Online gaming is fun – so it’s not surprising that there are people who decide to make gaming a full-time job. Some start building lucrative careers for themselves and earn a strong reputation in the gaming community. Others make money from live streaming on Twitch and similar platforms.
However, the online gaming industry’s popularity and community size are what makes it a juicy target for cyber criminals. We have seen quite a few cases where people became susceptible to cyberthreats through games or gaming platforms, so all individuals need to focus on their own security to reduce the chances of negative outcomes.
Today we are going to discuss the most common ways hackers attack gamers and see what you can do to protect yourself from becoming their victim.
Hackers frequently steal gamers’ login credentials using a simple technique called keylogging. The type of malicious software monitors keyboard activity and allows malicious actors to see everything that users type on their keyboards.
A form of malware that hides in legitimately looking links and steals login details for some of the largest online gaming platforms, including Origin and Steam, is even worse.
Typically carried out over email or social media this simple phishing scam attempts to trick victims into thinking they are about to install communication software or some sort of a client which is “necessary” to play a game together with a team.
If you do receive such request, inspect it carefully, and don’t click on the link if you don’t know the sender. While it is a simple tip, it may save you from downloading password-stealing malware. Also, you may want to get anti-malware software that is recommended by the platform you are playing on.
Scareware on mobile games
As more people are playing mobile games, cyber thieves see this trend as a great opportunity to get some quick cash. Players who download games from third-party stores and other sources may come across apps that look like games but are actually a fake.
At some point while playing the game, users will start receiving scareware ads that are urgent notifications warning a dangerous virus has infected their device. At the same time, players are asked to get some expensive software so that they can remove the infection.
Players who click on these warnings and buy fake fixes often end up installing malicious software to their devices. This is why you should download games only from official stores, while also making sure that you are downloading the original game.
Fake gaming tools or apps
Online thieves, scammers, and hackers create tools or apps that take advantage of gamers by promising to enhance their gaming experience in some way. For example, some tools supposedly improve your connection and reduce lags; others provide you with tips on how to play the game, and some even promise to give you advantages over the other players.
When installed, these apps allow malicious users to attack their victim’s device remotely, as well as extract personal or sensitive information and send phishing messages to steal their credentials.
Since most malicious apps are designed to work in the background, they can track your online behavior without you even knowing it. To protect yourself from this, avoid downloading apps or tools that are free and unverified by the developers of the game you are playing or the platform you are playing on.
One of the most popular online attacks is also prevalent in gaming. While phishing is a very basic form of cyber crime, many gamers fall for it. The reason why phishing scams are so successful is that gamers are simply unaware of the risks and trust the gaming platforms blindly.
There are a lot of examples of Steam users being tricked into thinking that they are visiting the official Steam website when they actually are on a fake page designed to steal users’ login details, hijack accounts, or distribute malware.
This is why you should always look at what you are clicking on. Don’t trust ads offering you visit a certain website, avoid opening emails from unknown senders, always double-check the domain name, and look out for spelling and grammatical mistakes as they are clear indicators the website is fake. And if you’re tired of constantly being paranoid about the potential threats online, you can just download and use a reliable VPN during your gaming sessions and daily online activities.
Playing games can be an exciting experience, but you need to be careful and pay attention to the things we mentioned today to avoid turning fun into a nightmare.