Online gaming has grown significantly over the past decade. So much that cybercriminals now view online gaming services like PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and Steam as targets. From data breaches to significant cyberattacks, online gaming has been subject to cybercriminals’ wrath for a long time. Users need to understand the threats they face simply by logging in to play a couple of matches of Call of Duty.
Cyber-Risks Affecting Online Gaming:
1. Phishing Attempts
Gamers are no stranger to phishing scams. PlayStation has been subjected to phishing messages for years now, and platforms like Steam are also going through an unfortunate increase in phishing. These scams are designed to trick users into giving away personal information, from passwords to card details to government-issued identification numbers; users need to avoid these scams at all costs.
2. DDoS Attacks
Distributed Denial of Service attacks, AKA DDoS attacks, involves a group of cybercriminals interrupting one or multiple services by overloading the servers with web requests. At worst, these DDoS attacks can take online services down for days or even weeks! Console services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are no strangers to DDoS attacks, an excellent example of such an incident being the infamous Lizard Squad attack.
3. Data Breaches
Valve is currently under fire for having slow response times to known vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities would allow hackers to send out malicious code and cause data breaches of users’ accounts.
Most popular gaming platforms have experienced a data breach in the past decade, which can be devastating. Passwords, usernames, card details, social security numbers, purchase histories: are all made available during a data breach.
How Gamers Can Protect Themselves?
1. Using an Encrypted Connection
The first thing online gamers should do is encrypt their connections to the online platform of their choice? But how do you do that? It’s easy; you install a gaming VPN!
A proper VPN encrypts the data your devices send out to ensure that cybercriminals cannot steal your data. Along with this encryption, your proper IP address is hidden and replaced with another IP address that can’t be tracked to your real location. Not only will this protect you from cybercriminals, but it can prevent you from being swatted.
2. Securing Accounts With Strong Passwords
If a hacker manages to worm their way onto your accounts, they could cause irreparable damage. For starters, they could scam people through your account—it happens all the time on Steam due to the existence of the Steam Market. Or, they could turn your account into another phishing bot (more on that later). The point is, there’s a strong possibility that a weak password will lead to you losing your accounts—years of games and achievements have gone in the blink of an eye.
So, make sure all of your accounts are using strong, unique passwords. If you’re having trouble coming up with strong passwords, you can always use a random password generator, or you can even subscribe to a password manager, so you don’t have to remember all of those passwords yourself.
3. Ignoring Suspicious Messages
When it comes to online gaming, phishing scammers need to take different fake or bot accounts. These accounts are programmed to send tens to hundreds of messages designed to lure users into giving away their information.
If you ever get a PlayStation message from a random account claiming that they want to be friends and provide a link for you to click on, ignore it and block the account immediately. It is as simple as ignoring any strange messages you receive.
Online gaming is yet another facet of the Internet affected by cybercriminals and scammers. If you care about protecting your online accounts, then you’ll want to follow this guide word-for-word.