The success of the world of video games, with a turnover exceeding 2 billion euros, has inevitably attracted the interest of unscrupulous cybercriminals, ready to exploit any weakness, technological or human, for easy profits.
In fact, there are more and more reports of attempted attacks both against players, with violations of game accounts, and against developer companies. It is not only the large companies that develop the most famous video games that are being targeted by cyber criminals, but above all the millions of users all over the world who, via PC, smartphone or other, conclude economic transactions every day to improve their score or buy coins, like in the new FIFA game.
Problems for users.
Users often save credit card data in their accounts, used precisely for economic transactions. Gaining access to these accounts is equivalent to gaining access to bank details for the cybercriminal. This is why they mainly use the classic phishing email campaigns: fake promotional messages trick the user into accessing a fake page to enter their username and password. Which thus come into the possession of the criminals. Through hacked accounts it is also much easier to mislead the victim's friends, who trusting that they know the person with whom they enter into a relationship, can more easily exchange personal and confidential data.
Other methods used to hack game accounts are online messaging systems, which it would be good to be wary of, especially when they require you to enter personal data, or apps or programs developed by third parties that integrate with the game. A widespread but potentially dangerous practice because it escapes the control of official channels: several times the manufacturing companies have reported the problem, relieving themselves of any responsibility for downloads made by users. The problem is obviously accentuated given that the public in the sector is generally very young, with little knowledge of the risks and difficulty in protecting themselves effectively.
The biggest risks for players:
- Malware and Ransomware;
- Identity theft;
- Account Breach;
The risks for companies.
Manufacturing companies are targeted for several reasons. Violating their computer systems means gaining possession of personal data but also of confidential information, such as previews of upcoming video games. A trend that is spreading consists precisely in divulging information on products still under development, with serious damage to the image. In the most recent attacks against major companies in the sector, criminals used ransomware to demand payment of sums of money and at the same time stole confidential data and video game source codes, with damages amounting to millions of dollars.
In August, a report was released according to which the gaming sector was the target of 37% of all DDoS attacks worldwide, surpassing the financial sector. Through these interferences, criminals are in fact able more easily to take possession of user data, and thanks to the exchanges that take place between players, to obtain important profits both by directly accessing bank details and by carrying out purchases and sales of game assets with hacked accounts.
How to protect yourself.
From the company point of view, cyber security is confirmed as a crucial element for the development and growth of the business, while from the point of view of the users, greater awareness of the risks and the adoption of certain precautions are revealed. Safe and unique passwords, even better two-factor authentication, attention to links to click and messages that promise easy earnings or attractive promotions, secure downloads from reliable and official sites, are some of the precautions that can avoid account violations. Another important trick is not to associate the credit card with the game account, so that even in the event of a violation, the criminal would not have access to bank details.
How to protect yourself:
- Set strong passwords;
- Use two-factor authentication;
- Only share information that is strictly necessary;
- Always check the links;
- Also be wary of friends if they ask for confidential information;
- Download only from legitimate sources.