Online gaming is a massive industry in 2019. There are countless gamers on PC and consoles worldwide with a significant chunk of gamers owning multiple devices. Now, when it comes to online gaming, there is very rarely much talk about cybersecurity. Despite the fact that such a massive number of people share their private information online, there is very little actual dialogue.
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However, things have changed more recently. According to a new report, over 75 percent of gamers are worried about their online security across consoles. The data suggests that as many as 2/3rds of gamers know someone who has personally been a victim to a gaming cyber-attack. This naturally raises concerns for both gamers and the corporate giants whom they transact with.
Major Cybersecurity Threats for Online Gamers
In response, the global gaming industry has begun to show signs of concern over the glaring security threat. But while the cogs of the corporate machinery turn, everyday gamers are at risk of cyber threats. Let’s look at these potential threats and what can be done to avoid them.
The online gaming industry is a treasure trove of information for anybody who can gain access to them. And compared to the other more strictly regulated industries like finance, gaming data is relatively easily acquired.
Further, the microtransactions which are part of many games now, provide the perfect conditions to steal massive funds. Further, it is rather easy to steal in-game valuables such as trading cards, wallpapers, etc. While this does not provide a sizeable steal, it can be gathered up to be rather large as well. All this translates to immense value should a hacker be able to breach into a gaming account.
Scams are a very common feature in all online domains and the gaming industry is no exception. If you are regular with Reddit gaming forums or even those on popular gaming clients like Steam, you may have heard of this. It is quite common in multiplayer arenas for hackers to hijack accounts for profit.
But not all phishing attacks are intended for a complete cleanout. Indeed, many times it is much more profitable for a hacker to milk an account over a period of months or years. This also opens up the windows to any associated accounts of other players who may co-op with the compromised account.
Malware and Security Breaches
Modding is a popular feature of many games across the world. Indeed, some mods are made by the player base and this can greatly extend the number of hours on any game. Some games are almost entirely based on mods. Minecraft is a very obvious name in this category.
And while this is a great way to enhance a game over time, it also leaves open many security loopholes. These are often exploited by hackers to inject malware into programs. As a result, many people get infected computers and gaming consoles from buying and installing mods. Lapses in user authentication can also open up wide doors for exploitation and often end up costing players a lot.
What Are Some Effective Ways For You to Protect Yourself During Online Gaming?
Despite the fact that there are many dangers lurking out there for unsuspecting gamers, things are not all bleak. There are a number of individual good safety practices which can help prevent a majority of cyber-attacks on your gaming console and devices. Let’s look at what these are and what they do:
Cybersecurity measures grow more and more robust every day. Yet, there is always one major weak link in the chain and that is human error. Not surprisingly, a considerable number of security breaches happen because of negligence. Gamers do not keep strong passwords or do not practice standard password safety. This leaves them open to attacks from the most obvious and hard to detect channels. Like all other kinds of accounts, you gaming accounts on clients like Steam or GOG should always contain a strong password. It is also not a bad idea to change this password every few months. This helps to reduce the chances of online breach quite a bit.
Knowledge of Phishing Attacks and Malware
Phishing attacks are another common method by which gamers get compromised. This mostly happens because people are not aware of how phishing scams work and fall easily for them. The same thing goes with malware as well. Many gamers are not aware of how they can avoid malware or which sources they should trust. There is no real proven way to avoid these. For the most part, gamers need to learn how to avoid these traps. This involves understanding how phishing scams work on gaming websites or clients. They should also learn which modding sources are reliable and recommended.
MFA is one of the strongest tools gamers have against unauthorized access. Most platforms nowadays have at least two-factor authentication with some offering MFA. It is important that this is turned on for your account. Doing so will add an extra layer of security to your account and prevent anyone from getting in. Now, MFA is not breach-proof but it is definitely a few steps up from having a single authentication factor like a password. Every gamer should use MFA on their account simply for the added layer of security it offers.
Using a VPN
The ultimate responsibility of keeping an account safe lies with their owner. You need to understand how you can use your gaming console or client and make use of smart technologies like VPN. VPN stands for ‘virtual private network’. It allows you to encrypt all of your Internet traffic; thus keeping you safe from various online threats including DDoS attacks. You can even use a VPN to improve your ping times and reduce latency while playing online.
There are some dedicated VPNs for gaming out there which can make your life a lot easier. Consider investing in one of these to greatly secure and enhance your online gaming experience.
As the world propels towards increasingly more interconnected services, gaming is going to be one of the cornerstones of online commerce. Companies in this area are waking up to dangers they may be exposing their customers too. Enhancements of user security features and support, as well as backend security, indicate this growing recognition.