Until recently, games were teenage entertainment. Now everything has changed, and gambling has become a respectable form of recreation. Almost everyone is a gamer. Be it Candy Crush Saga, EVE Online, QuizUp or World of Tanks, it is very likely that in one of these games you play at least ten minutes a day on the way to work or half an hour on weekends.
Maybe you don’t use a computer or console, preferring a tablet, but still play. It is important to know the risks to which each gamer is exposed. Know them and avoid dangerous situations.
Here’s a list of five major risks that threaten every online gamer.
When crooks send you a fake e-mail allegedly from your bank and place a link in the e-mail to your (also fake) site, which is very similar to the site of a bank (or not a bank, but Facebook, Gmail – it does not matter), it is called phishing. The purpose of the phishers is to lure out your access details or credit card details and end up stealing either your details or your money.
This tactic is very effective when attacking gamers. Fraudsters create a fake site of a popular online game and lure gamers to it, offering them “change the password” or “confirm registration”, threatening otherwise block the gaming account. By stealing your account details through a fake site, hackers can change the password on your account and sell your black market gaming account.
Solution: Never click the links in your inbox. Open a web browser, enter the name of the game site manually, log into your account and do all the necessary actions and confirmations inside. You should also use online security, which will prevent you from accessing fake sites.
Almost every game today contains some kind of system for communication between players. Some games can communicate with each other by voice, while others use the good old text chat. In some games such communication between team members is critical. Unfortunately, this tool is often misused. In the heat of online battles, you can often hear rude scolding, or even personal insults.
In addition, games in their mass stimulate competition players, and many people are tempted to humiliate those who have lost the current game. Some players cross all boundaries and constantly bully other players.
Solution: immediately block the bully, do not talk or play with him, report his game nickname to the online game support group. Never share your real name, address or other personal information with other players.
Crooks and cheaters
Trading in-game products outside of the official markets of the game dramatically increases your chances of being cheated. Depending on the type of game and its rules, there are different ways to cheat – some are allowed by developers, some are forbidden. Among other types of cheating, the most dangerous and unacceptable is the use of modified client applications or even bots (automatic players), which allow the cheater to enjoy advantages over regular players.
Also some players use errors found in the game server, and also get an unplanned advantage. Other types of scams are contractual battles with a predetermined outcome, virtual gangs robbing novice players, as well as an online version of traditional, ancient types of scams.
Solution: If the offer sounds too good to be true, it is most likely a “wrangling”. Do not enter into suspiciously lucrative deals with strangers. If you notice a player improving his position in the game too fast, inform the support team. Almost all cheat games have a ban, and violators are permanently “banished”, i.e. blocked access to the game.
Stealing a character or game values
Criminals can target one of four benefits: in-game resources, “pumped” game characters, paid game accounts, or player credit card data as such. The latter is carefully hidden in most games, and cheaters have nothing to catch, but all other data can be stolen in many ways: phishing, malicious applications – thieves passwords, in-game fraud, and so on.
Solution: As the game progresses, you need to be more and more careful with your account. Enable two-factor authentication, use complex unique passwords for the game account and the main email associated with it, use powerful security on your device, and keep in mind phishing emails and other ways to lure your account out.
The better your game character, the better the chance that you will be a personal target for hackers.
Infect your computer or smartphone
Gamers are particularly susceptible to malicious software. In addition to tricks that work with the general audience, hackers can deceive gamers with “game updates” and “game utilities” that help them pass or set up the toy. Malware can be distributed through phishing, in-game messaging, as attachments on gamer forums, and in rare cases, malware can even get into the system of legal updates from the manufacturer.
Solution: The malware mentioned above is the main reason why gamers need to always keep themselves updated with the latest OS and basic software, as well as the most powerful Internet Security solution available to you.