While gamers have not historically been a target of cybercriminals, cyberattacks on gamers are on the rise. Malicious actors seek to exploit vulnerabilities in the digital realm and with over three billion gamers, or nearly 40% of the world’s population, gamers have become an attractive target for cybercriminals. Younger gamers playing Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite are at the most significant risk and with youth often utilizing their parent’s devices to play virtual games, the personal data stored on these devices is also at risk.

So, what are some of the reasons gamers are a prime target?

Stolen Credentials and In-Game Items
The prospect of acquiring valuable in-game items is a top reason gamers have become a target of cybercriminals. Also, obtaining account credentials is a key motivation for the person executing a cyberattack on a gamer. Virtual goods, such as rare skins, weapons, or characters, hold real-world value. Hackers exploit weak passwords and security loopholes. This allows them to gain unauthorized access to user accounts. Once they do, they pilfer these desirable items for their own personal gains.

Ransom Attacks on Gaming Accounts
Ransom attacks have become increasingly prevalent in the gaming world. In these instances, cybercriminals gain control of a user’s account and then demand a ransom for its release. Hackers often demand ransom in untraceable cryptocurrency. Gamers may follow the hacker’s demands, as they do not want to lose a meticulously curated game profile or their progress and achievements.

Disruption of Online Gaming Services
Beyond individual attacks, hackers are now targeting gaming platforms. Their intent is to disrupt online services. They launch DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks to overwhelm servers. This renders them inaccessible to legitimate users.

This frustrates gamers. But can also have severe financial repercussions for gaming companies. They are challenged with the costs of mitigating these attacks as well as the potential revenue losses.

How can gamers protect their gaming experience?

Utilize Strong, Unique Passwords
One of the easiest and most effective ways to secure your gaming account is by using strong, unique passwords. Avoid using easily guessable passwords by incorporating a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Regularly updating your passwords adds an extra layer of security.

Enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor Authentication is a powerful tool that adds significantly to security. MFA users verify their identity through a secondary method, such as a code sent to their mobile device. Enabling 2FA greatly reduces the risk of unauthorized access even if a hacker has compromised your password.

Stay Informed and Vigilant
Be aware of the latest cybersecurity threats targeting the gaming community. Stay informed about potential risks. As well as new hacking techniques and security best practices. Additionally, be vigilant when clicking on links or downloading files. Be extra careful when interacting with unknown users within gaming platforms.

Keep Software and Antivirus Programs Updated
Regularly update your gaming platform, antivirus software, and operating system. This will patch vulnerabilities and protect against known exploits. Staying up to date is crucial in circumventing potential attacks.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection. This enhances your privacy. It also adds an extra layer of protection against potential DDoS attacks. As well as other malicious activities.

The gaming community is large and can be incredibly entertaining. If you are a gamer, please be aware of the potential risks that you face and take steps to address them!