Be it thanks to our hectic way of life, which favors mobile games, or our ever-growing need for more digital entertainment, the online gaming industry has experienced some staggering growth in the past few years. But as more and more people turn to gaming, hackers have found a unique opportunity to identify and target potential victims. What are the main risks that gamers face – and how can they stay safe online?
Beware of Malware
One of the most important aspects of gaming is that players often have to sign up on a platform in order to access the game. This is especially true with online multiplayer games, and further risks arise when gamers have the option for in-game chat. In this kind of gaming, a user’s true identity is shielded behind their username – which makes it the perfect ground for malicious cybercriminals to roam free. Be wary of any players asking you for personal information or urging you to click on links in order to download alleged “cheats”, as these may contain spyware or ransomware. With so many attacks recorded across the globe in the past couple of years, KnowTechie has identified malware as one of the leading cybercrime sectors that are set to grow in the next few years reaching $11.5 billion in damages, as traditional defense tools will prove insufficient in terms of protection.
Whenever there’s money involved, criminals will always take notice. Aside from handling millions of dollars each and every day, today’s online casino sites pay out prize money and offer cash-based promos. In simple terms, these platforms are financial hotspots that could easily fall hostage to cybercriminals if the right protections weren’t in place. As a consumer, you need to practice vigilance at all times. If you receive an email that looks as though it’s from a gaming operator but you don’t recognize the sender’s address, it’s likely a phishing scam.
Naturally, gaming operators are also working to keep you safe at all times. To protect consumers from onsite nasties, online casinos use SSL encryption technology. A top tip for determining the security credentials of a site is to scroll down to the bottom of its homepage.
For example, SkyCity online casino is licensed and regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority. This organization oversees its business activities and ensures that its security protocols are up-to-date and its games are fair. Beyond that, a list of recognized payment providers, including Visa and Skrill, are listed on the homepage. Looking at the gaming grid, live casino games such as Dream Catcher and Immersive Roulette provide an immediate form of feedback. In other words, you can see the action play out in real time on real tables with real people. That, combined with strict operating policies, is how online casino gaming sites keep you stay safe when you play.
Last but not least, leading cybersecurity firm McAfee advises gamers to watch out for free-to-play games. Cybercriminals often send out malicious links or fake apps that are made to resemble real and popular free games. Once the player starts downloading, they inadvertently execute spyware or viruses that can have devastating ramifications. As McAfee reports, over 2.6 million gamers on Android-powered platforms downloaded counterfeit Minecraft apps, which enabled hackers to gain unauthorized access to their devices. There is even specialized ransomware, like TeslaCrypt, designed to attack gamers in particular.
Being careful about the information you share and suspicious about the motives of other players sending you shady links, as well as keeping your device updated and with specialized cybersecurity software installed can work wonders in protecting you when you play your favorite games.