Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for their next victims. Whether they want money, personal data, or confidential information, nobody is truly safe online. Cybercriminals perform billions of attacks every year, and victims ranging from ordinary people to entire countries. The gaming community is not an exception. While big gaming companies and developers might seem like obvious targets, gamers themselves get targeted more often as time passes. It is often overlooked how much of a danger this can pose, as, even today, video games are seen as something childish and not severe. In this article, we will talk about why cybersecurity is essential for gamers.
It is a fact that the gaming industry has become a formidable force with the rise of the internet and new technologies that made video games, both online and offline, available to practically anyone. Not to mention that there are thousands and thousands of games out there, so there is something there for everyone’s taste. Additionally, many popular games have developed the esports scene, with professional teams, tournaments, and often substantial prize pools. Of course, the current pandemic affected the situation, too, with people turning to the internet and games even more in need of entertainment during the lockdowns.
Gamers often do not realize that they might be in danger from cyberattacks, and there are many reasons for that. While they might think they are just playing a game, they often do not realize how much data they share with the game or how much money they spend. A hacker taking over an account for any online game (or game gallery, such as Steam) gains access to tons of information, such as the email address connected to the report, credit card information, and more.
Alternatively, in many games, if you control an account, you can send inventory items, which might be something the owner had spent lots of money on, to other stores. Additionally, charges with many games, many in-game purchases (such as exclusive cosmetic items/skins in Fortnite or League of Legends), or high rank in competitive matches can be sold for quite a nice amount of money.
Ironically, gamers are often easy targets for cybercriminals, considering they spend lots of time online and should technically be better educated about their accounts’ security. However, that is often not the case. One of the big reasons for that is that many gamers today are children and teenagers, and therefore usually more trusting than adults.
Parents and teachers often do not teach children in-depth about dangers on the internet, and consequently, they might not be able to recognize an untrustworthy person. Thus, children must be taught about scammers and hackers and typical schemes used to perform a cyberattack. For example, children might not be aware of how important it is to keep their account information, such as password, private, and might be willing to give it away to an unknown person on the internet if they seem friendly or nice.
When it comes to passwords, it is not just children that have issues with them. While adult gamers might not give out their passwords to anyone, it seems to be a trend that they do not protect their accounts with strong passwords. Instead, they often use the same password for multiple accounts, or they use some primary password. Instead, just like with any other account, a gaming account should be protected by a solid and unique password consisting of letters, numbers, and symbols, and, of course, that should not be written down anywhere, if possible. If you need to write any password down to remember it, the best way would be to write it on physical paper, as it cannot be hacked.
Another crucial thing is not to share your gaming account with anyone else. Besides being a bannable offense for an enormous number of games, it also puts your account at risk, even if you, let’s say, do not give out your password and instead type it in yourself at a friend’s or family member’s house. You cannot know afterward who might get access to your account or what levels of protection the other person might have on their device.
People play games for many reasons, but a big one is often the sense of achievement. People are competitive by nature. When they get something special in the game, such as a rare or unique item or achievement, or when they reach a certain rank, they like to share that with other people, often on internet forums or social media. While that may seem harmless, it also puts a proverbial target on their back, as their account might look more attractive to cybercriminals.
Read our previous article; Is your child’s phone safe?
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