Cybersecurity and Gaming

April 3, 2024 by
Mark Nash

Gamers haven't been the focus of cybersecurity awareness campaigns for a long time. You mostly hear about cyberattacks on businesses or individuals falling victim to phishing attacks. But gamers are just as vulnerable to cybercrime as anyone else, and with cyberattacks continuing to escalate, that lack of cybersecurity awareness also makes gamers prime hacking targets. The problem is further compounded as the gaming industry expands, with more users, particularly younger users, immersing themselves in virtual worlds. Cyberattacks on young gamers increased by 57% in 2022. Younger gamers playing popular games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite are particularly at risk. They're also often playing on their parents' devices, which frequently hold data that hackers specifically target, such as financial or personal identifiable information (PII). Hackers in video game environments can be after more than PII, as there is also often value in in-game items as well as account credentials. Virtual goods, such as rare skins, weapons, or characters, can and frequently do hold real-world value and can be sold on digital black markets. Additionally, hijacked accounts can be held for ransom, similar to a device infected with ransomware. So, the critical question to answer is, how do gamers of all ages protect themselves and others from cybercrimes?

Safeguarding Your Gaming Experience

Just as with a business setting, effectively combating the rising tide of cyber threats in gaming takes knowledge. Gamers must take proactive steps to protect themselves from potential cyber threats, including parents who need to watch out for younger gamers. Here are some essential tips to enhance gaming cybersecurity.

Strengthen Your Passwords

Perhaps the simplest yet one of the most effective ways to secure your gaming accounts is by using strong, unique passwords. Just like with any password-protected account, avoid using easily guessable passwords like your name or birthday. Your password should use a mix of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and special characters and be at least 16 characters in length, but longer is stronger. Regularly changing your passwords, around every three to six months, adds an extra layer of security. Of course, make sure you never share your password with anyone.

Enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor Authentication is an easy way to drastically increase the security of your accounts. MFA is a secondary, randomly generated password that users use to verify their identity. The MFA password is usually obtained through an authenticator app or text sent to the user's mobile device. Having MFA enabled means that your account can still be protected even if a hacker has compromised your password.

Keep Everything Updated

Whenever a new security update is released for your gaming platform, software, or anything else that helps keep your data secure, install it as soon as possible. Security updates will patch vulnerabilities and protect against known exploits that hackers use to hijack accounts and steal data. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and keeping your hardware and software up to date is crucial in thwarting potential attacks.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection. Using a VPN significantly enhances your privacy by hiding your IP address and adds an extra layer of protection against potential DDoS attacks and other malicious activities.

Stay Informed and Vigilant

In order to best protect yourself, it's important to stay informed about potential risks and the latest cybersecurity threats targeting the gaming community. Having foreknowledge of the latest hacking techniques and security best practices makes it much easier to protect yourself from said hacking techniques. Additionally, be vigilant when clicking on links, downloading files, or interacting with unknown users within gaming platforms. Never share personal information with someone online whom you do not already know.