The biggest gaming enemy you’re set to face? Online hackers
Whether you’re a gaming pro or simply enjoy the odd Call of Duty round to relax at the end of the day, all gamers need to be aware of online threats. And no, we’re not talking about the boss you’ve been trying to defeat for days. DDoS, doxing, and online hacking are serious problems faced by gamers that can have significant consequences beyond the gaming world.
Australian gamer Naysy agrees. The popular VR YouTuber struggles when it comes to online security and in her experience, ‘online cyberthreats can definitely lead to real-life boss battles. And if you lose, there’s no continuing from your last save.’
Like us, Naysy knows that the best way to defeat your enemy is by understanding their movements. Well, the same mentality can be applied to hackers. Having knowledge of the common strategies used by cybercriminals — alongside using strong security software — will help you identify weak spots in your armour, boosting your defence, and increasing the likelihood that will emerge from the battle victorious.
With that in mind, continue reading to learn how a simple hack can lead to you losing much more than your next one-on-one.
Gaming in Australia
Let’s start with some stats. Online gaming is a very popular pastime in Australia. The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association’s 2020 report revealed that on average, 9 out of 10 Australian homes have a device for playing video games. The average age of an Australian video game player is 34 years old, and almost half of video game players identify as female.
Australians tend to play video games for one of five reasons; to have fun, to pass time, to de-stress, to take a break from daily life, and to keep the mind active. Gaming is also seen to be a social pastime. Many parents (43 percent) play games with their children online and gamers also enjoy the opportunity to be part of an online community, with two out of three surveyed stating that they have used walkthroughs, wikis, or forums to help with gameplay.
How a hack can lead to your downfall
Gamers might enjoy the opportunity to play alongside (and against) friends and family, but hidden dangers lurk at every corner. Cybercrime is an ever increasing problem, particularly in Australia. The Australian Cyber Security Centre recently revealed that they received, on average, a report of cybercrime once every 10 minutes from June 2019 to July 2020.
Gamers are particularly susceptible to cybercrime, and many don’t realise the dangers that they face when logging into their account or chatting with other gamers online.
Say for example, you receive an email advertising an exclusive offer to test, as part of a beta group, an update to your favourite game. They’re releasing a new update, and want a beta group of users to test the upgraded game. All you have to do is click on a link in the email to RSVP.
When you click on the link, you’re taken to a page that requests your login credentials. You provide the required details, and click submit. Only nothing happens. The page simply refreshes without taking you to the next screen.
A short time later, you check back to your account to set up your next battle. However, you can’t access your account — the password isn’t working, which is very strange. Eventually you reset your details and login to your account, only to find that you have been stripped clean of all your virtual assets — armour, weapons, currency, and character traits that you have worked so hard to build up.
It might take a little while but eventually you realise that you have fallen victim to a phishing scam. There never was an upgraded game, or group of specially chosen beta users. You have simply handed your login details over to cybercriminals.
You probably feel pretty foolish and angry at this point. Unfortunately, the hacker has gotten away with much more than first appears.
Little do you know, your valuable personal information has just appeared for sale on a dark web forum. It’s soon bought by another cybercriminal, who uses your credit card details to make a series of expensive purchases. Your other information, including your full name, date of birth, address, and banking details, are purchased and used to make a credit application — in your name.
You’re not aware of any of this, of course. While all of this is going on, you’re trying to login to your Facebook account, with no luck. See, you used the same login details for your gaming account as you did for your social media accounts — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and your email. The cybercriminal has quickly logged into each of these accounts and changed your passwords, effectively locking you out of your own online world.
You’re a victim of identity theft, and there’s very little you can do about it.
Level up your defence system
It goes without saying that you want to avoid such a situation at all costs. Identity theft is a very serious problem and there’s little that can be done to recover information once it is stolen and posted on the dark web.
Australian gamer, streamer, and influencer, Mythi, puts it best, asking ‘what do you have to lose? Well, everything’. Prominent gamers like Mythi are no strangers to the types of online threats faced by gamers, but anyone can be targeted by cybercriminals online.
Luckily, there are a range of strategies and tools you can use to level up your defence system and protect yourself from the actions of cybercriminals.
- Practise good password security: Set a strong password using a combination of uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers and characters, for each of your online accounts. Never use the same password for multiple accounts, and consider using a password manager if you struggle to keep track of your accounts.
- Never share personal information online: Many gamers enjoy chatting online with their teammates and opponents. It’s important to remember, however, that hackers can be hiding in plain sight. Never share personal information, including your full name, location, and account details, with others online.
- Buy from trusted online stores: Only purchase games from official websites and approved platforms, such as Steam. You may be able to find a game cheaper elsewhere, but you risk downloading a fraudulent application that is ridden with viruses and malware.
- Avoid playing on public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi is a goldmine for online hackers. Unsecured networks provide cybercriminals the opportunity to eavesdrop on the actions and location of gamers, meaning they can intercept valuable, private information.
The best way to defeat hackers online? Use security software specifically developed for gamers, like Norton 360 for Gamers. Norton 360 for Gamers is antivirus for gamers, designed by gamers. It helps protect against all the top cyberthreats faced by gamers today, including DDoS, doxing, viruses, malware, webcam take-overs, phishing attacks, and more.
Armed with knowledge and the protection provided by Norton 360 for Gamers, hackers will have no chance of defeating you in battle.
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association’s 2020 Report: https://igea.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/DA20-Summary-Report.pdf
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