Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

How Are Hackers Targeting Gamers? (Security Risks Unveiled) | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Contrary to popular belief, online games are not just for kids and teenagers. Adults also enjoy gaming, forming a significant part of the community. The gaming industry is becoming more inclusive, and this trend is well-supported by evidence.

Findings of game experts from Minesweeper reveal that more women than men are paying for online games, and the average gamer is 30 years old. Additionally, there are more players over 36 than those between 18 and 35.

In 2022, the global gaming industry generated an estimated $184.4 billion. It is no wonder cybercriminals are increasingly targeting gamers. Attracted by the potential for financial gain, hackers are continually developing new attacks within this ecosystem. With threats on the rise, protecting online gamers is more important than ever.

Here is a short cybersecurity guide for gaming enthusiasts, outlining common risks you may face if you are part of the gaming craze.

Exploiting reused credentials

In your gaming activity, one hacked account can jeopardize your other accounts. Even stolen credentials from an old browser game can be used to access more valuable accounts.

Reports of hacks frequently make headlines. A typical database of leaked user credentials and vulnerabilities is a goldmine for criminals. Stolen data is easily accessible on many dark websites and is inexpensive for criminals to acquire. Once they have your username and password, they exploit the possibility that you can reuse these details for other accounts. The perpetrators will not hesitate to try this hacking method.

Here is something to consider: many gaming accounts are linked to credit cards. If these credentials are exposed to attackers, it can lead to serious problems.

Booby-trapped games and malware threats

Some games may be rigged with hidden dangers. This happens either because the game itself is a decoy for a malware attack or because attackers secretly insert harmful code into a legitimate game. Most malware-infected games are pirated versions downloaded for free or distributed through shady channels. There are also games intentionally designed to be viruses.

To stay safe, always stick with legitimate versions of video games and purchase them through reputable platforms like Steam. These services have security measures that can protect against harmful content.

Mobile games: easy to develop, insecure

Mobile gaming apps are easier to develop than desktop games, which explains their abundance. However, it is harder for gamers and publishers to ensure these apps are secure. This is why security incidents have been more frequent in mobile gaming than in PC and console games in recent years. Remember, just because a game is on Google Play or another reputable mobile marketplace does not mean it is safe. Malicious code can sometimes slip through the filters of major app stores.

Keyloggers steal passwords

Have you heard of keyloggers? These malicious programs record what you type and can steal your passwords. Hackers often hide these info-stealers in popular games to capture account credentials. If this malware gets into your computer, it can access other sensitive information too. Since many people use the same device for gaming and personal activities, their e-banking, online shopping, and other accounts are also at risk.

A vital precaution is to avoid clicking on links from other gamers claiming to offer a new game version or something tempting. This is a common phishing tactic used to infect your device with password-stealing malware.

This type of malware is on the rise because it lets hackers make a lot of money with minimal effort. Even a seemingly innocent YouTube comment with a link can cause problems nowadays.

Dangers of torrents and cheat codes

If you are a gaming enthusiast but cannot afford the latest releases, you might be tempted to download a pirated copy from torrents. However, this controversial practice not only harms the developers who have invested significant time and money into creating their product, but it also poses risks for you. Cybercriminals often use torrents to distribute malware. At the very least, you might end up with adware, which, while not a virus, can still cause significant problems. Cheat codes can also be dangerous. They might be viruses in disguise or come with harmful components.

Criminals mimic gaming platforms to deceive users

Phishing campaigns pose a significant threat to gamers due to their large scale and increasingly sophisticated methods. Once you register an account on a gaming platform, you may start receiving occasional emails from them, which can make it challenging to spot malicious messages.

However, crooks often impersonate popular services to trick you. Their messages closely resemble the legitimate emails you usually receive from the gaming platform. The logos, style, and email addresses might seem authentic at first glance.

To avoid phishing scams, never enter your password when prompted by an email. Look for warning signs like embedded links, incorrect sender addresses, misspellings, suspicious attachments, and urgent language. Additionally, consider using a security solution with anti-phishing tools.

Protection advice

Now that you understand the common threats to your gaming activities, here are some best-practice security techniques:

· Create strong passwords, do not reuse passwords

· Avoid clicking suspicious email attachments

· Enable MFA for your gaming accounts

· Install reliable security software

· Update your operating system and software regularly

· Steer clear of questionable game cracks, add-ons, or unverified apps

· Buy in-game currency only from official sources

· Download games from trusted sources

· Do not share sensitive information with other gamers

· Be cautious of phishing attempts

· Be careful with web links on social networks

· Continuously improve your gaming security awareness.

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