Across the globe, many people have taken up online gaming as a new hobby – especially during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Online games like Minecraft and other massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) allow you to escape from everyday life’s realities in a socially-distanced environment. Unfortunately, there are still some threats that lurk on the web and target gamers directly.
By being aware of some of the most common security issues for online gamers and how to protect yourself, you can reduce your risk of falling victim and continue to enjoy your favorite online games.
Security Flaws in Gaming Platforms
Steam is a popular third-party gaming platform that allows users to enjoy access to thousands of online games in one convenient place. Unfortunately, not all gaming platforms (Steam included) are 100% secure, and security vulnerabilities can affect users.
For example, in December of 2020, critical bugs within the Steam gaming client had to be patched after remote attackers could crash users’ games and, in some cases, even take over their computers. These kinds of security issues can spring up on any gaming client. Therefore, gamers need to stay vigilant and install security patches and updates on these platforms as soon as they become available.
Phishing Schemes and Attacks
Phishing schemes have been a longstanding problem in the online gaming world for many years. One of the most common types of phishing schemes gamers fall victim to is one that tricks people into giving out their credit card numbers, login information, and other sensitive data. During these attacks, hackers leverage fake websites that are designed to look like trusted gaming platforms.
You put a lot of time and effort into building up your characters and making progress in your favorite games. Unfortunately, character and inventory theft is a genuine problem for gamers. Often, character and inventory theft is carried out through phishing, in-game fraud, and even malware. Gamers can protect themselves by setting up multi-factor authentication on all their online accounts, as well as using strong passwords (and changing them regularly).
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
DDoS attacks have been on the rise (both in frequency and in size/scope) for many years, but we’re beginning to see a specific increase in DDoS attacks being carried out against online gamers. A DDoS attack can cause your gaming server to lag or crash, which can affect your gaming performance or even prevent you from playing your favorite game. The best way to avoid DDoS attacks? Set up a dedicated gaming server with built-in protection.
Malware and Ransomware
Malware and phishing schemes typically go hand-in-hand, especially when carried out against online gamers. Often, gamers are tricked into installing malware and ransomware with a promise of a special “cheat” or another advantage over players in the game.
In general, gamers can avoid these kinds of attacks by confirming that sites are legitimate before entering any credentials. Likewise, gamers should never open unsolicited emails or text message links from unknown senders.