Online gaming has been here for some time now. True, it took the likes of Fortnite and PUBG to blow things out of the water, but fans of this mode of gaming will let you know that those are relative newcomers.
With the growing popularity of online gaming and the players getting into this niche these days, there also comes new concerns around how hackers and scammers are putting their best efforts towards ripping players out of their data, money, or both.
In this piece, we explore some of the common cybersecurity issues that come on the back of online gaming – and what you can do about them.
Risk #1 – Game Updates
This is a risk in two ways.
On the one hand, getting software updates pushed to your online games is not just done to add new skins, improve the functionality or range of the game. Sometimes, developers find a bug in the system which they are trying to fix.
Thus, not getting the update means that you are exposed to being exploited with such a bug.
At the same time, threat actors have upped their game so much that they could push malicious updates to gamers. These updates might promise to speed up the game for you, add some custom features, etc. No matter which it is, they are only interested in shipping malicious software onto your device.
Thus, always get your game files updated – and only from the official sources.
Risk #2 – Network Compromise
With the advancement in technology comes improved graphics and complex storylines in online gaming. This means a session can last hours – and that tells on the data usage of the player.
To cut back on data costs, some players have resorted to leveraging public Wi-Fi networks instead. We don’t need to tell you about the many dangers that this brings to the table.
Even if you were using a private network, it might still be susceptible to breaches and attacks.
Here, it is recommended that you:
- Stay off public and free networks entirely.
- Change the default router name and password when using Wi-Fi routers.
- Get a VPN for gamers to not only reduce your server latency but also encrypt the network.
Risk #3 – Phishing
Did you recently get an email from the gaming company instructing you to change your password/ claim an in-game reward/ get some credits, or something else of the likes?
Before you click on the link in that email, you might want to confirm that it comes from who it says it’s from.
Hackers are not only cloning bank websites these days but doing the same on popular gaming platforms.
You might wonder why they would go through all that stress in the first place. However, when you remember that your gaming account is most likely linked to your:
- Personal details such as an address, real name, etc
- Your credit/ debit card details which you use for in-game purchases
- Virtual coins, valuables, points, and rankings
- And other sensitive data…
you start to see why your account is worth targeting this way in the first place.
As a precaution, never follow links in emails or texts. Instead, write out the link in your browser by yourself so that you are sure to be visiting only the right website.
Risk #4 – DDoS Attacks
It is not uncommon for a group of hackers to direct a DDoS attack to some gamers.
This might be done to prevent such gamers from accessing the web or gaining access to their accounts. In some instances, a DDoS is used to prevent a participant in an online tournament from being able to continue their gaming or start at all.
No matter what the case of the attack is, it is never pleasant when it does happen.
Although not as common, these attacks are reserved for the most impactful times. The downside is that even if you were not attacked, being in the same locale as the victim could temporarily disable your gaming access.
This is yet another instance where the already mentioned gaming VPN does wonders. Bypassing the attacked server by connecting to another server location, you are immune to the effects of the ongoing attack.
It is not all rosy in the world of online gaming. While that is less than ideal, there is something to be done about the growing threats of hackers and scammers.
Lockdown your account with a solid password and 2FA. Take advantage of in-game security features provided by the vendor too. Finish that up with an understanding of the above, and you are safer than the next guy on the gaming block.