Poor password protection makes online gamers prone to hacking

Updated: Jan 25, 2018, 17:35 IST | ANI | New Delhi (India)

As online gaming gains more precedence, gamers are frequently leaving their online accounts vulnerable to hacking attempts, putting their valuable progress, personal data, and income at risk, as per Kaspersky Lab's latest report

Representational Pic
Representational pic

As online gaming gains more precedence, gamers are frequently leaving their online accounts vulnerable to hacking attempts, putting their valuable progress, personal data, and income at risk, as per Kaspersky Lab's latest report.

According to research, over half (53 percent) of people regularly game online, a figure which rises to 64 percent for 25-34 year olds and 67 percent for those aged 16-24. It is also potentially lucrative for cybercriminals, as hacked gaming accounts can be sold on the black market.

Despite this, the report stated that gamers are not doing enough to protect their accounts.

The global games audience ' led by online platforms such as Steam, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live ' is now estimated to be between 2.2 billion and 2.6 billion and is still continuing to grow. This makes the industry a clear target for cybercriminals who are looking to disrupt online operations and gain access to data such as passwords and bank card information, clearly shown by recent attacks on both the Xbox and PlayStation platforms.

With more than half of people now regularly gaming online, cybercriminals have an enormous pool of potential targets to choose from. Successful attacks can therefore be hugely upsetting for those affected.

Of those people who have experienced a successful or attempted attack on one of their online accounts, 16 percent identified their gaming accounts as being a target. Furthermore, as 55 percent of the people can't quickly restore their gaming account details if lost, the distress that accompanies such attacks is significantly amplified.

Gaming has become entwined into many people's everyday lives, as illustrated by the fact that almost one-in-three (27 percent) people regularly use either a smartphone for online gaming. Although devices aren't inherently secure, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of people use public Wi-Fi to log into gaming accounts and 56 percent say they don't take any additional security precautions when using public networks, which presents obvious security risks.

This danger is further enhanced by the fact that just 5 percent of people selected their gaming account as being one of three that require the strongest passwords.

Furthermore, as many online profiles today are connected, victims can easily end up losing access to several accounts - such as email and social media accounts - that are important to them in many different ways.

'With a treasure trove of personal information now available online, cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever to get their hands on user's private data, which they can then sell on the digital black market. Online gamers ' both amateur and professional ' are understandably concerned about having their accounts hacked, or being locked out of their accounts by forgetting their passwords,' said Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.

'This is a dilemma that users face every day, with many choosing the less secure option of using either the same password for all their accounts, or simple passwords that are easy for hackers to guess. However, only by taking appropriate precautions and using strong, unique passwords will users be confident that their valuable accounts are protected and that all their efforts have not gone to waste,' he added.

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