Did you know hacking is a prevalent activity even in online gaming? In January 2019, a prominent U.S. security firm reported the results of its survey on security in gaming. The results, however, were a bit disappointing.
The report stated that around 75 percent of gamers think about their security in online games. And rightfully so because cyberattacks are becoming very common in online games. An average gamer will fall victim to around five cyberattacks. Perhaps the reason is these gamers’ practice of reusing passwords across different accounts.
While the outside world sees gamers as just computer users, inside the games, it is a whole different story. It is as if the norms of civilized behavior no longer apply in the online gaming world. So much so that stealing virtual goods and hacking games are quite cool, earning you “street cred.”
And there is a good reason why hacking and stealing are prevalent in online games. Hackers can sell whatever goods they steal; their buyers are other gamers, paying real-world money for the loot. This is why the best game hackers make good money out of the activity.
What Do Hackers Get in In-Game Hacking?
Would you believe video games are now the world’s biggest entertainment industry? Even bigger than TV, movies, music, or books? Plus, video games are inherently a digital medium, which fits perfectly in this digital age.
However, with the rise of its popularity comes a downside. This is where in-game hacking comes in. A lot of gamers entrust so much of their personal information to game companies. And this is where hackers stand to gain as they target the gamers and the video games they play.
So what do hackers gain? How can they earn from hacking?
1. In-Game Currency and Other Virtual Valuables
Just like cryptocurrency, there is a big in-game economy in the gaming industry. While gamers earn virtual money by playing the games, it is a real commodity for them. Even if this currency offers no real-world value.
However, gamers use the virtual currency to purchase in-game items. And these in-game items can fetch high prices using real money in the real world. As long as the game has a strong fan base, its items have value. As it’s seen in Dream League Soccer Unlimited Coins.
Case in point: RuneScape is one of the longest-running games. One of its moderators had 45 billion in-game coins in virtual in-game money. Do you know how much that is worth in the real world? A whopping $100,000.
In addition to in-game currency, gamers also trade virtual items for other virtual valuables. Gaming platforms like Games.lol and Steam lets the players exchange stickers, wallpapers, and other virtual items. And because people can sell them in the real world, there have been lots of cases of hackers stealing them.
2. Data Theft
In-game money and virtual items are not just the things stolen by hackers. Even the players’ accounts have been the target, being the most valuable.
The more personal the data, the more hackers find it more valuable. These include information on phone calls, locations, and even online media engagement of these players. And with the monthly subscriptions and in-game transactions come the financial information in these players’ accounts.
What Makes Gamers Vulnerable to Hacking?
So how do hackers make their attacks? Whether it’s taking over a player’s account or taking a swipe at the virtual wealth, hackers have their ways.
1. Exploiting Weak Passwords
Ideally, there should be one password for each game or platform. However, game companies usually require individual passwords for different games or features. As a result, this leaves the players having to remember many passwords. To avoid forgetting the account credentials, most gamers usually use just one password for everything.
Because password reuse is a common occurrence, a lot of hackers bank on this to access gamer accounts. Add to that is the fact that most players do not update their account credentials often.
So change your passwords often, following the guidelines for password strength. Also, avoid using one password for all games, features, and accounts.
A common strategy used by hackers is setting up a fake login page. By entering their login credentials onto this page, players are giving away vital information to hackers. Another phishing method is sending malicious links. By opening these links, players are providing the information the hackers need to access their accounts.
Most phishing attacks go unnoticed because they don’t result in a full takeover of the accounts. Rather, the hackers simply take virtual valuables under the radar and move on.
Be careful about download applications that offer ways to gain an advantage in the games you’re playing. These apps could be malware, and you could fall prey to malicious hacking attacks. A good anti-virus can also help detect malware.
If you are unsure of it, you can read our post on how to detect and remove malware from your device.
Just like any other software, video games are subject to the same threats and security risks. By acknowledging these aspects of gaming security and taking an active role in avoiding them, you can avoid hacker attacks.
Jonathan J Kingston is a video game enthusiast, gamer, and a veteran video game news writer for Games.lol. He spends his free time hunting for free game sites and testing their reliability.