Threats You May Face When Gaming and How to Avoid Them
It’s safe to say that today online gaming is at its peak. Playing video games has become so mainstream, that even those who’d frown upon this activity in the past, have come to accept this. This is why there has been an increase in cyber attacks focused on games and their players. Simply put, cybercriminals see a large number of online gamers as a valid opportunity to achieve their goals.
Many people think they can feel safe because they play video games from large developers, as they are supposed to make their games bulletproof. But there is much more to it, and it’s not that simple. It’s highly recommended to take care of additional protection as there are many risks involved.
Today, we are going to talk about the most common threats gamers face and how you can minimize them.
Malware and malicious software
Gamers are often targeted with harmful software that is designed to infect their devices and steal data or resources. Some of the tricks cybercriminals use are general and focused on other groups of people, but gamers can often face highly specific threats.
These include fake game utilities that supposedly improve gaming experience and offer custom features, as well as fake game updates.
Malware and malicious software can be inserted through communication in game, attachments, phishing, fake forums, or chat rooms. Some malware is designed to focus on games, steal content, goods, or credentials from the game, but some focus on other things such as bank accounts, bitcoin mining, or turning your device into a botnet member.
The best way to protect yourself from this is to avoid downloading any game content from unofficial sources. Make sure that your device is always up-to-date with OS patches, and that you have a modern antivirus system that can prevent attacks.
Stolen inventory or characters
As mentioned earlier, in-game content is something that gets stolen very often. A lot of online games that have a large number of players create their own economies. Players sell and buy stuff in-game, which allows them to make money. Well, hackers like to steal someone’s possessions and sell them.
The more time and energy you put into developing a character or getting rare items, the more likely you’ll be a potential target for theft. This is why you need to ensure you use your account carefully and you don’t speak about private information that only you know with anyone else.
Additionally, make sure you use two-factor authentication protection for your account so that even if your credentials leak, the person who acquires them won’t be able to log in to your account.
Phishing attacks are very common, and they are easy to carry out. Basically, phishing is also stealing login credentials of gaming accounts, but this is done through fake websites or domains. In a lot of cases, hackers send players fake messages where they are required to download or update something, and they are asked to follow a certain link to do so.
Another common phishing practice is where hackers set up whole websites that look identical to official sites that gamers use to play their games. The only difference is the domain name, which can be different by just a single letter and most people won’t notice this.
This is how players insert their credentials into fake websites without even knowing that they are actually giving them away to online criminals. For this, you need to make sure that you don’t click anything out of the ordinary and that you only follow official channels, set up two-factor authentication, and pay attention to anything suspicious during your logins.
A lot of online games include thousands of players who are all playing games on servers provided by the game itself. Even though the developers’ job is to protect the server, sometimes these servers are unprotected as the games are free and devs don’t have enough money to invest in security.
In these situations, a lot of information about players could be exposed when they are connected to the server. Hackers could learn their information, such as IP addresses, account credentials, location, or any sensitive data that might make them vulnerable.
This is why it is generally a good rule of thumb to use a VPN service. No matter if you are gaming on an Android smartphone or computer, a VPN service can give you more privacy and protection while gaming. At the same time, a VPN can improve your gaming experience.
These are some of the most common threats gamers face online. Remember to take them seriously or else you might end up getting burned.