Gaming has a huge following and is big business with game purchases, in-app content and subscription fees, that add up to an industry with an annual turnover of over £100 billion. Not only that, there are also millions and millions of accounts in gaming platforms, forums, and services. These accounts include valuable personal information, such as email addresses, billing information and credit card details.
Gaming-related cyber-attacks are increasing
Gamers are computer users with the same security issues and concerns as everyone else. They can fall victim to any of the cyber-attacks out there, such as phishing and malware. But gamers nowadays also have to face gaming-specific attacks. In fact, gaming-related cyber-attacks have been increasing during Covid-19. People have had more time to play games during lockdowns and quarantines and the increasing amount of money and personal details attract an increasing number of criminals.
Secure gaming doesn’t mean a slower computer
There’s a myth that cyber security and gaming don’t go well together. Games require a lot of power from the devices they run on. Whilst in the past Internet security products did indeed have an impact on performance, with modern antivirus products like TalkTalk’s SuperSafe online security which is the lightest on the market, it’s no-longer the case.
Why secure gaming is important – Gaming-related online threats
Malware can be hidden within gamer-oriented content, such as files containing cheats, games, apps, mods, and updates and without antivirus you might never know if your device has been infected or not.
Malware can cause lag, system crashes and all kinds of other annoying things that can disturb gaming and damage computers. For example, keyloggers can steal your login credentials to gaming and social media accounts. Spyware can also snoop your login data, but also your browsing history, and almost any other data. Worst of all, there is also gaming-specific ransomware out there as well.
Data breaches and leaks
Data breaches against web services can lead to the user’s personal details being exposed. This way attackers can get their hands on massive amounts of user accounts. User accounts include valuable personal data such as phone numbers, billing details and email addresses. These can be used for identity theft and data breaches and leaks can also lead to account takeover.
Account takeover happens when an attacker gets unauthorized access to an account and changes the login credentials. To do this, the attackers first have to steal login credentials with malware or through data breaches and leaks.
You can lose access to your games for example in Steam and other platforms, if attackers hijack your account. Losing an account is bad in itself, but it’s even worse, if it includes games, skins, DLC, and other valuable content. The attacker can try to trade the contents for profit or for their own use.
Account takeover can also lead to identity theft, if the account includes personal details such as home address, name, phone number, credit card number, etc.
Identity theft and impersonation can ruin a rising star
Want to be a vlogger or an e-sports athlete? Identity theft can make things really difficult for your reputation. Not only that, identity theft can also lead to financial damages. With stolen personal information criminals can buy goods and even take loans out in your name.
Phishing and social engineering
Phishing links can be sent through game chats. These links can take you to fraudulent login pages. In these pages you might accidentally give your login details or other personal information to criminals. Social engineering is a more active process than phishing, and it involves someone interacting with you in order to fool you.
These methods are used to trick you into downloading harmful content, giving personal information, and trade scams. In a trade scam someone gets you to trade items with them with deception. This ends up with you getting a worse deal than you thought.
How do you make your gaming more secure?
Gaming-related threats aren’t inherently different from any other online threats. Here are a few things you can do to secure your gaming and online life:
It’s very unlikely you’ll stop downloading games, mods etc. just because it might be dangerous. But remember that any downloaded file can contain malware. Antivirus blocks malware from entering your computer. Even if you download malicious content, you’ll be protected. Antivirus keeps your device running free of viruses, trojans, spyware and ransomware.
- 2FA (2-Factor authentication)
Often the only thing that protects your online and gaming accounts and the information within is a username and password combination. If this information gets exposed in, for example, a data breach, the risk of account takeover and identity theft increases. 2FA, like Steam Guard, adds a second layer that is available only to you. This way if an attacker steals your login details, your account is safe.
- Strong and unique passwords
Unique passwords protect your accounts. If an attacker steals the password used for one account, they can’t get into any other accounts. Combine unique passwords with 2FA and your accounts and all the content and personal data is well-protected against account takeover. Get a password manager like the one included in TalkTalk’s SuperSafe online security to help you remember and use your unique passwords.
- Be aware of phishing
It’s often difficult to tell what is phishing and what is not. But it’s good to remember that any link can take you to a phishing site. Therefore, it’s important to be on your guard and not just open anything. Don’t open links sent by random profiles or any source you don’t trust. Phishing links can also be sent in emails from credible-looking sources- It’s a good practice to think twice before opening anything – is it really what it says it is?
- Get prepared for trade scams
There is no reason you need to react to trade offers quickly. Take your time, and make sure you know who you are trading with, and what you are trading.
These tips are good to remember outside the gaming world as well. Similar threats exist outside the gaming world, after all, criminals are after the same things. It’s up to you to decide if you want to be prepared against the threats or take your chances.
SuperSafe – the best online security for gaming
If you want gaming-optimized internet security, then award-winning SuperSafe has your back. SuperSafe includes Gaming Mode which optimizes performance for a smooth and secure gaming experience.
SuperSafe protects you from malware, blocks malicious websites and secures your online shopping and banking sessions as well. Awarded for its security and speed, it’s the perfect choice for gamers. Check it out in My Account