Cybersecurity Tips for a Happy National Video Games Day | Webroot

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This year more than others, for many of us, it’s gaming
that’s gotten us through. Lockdowns, uncertainty, and some
pretty darn good releases
have kept our computers and consoles switched on
in 2020. GamesIndustry.biz,
a website tracking the gaming sector, reported a record number of concurrent
users on the gaming platform Steam for several weeks as the lockdown went into
effect.

According to NationalToday.com,
the authority for such days, video games are an $18 billion industry that trace
their origins to the halls of prestigious educational institutions like Oxford
University and MIT. Not surprisingly given, the nature of our work, they’ve
captured the hearts and imaginations of a good number of here at Webroot. But again,
due to the nature our work, we’re well attuned to video game-related hacks and
scams.

This March, 66 malicious gaming apps were
discovered
to have evaded reviewers and found their way into the Google
Play store. In April, just as coronavirus was beginning to keep most of us
indoors, Nintendo
was breached
and the accounts of more than 300,000 gamers were compromised.
Phishing
attacks
posing as gaming platforms have risen significantly during this
time period.

But too often we hear from gamers that they don’t use an
antivirus. With all the time gamers spend online, especially PC gamers, this is
a big risk. Many of the reasons we hear for not using an antivirus, in fact,
are based on misconceptions.

So, to clear up some of those misconceptions, and to provide
some tips for spending National Video Games Safely, we sat down with
cybersecurity expert and resident gamer Tyler Moffitt to get his advice.

What kinds of security threats do gamers face?

Not running any security is the main one. It’s a big problem
within the gaming community. There are also tailored phishing attempts for
online games where accounts can be worth over $100. The happen on platforms
including Blizzard, Steam, Epic, Riot and others.

Why do cybercriminals target gamers?

They can be a niche target when big things happen like major
game releases. Halo, World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto, and Call of Duty have
all been targets for scams. But PC gamers not running any antivirus solution other
than built-in
or free protection are asking for trouble.

Either by game or gaming type, what tends to be the
biggest target for hackers?

The way most players are infected with actual malware and
not just giving up account info is by downloading game hacks. These are usually
aim bots or other ways to cheat at the game. In addition to making games less
fun for other players, they endanger the cybersecurity of the individuals doing
the cheating. Also, trying to download games for free on torrent sites is just
asking for trouble…or a trojan

Any misconceptions about gaming security?

I’d the biggest one is that all antiviruses today
will cause problems with gameplay. Many players imagine they’ll have issues
with latency, or their frame rate will drop off significantly, and that’s just
not true. While years ago this may have been the case with heavy installation
suites and large daily definition updates, many anti-viruses has changed
throughout the years to do all the heavy lifting in the cloud while still being
lightning fast and accurate with threats. The amount of CPU, RAM and bandwidth
usage of AVs while idle and during a scan are significantly lighter than they
used to be.

What can gamers do to improve online security?

As I mentioned, running an antivirus is essential. There are
lightweight options available that won’t impact gameplay. Also, I recommend enabling
two-factor authentication on all accounts for online games whenever possible to
reduce the risk of falling victim to a malicious hacker.

As a gamer yourself, anything else to consider or personal
best practice to share?

Trying to cheat or download premium games for free, especially
when prompted to by clickbait-type ads, will almost always lead to a scam or
malware. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

See how Webroot compares to competitors in terms of
installation size, scan time, and resource use in in third-party
performance testing here
.

Kyle Fiehler

About the Author

Kyle Fiehler

Copywriter

Kyle Fiehler is a writer and brand journalist for Webroot. For over 5 years he’s written and published custom content for the tech, industrial, and service sectors. He now focuses on articulating the Webroot brand story through collaboration with customers, partners, and internal subject matter experts..

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