Online gaming has become an industry of its own and is widely popular across the world, especially among teenagers and young adults. The gaming world is not just large with an estimated 2.7 billion players worldwide, it is also rich with an estimated worth of 138 billion dollars. With about one-third of the world’s population playing one game or the other, whether on mobile phones, tablets, game consoles, or computers. The gaming world is a gold mine for users’ data. The gaming industry is attractive not just to gamers but to hackers too due to the money in it, and the opportunity to build relationships in the gaming community. And especially for hackers, due to the vulnerabilities in gaming devices and the opportunity to exploit them and gain access to the personal data of billions of people around the world. Steal those data and use them to make money through innumerable identity frauds and scams.
Gamers make easy targets for hackers for various reasons, one of which is the fact that in the gaming community, it is quite normal for people to play with strangers they do not know. With the feeling that they are in a community of gamers and enthusiasts, most gamers could easily let down their guard and think less about their security and privacy. With this sort of thinking pervading the gaming community, hackers are quick to exploit it. Hackers and cybercriminals can easily pose as legitimate gamers, build trust and use it to gain access to privileged information of those who have come to trust them. With access to that privileged information, they go ahead to breach other gamers’ privacy and commit fraud.
Another reason why gamers make easy targets for cybercriminals is that most gamers do not use unique passwords for their connected devices. Most do not use two-factor authentication and a shocking number of persons say they do not know what it is. This means that if a hacker gets access to their devices, they can use them to access other sensitive information on their devices. Be it social security number, credit card information, online financial records, and social media password. This, in itself, is a hacker’s gold mine and enough attraction. Similarly, a substantial number of children and teenagers are online gaming with little knowledge of privacy settings and the security threats they could be exposed to. The possibility of tricking and bullying innocent but ignorant kids to release sensitive personal information is another reason why gamers make easy targets for hackers. With these backgrounds, let us consider some of the online gaming scams and ways to prevent them:
- Credential Stuffing: Credential Stuffing is one of the most common gaming scams and one of the ways cybercriminals gain access to users’ gaming accounts. In this type of attack, cybercriminals use password and username combinations that were stolen from previous data breaches and made available on the dark web. They use automated software that enters these username and password combinations into gaming sites such as Humblebumble, Steam, etc. They intend to find a match on the gaming sites and access users’ account details. Although the success rate for this scam is low when they are successful, the consequences could be exerting. When cybercriminals can gain access to the account of gamers, they steal their credit card details and their personally identifiable information. With these sensitive personal details, they can purchase things online; they can also steal armor, and weapons that they can sell on the dark web. With users’ credit card information, cybercriminals can fraudulently wipe out users’ entire savings by using them to purchase stuff online. To prevent this attack, do not use the same password and username for different accounts. Use different passwords and usernames for different accounts and activate two-factor authentication.
- Fake codes, Power-Ups, and Upgrade: Current mobile games in most cases require players to earn power-ups to enhance their odds of completing tasks or missions. Some games offer upgrades and tech goodies for game builders to pay for them. Some gamers are often hunting for cheat codes that enable them to skip some of the very difficult tasks in the games. Scammers use gamers’ quest for cheat codes to exploit them. They send spam messages saying they have cheats or other goodies to sell. Once gamers send them or provide credit card information the cybercriminal disappears and uses the gamers’ information to shop online. To prevent this attack, do not buy cheat codes, new uniforms, or upgrades from strangers, only buy from the manufacturers or trusted vendors.
- Phishing Scams: In this scam, cybercriminals send messages or emails to gamers telling them that their gaming accounts will not be suspended if they click on a link to verify their information. When gamers click on this link, they are taken to a fake website that asks them to enter sensitive information such as username, password, and account details. The scammer will then use this information to gain access to their online credit card details or bank account and use them to steal from the gamer. To prevent this, do not click on suspicious links and never enter such sensitive information on unknown websites. Using a Bulletproof Privacy Network (BPN) like Hoody protects you from being tracked and easily targeted by phishing scammers. It even helps you protect your privacy and security. When you use your browser with Hoody, every one of your tabs and websites gets a new IP, a new location, and a unique set of Fingerprints, which makes tracking impossible. Hoody Phantom Browsing™ future-proof innovation defeats even the most advanced and invasive techniques of tracking.
In conclusion, gamers must understand that they are premium targets for hackers and take steps to ensure that they do not become careless victims. To enjoy their gaming experience without regrets, gamers must pay attention to their security