The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a surge in gaming, providing an escape for millions of people. However, along with the increase in gaming comes a rise in cybercrime. Cybersecurity firms have reported a significant increase in cyber attacks targeting both game studios and players since the start of the pandemic.
Web application attacks, which exploit vulnerabilities in online programs such as mobile games, have seen a 167% increase from May 2021 to April 2022 compared to the previous year. Additionally, there has been a 13% increase in malicious software attacks on games in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
These attacks can have severe consequences for both gaming companies and individual players. Gaming companies can lose valuable data and experience temporary game shutdowns, while players can lose their in-game progress, money, and even personal information.
One victim, Jessica Geoffroy, experienced the consequences of a gaming hack. She received numerous notifications from friends questioning why she was still sending messages on Steam, a gaming platform, after she had gone to bed. Unable to log into her account, she realized she had been hacked and feared for her personal information. Fortunately, she was able to reset her password, but the incident left her feeling vulnerable.
The gaming industry’s vulnerability to cyberattacks is partially due to developers prioritizing speedy game development over creating secure software. Moreover, the rising popularity of microtransactions and cheat codes has opened the door for scams and fraud. Some fraudsters specifically target small in-game purchases, taking advantage of the sheer volume of transactions hoping that the small amounts won’t raise suspicion.
Criminal actors also use fake cheat programs to disable a player’s computer and steal their information. This type of attack can have a significant impact, as thousands of people have been affected by such programs.
As the gaming industry continues to expand and more young players enter the gaming ecosystem, cybercrime is likely to increase further. With the potential for substantial financial gain, it is crucial for game studios and players to prioritize cybersecurity measures to protect themselves from these threats.