The experience of the games is wonderful and relaxing, but we really know the computer dangers that lurk there?
Back in the day, in a time without internet, videogames were as simple as plugin your console to the TV and that was it, you were able to play alone or with a friend sitting next to you, but a lot as changed since those times. The exponential growth of the gaming industry has created a demand for the creation of engaging experiences for its users, which has been achieved by the constant evolution of new technologies throughout the years. In a more technological era, internet has become a powerful tool that allows people to take gaming to a higher level, in which game companies have developed ways for gamers from around the world to play, communicate and purchase content via internet online connection in a safe way, generating great incomes due to its production.
Sometimes you can lose more than just the game.
Historically, gaming has become a really big asset in our days, being an industry capable of producing billions of dollars only with the release of one game. Having a community that is continuously expanding, videogames have become a resource of living, but not only for the companies that produce such games, but for gamers who also have found a way to make profit out of playing, and one of the main components that contributes to this fact, is the online gaming experience.
The online gaming allows people from around the world to connect to each other and play, but playing is not the only pleasure that is gotten from this. Streaming videogame channels such as Twitch and Youtube allow people to gain money by uploading content to these channels if they’re popular enough, giving people access to many creators who can enjoy their content.
Along with streaming, other way game companies benefit from their users gameplaying is by the sponsorship of worldwide videogame tournaments which occur in an online platform. These events gather people from around the world to play against each other for big money prizes, events that are also streamed online, allowing gamers to enjoy the overall experience, so when companies make these big investments, they must assure secure platforms that allow these events to happen without having to worry about getting hacked, because online gaming is not as bulletproof as it should.
How does online gaming work?
Downloading or purchasing a game online implies the process of joining or having a platform that will allow you to play. Since there are multiple platforms for this purpose, people can use this connectivity feature in multiple devices, such as game consoles, PCs, smartphones, tablets, etc. These platforms require people to connect to online servers that act as a bridge between people playing with each other. Some of the most important gaming servers are:
- Valve’s Steam
- Microsoft’s Xbox Live
- Sony’s Playstation Network
- Nintendo Switch Online
- Google’s Play Store
Being subscribed to one of these companies allows the person to store its gaming data, servers acting as a cloud storage application and the platform working as a store, making people able to buy digital games and content that can be kept through time. Having multiple devices can make people more vulnerable to have their accounts attacked, which can end in the loss of all the data progress made by playing, or not being able to access to previously purchased games, essentially loosing time and money, which also leads to think to the vulnerability of its servers.
How vulnerable is my account?
Although game companies are usually known by their reliability, accessing to online videogames expose the user to the possibility of being reached by a malware, and there are multiple ways gamers could get hacked in several gaming devices, making data vulnerable to attacks.
Let’s take for example Steam, a well-known PC gaming platform that has been around for several years. They admitted that at least more than 700,000 gamer accounts were hacked monthly, which is a concerning issue for the integrity of its users. It has to be taken in consideration that there have also been reports of Android devices being hacked through game apps too, meaning that cybercriminal activity can show up in your device indiscriminately. Hackers have the tendency of using several methods to gain access to people’s account, like sending malwares disguised as fake e-mails to people, pretending to be the game company, so they can track their credentials or debit/credit card information. This also allows them to get inside the users in-game account, letting them to transfer in-game assets to other accounts and then selling them in the black market for a profit, but other methods of hijacking like keylogging and gaining remote access are used as well.
Another phenomenon that occurs is that cybercriminals gather to hack directly the game company transaction server, which has led to catastrophic outcomes, resulting in data breaches that expose the financial information of thousands of users in a massive scale, which can call into question the security and integrity of the system. These kinds of events can cause law sues to the responsible companies, so the users are not the only ones who should be concerned for these security issues.
How to keep safe my account?
Videogames will keep evolving in time, gamers also will, and the cybercriminals won’t stop either, so it’s important that users and companies take responsibility so the gaming community can continue peaceful. Here you can find a few tips of how to do so:
- It’s online gaming, so make sure you have a protected Wi-Fi connection while playing, so hackers can’t get to your devices and accounts.
- If you receive an odd e-mail, make sure to check its veracity by calling directly the gaming company, this way you are not getting exposed to any malware.
- Make sure you always have your antivirus and security apps operating and updated, giving less space to hackers to reach security breaches that can damage your software.
- Having a backup of your hard drive and phone can prevent the total loss of information via hacking, so you don’t lose all your progress and information from your account.