Gamers haven’t really been the focus of cybersecurity for a long time. You mostly hear about attacks on businesses or stolen personal data due to phishing attacks, but gamers are not safe from hackers targeting them.

As cyberattacks continue to escalate, gamers have become prime hacking targets. While the gaming industry continues to expand, malicious actors seek to exploit vulnerabilities in the digital realm, meaning the risks associated with cyberattacks on gamers are on the rise.

Cyberattacks on young gamers increased by 57% in 2022.

Younger gamers playing games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite are particularly at risk. They’re often playing on their parents’ devices, which could hold data that interests hackers.

Let’s dive into some of the why for the increasing threat landscape, as well as discuss ways for gamers to safeguard themselves against potential threats.

The Gaming Boom and Cybersecurity Concerns

The growth of the gaming industry has brought entertainment to millions, but has also attracted the attention of cybercriminals looking for lucrative opportunities.

According to an MSN article, cyberattacks on gaming platforms are becoming more prevalent. Hackers are deploying sophisticated techniques to compromise user accounts, steal sensitive information, and disrupt online gaming experiences.

Stolen Credentials and In-Game Items

One of the primary motivations behind these cyberattacks is the prospect of acquiring in-game items. Virtual goods, such as rare skins, weapons, or characters, are valuable to other gamers. Hackers exploit re-used passwords, security loopholes, and social engineering to gain unauthorized access to user accounts. Once they do, they pilfer these coveted items for illicit gains.

Ransom Attacks on Gaming Accounts

Ransom attacks have become increasingly prevalent in the gaming world. In these instances, cybercriminals gain control of a user’s account, then demand a ransom for its release. Hackers often demand the ransom in untraceable cryptocurrency. Gamers may follow the hacker’s demands as they do not want to lose a meticulously curated game profile, as well as their progress and achievements.

Disruption of Online Gaming Services

Beyond individual attacks, hackers target gaming platforms to disrupt online services. They launch DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks to overwhelm servers, rendering them inaccessible to legitimate users.

This frustrates gamers, but can also have severe financial repercussions for gaming companies who must grapple with the costs of mitigating these attacks and potential revenue losses.

Understanding the Motivations of Cybercriminals

Effectively combating the rising tide of cyber threats in gaming takes knowledge. It’s crucial to understand the motivations driving these attacks. Virtual economies within games have created a lucrative market for cybercriminals, and the anonymity of the gaming community makes gamers attractive targets.

Safeguarding Your Gaming Experience: Tips for Gamers

Cyberattack risks are escalating. Gamers must take proactive steps to protect themselves from potential cyber threats, while parents also need to watch out for younger gamers.

Here are some essential tips to enhance gaming cybersecurity.

Strengthen Your Passwords

One of the simplest, most effective ways to secure your gaming accounts is to have a good password strategy. Don’t use easily guessable passwords and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Incorporate a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters, and remember; regularly updating your passwords adds an extra layer of security.

Enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor Authentication is a powerful tool that adds significantly to security.  MFA users verify their identity through a secondary method, such as a code sent to their mobile device. Enabling 2FA greatly reduces the risk of unauthorized access, even if a hacker has compromised your password.

Stay Informed and Vigilant

Be aware of the latest cybersecurity threats targeting the gaming community and stay informed about potential risks, new hacking techniques, and security best practices. Additionally, be vigilant when clicking on links or downloading files. Keep your guard up when interacting with unknown users within gaming platforms and always be suspicious of anyone you don’t know personally.

Keep Software and Antivirus Programs Updated

Regularly update your gaming platform, antivirus software, and operating system. This will patch vulnerabilities and protect against known exploits. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process. Staying up to date is crucial in thwarting potential attacks.

Avoid Cheats and Unofficial Mods

Attackers often hide malicious malware inside of fake game tweaks, patches, and cheats. This malware can steal information from the systems it infects. Social media, such as YouTube how-to-videos, are used to promote these infected game related tools. You can find official modifications to some games directly from the game developer.

Source: Malware hidden in game cheats and mods used to target gamers

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.