Online Video Game Security: Key Figures
The cybersecurity of online games, in numbers.
Safety of MMO-RPGs:
Video games such as MMO (massively multiplayer online) and RPG (role playing games) online are played from a PC. This implies that, in practice, the gamers are exposed to the same risks as any other Internet user: data theft, identity theft, theft of goods and money…
Thus, they have become prime targets for cybercriminals. Akamai, in its Web Attack and Gaming Abuse report, released in 2019, estimates that globally, of the 55 billion credential stuffing attacks that occurred between November 2017 and March 2019 on the Internet, 12 billion targeted online gaming sites.
The United States and Russia are at the top of the list of countries most targeted by cyber-attackers. During the same period, the United States suffered more than 1.4 billion malicious logins. This number almost double for Russia, with 2.7 billion logins stolen.
Internet users are just as vulnerable as everyone else…
Some gamers do have habits that make them particularly prone to be attacked:
- They use the same password for all the online gaming sites to which they are registered (55% of gamers according to Avast).
- Some people mistakenly think that using an antivirus can slow down their performance in the game. This is a common misconception: the impacts of antivirus software are actually imperceptible. The slowing down is of the order of a few nanoseconds…
- Some people buy “cheats”, understand shortcuts to win more easily (or even attacks to make their opponents lose). As we will see in the next article of this series, these “cheats” are sometimes malware in disguise…
For cybercriminals, these habits are all gateways for perpetrating their attacks.
When life gives someone lemons, other makes lemonade…
The theft of password/login pairs remains a great classic on the net, and not only for gamers. This information is often resold for a pittance on the web.
However, sometimes, a player can benefit from someone else’s theft, consciously or unconsciously. “Hackers break into gamers’ systems and steal virtual goods. Then they sell those goods to other gamers within the game for real world money,” writes Avast on its blog.
MMO, RPG: our tips for safe gaming
Also according to Avast, three quarters of the gamers say they worry about the security of the games in the future. However, there are some very simple practices to protect yourself from cybercriminals. Note that some of the following tips apply equally well to Internet users who do not play online. They are as follows:
- keep your operating system up to date;
- use antivirus software and keep it up to date;
- do not disable game security features;
- use a secondary email address to play (not linked to any bank account and/or other sensitive sites for example);
- choose complex passwords or use strong authentication software;
- do not buy cheats, coins or virtual items (if you want to take the risk anyway, at least, read the comments carefully and make sure the seller has a good reputation).