackers can:

  • Use your login details to access your other accounts
  • Use your details to conduct a phishing or spam attack
  • Sell your details on the dark web
  • Access your payment details and use them for their benefit
  • Launder money through your account
  • Access your gaming conversations and chats and use them to get more confidential details about you

In order to protect yourself and your family from this happening to you, the first step you need to take is to know what exactly you are fighting against.

The most common threats in online gaming

Infection

This might be one of the oldest types of gaming industry cyber attacks but it still remains one of the most effective ones. As the only saying goes, if it works, why change it. This happens when hackers infect a software with malware or virus that gets transferred to the user’s device once they download that software. That can be a cheaper or free version of a game, cheat codes, additional items or patches downloaded through dangerous websites.

Phishing emails

Phishing emails are extremely effective because they exploit users’ trustworthiness and naivety. With this method cyber criminals trick the users to hand over their sensitive data or to click on malicious links. This is why you need to always be vigilant when opening emails, especially if they are offering you some bonus content or asking for your confidential details. Always double check them to ensure they are actually coming from a gaming company.

Account takeover

When they get access to your account, hackers will change your details so you wouldn’t be able to access it anymore and use it for their financial gain, for example by selling the contents of your account like games or skins. This already sounds horrible, but it gets even worse. By getting access to one of your accounts, due to our habit of reusing passwords and credentials, they can get access to all of your accounts.

Data breaches and leaks

Data breaches are not aimed at just one victim, their goal is to get as many user details as they can. By collecting users’ email addresses, phone numbers and billing details they can use those details for identity theft or account takeover, or they can even sell them on dark web. Did you know that recently, more than 500,000 stolen credentials tied to the gaming industry were found up for sale at criminal marketplaces?

How to protect yourself while gaming

If you don’t want to become another number on the list, you need to start taking proactive steps in order to protect yourself and fight against growing threats.

Use strong, unique passwords

One of the easiest but also the most important steps you can take to protect yourself while gaming is by implementing good password hygiene. Not only do your passwords need to be strong with the combinations of letters, numbers and symbols, but you also need to make sure they are different across all of your accounts. If you are finding it hard to manage all of those passwords, luckily there are some safe programs you can use to remember those passwords for you. Additionally you should always use two-factor authentication, to give yourself an additional level of security.

Only download and buy from trusted sources

By getting your games illegally downloaded, using cheat codes or third party add-ons you are exposing yourself to scammers, malware, spyware, viruses and even  ransomware threats. You can keep yourself and your family safe by purchasing from well-established and trusted vendors as they take extra security measures. If you’re not sure how credible a certain online store is, take some time and do the research. You might think of it like wasting your time, but the truth is that the time you spend checking online reviews and reading user experience can save you money and time in the long run.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi

You can never know how safe the public Wi-Fi is or who it actually belongs to. If you have to use it, make sure you use VPN to protect your personal details. You must ensure the security of your WiFi.

Keep your software up-to-date

Always keep all of your device’s software up-to-date, from operating system, programs, games and more importantly antivirus and firewall protection. These updates often provide security updates that fix some vulnerabilities that otherwise could leave you exposed to attacks.

Never share personal information

There are many ways you can accidentally reveal some confidential data while playing online games. This is why you need to remain vigilant and keep your personal details as private as possible as you never know who is listening.