In the age of the internet, online gaming has risen to become one of the most popular pastimes in the world. Over the years, we have seen the emergence of competitive gaming as a niche entertainment in the online gaming industry. Competitive online gaming, commonly referred to as esports (short for electronic sports), is gaining traction in different parts of the world.
Complete with elite teams, professional players, and millions of fans around the world, competitive online gaming has attracted the attention of cyber crooks. As a result, the competitive online gaming industry is now being targeted with malicious campaigns, including:
- MALWARE: Attackers often use ransomware to hold a player’s files hostage and demand payment in return for helping the player recover the digital items. As a victim of a ransomware attack, you may be forced to pay the attackers, especially if there’s an upcoming tournament or qualifying match and you need your locked files to participate.
- DDoS ATTACKS: A Distributed Denial-of-Service attack is the most straightforward malicious campaign an attacker can use to sabotage an esports tournament. Hackers can direct internet traffic to servers hosting esports matches. A DDoS attack can slow connection and increase lag in an event where a fraction of a second can be the difference between triumph and defeat.
- PHISHING: One of the biggest cybersecurity threats in esports and online gaming platforms is phishing. Steam scams are becoming increasingly popular these days. Scammers looking to make a quick back are taking advantage of Steam accounts’ ability to buy and sell expensive digital items for various titles. Beware of fake item trades that don’t lead to the official Steam URL.
Protecting Yourself Against These Cyber Threats
Threats such as DDoS attacks, malware, and extortion are increasingly becoming common in the esports industry. Cybersecurity experts warn that hackers will continue to target the competitive online gaming industry for the next few years. However, there are ways to ensure that we are protected when playing online on esports platforms. Here are a few tips to stay safe on esports platforms:
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an online service that allows you to create a secure connection over the internet. VPN is a handy tool when it comes to online gaming. A VPN can reduce your ping time and improve responsiveness when gaming online — which can be very helpful in competitive online gaming. It encrypts your internet connection, thereby increasing your protection against DDoS attacks. Simply download a VPN for esports platform and improve your online gaming experience.
Many gamers are uncomfortable installing antivirus software on their computers because they are afraid that it will disrupt their gaming experience. But that’s not advisable. Operating without antivirus protection will leave you susceptible to cyber threats like keyloggers hackers use to steal a player’s login credentials, malware that is hidden in illegal downloads, phishing links sent through messaging service, etc. Use reliableantivirus software to avoid being an easy target for hackers on esports and other online gaming platforms.
Protect Your Passwords
Hackers often use keyloggers and other info stealers to target login credentials on esports platforms. A cybercriminal will also employ brute force and other password cracking techniques to compromise your account. A password manager is a software tool designed to help you store and manage login credentials. Password manager apps also come with a password generator tool that helps you auto-generate strong passwords for all your online accounts. You don’t have to memorize all your passwords anymore.
Esports is generating competitive professional teams that attract millions of live audiences around the world. Competitive gaming tournaments are filling our stadiums with pro-gamers playing for prizes worth millions of dollars. The success of the esports industry has attracted the attention of cybercriminals, who are targeting gaming accounts, bank accounts, and other sensitive information. Esports players and fans need to take the necessary precautions to protect their gaming accounts and sensitive data.
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