Online games and video games are fun. They are a way to connect and interact with others. Many people love playing games, whether on gaming consoles, computers, or mobile devices. But there are dangers of online gaming, including viruses, identity theft, and phishing attacks. Below are the biggest online gaming risks and how you can protect yourself, courtesy of https://www.stellarspins.com/en/online-pokies/.
Malware and viruses
If you try to find cheaper or free versions of your favorite games, then you risk inadvertently downloading viruses and malware instead. This is also the case when you access cheat codes or purchase items through third-party sellers. Even if you download a game legally, a security gap could still place you at risk. Once malware is on your machine, hackers can steal your personal information.
Cybercriminals collect personally identifiable information to build profiles on their potential victims. One of the potential dangers of online gaming with strangers is the chat function which allows you to talk with other players. Criminals can potentially use the chat function to gather sensitive information such as your name, phone number, and house address. That’s why it’s essential to be careful about the information you share when gaming.
If you use the same username and password for all your favorite gaming platforms – which is not recommended – then if hackers get hold of your credentials, they can access all your accounts and potentially take them over. Sometimes hackers use brute force attacks – this involves using automated scripts to try to break into your account using credentials they have stolen from other sources.
Swatting and doxing
If hackers get hold of your personal details, they could publish your home address or phone number online – an act known as doxing. The purpose of doxing is to punish, intimidate, or humiliate the target. There are numerous reasons behind doxers’ actions – including having fun online and not appreciating the harm they inflict, exacting justice (often mistakenly), revenge, jealousy, harassment and even profit. Doxing is something that can happen once and disrupt a person’s life entirely, without them ever foreseeing it. Even worse, there have been game-related examples of swatting – which is when criminals send law enforcement to your address by reporting a fake emergency in an attempt to intimidate you.
Gamers can sometimes be targeted through spyware schemes, especially if they are dealing with an untrustworthy online gaming operation. Spyware monitors a person’s online activity without their knowledge. If this information is recorded, it can then be sold to third parties, causing a breach of privacy.
Hackers can attack games’ publishers directly. If they gain entry to a publisher’s systems, they can steal a wealth of information – everything from the source code to the games themselves to the personal information stored in users’ accounts. A notable example was the Zynga data breach, which saw the login information (usernames, passwords, and email addresses) for players of Draw Something and Words With Friends stolen by hackers. Over 172 million accounts were affected, making it one of the most significant data breaches of all time. This, however, doesn’t happen to online casino in the United States as they are backed with high-level of security technology
Older gaming platforms might use insecure methods to process your login credentials. This leaves them vulnerable to a hacking technique called cross-site scripting (XSS), enabling criminals to intercept and steal those details.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks occur when hackers attempt to overload gaming servers, causing a crash that takes the service offline. This doesn’t involve stealing user data but is still an annoyance to users – and the downtime and recovery time can be costly for the game’s provider.
Phishing emails or phishing links distributed through the chat during online gaming can be another way hackers deceive people into installing game malware onto their machines. For example, the emails or chats may appear as though they come from legitimate srouces, inviting you to download bonus content or access a login page. In reality, the emails are fake and have malicious intent.
Sometimes, gamers can experience abuse from other players. As well as attempting to humiliate their victims, cyberbullies may also try to manipulate their targets into disclosing personal information which they can use against them.