Why Gamers Should Double-up on Cyber-Security
Data breaches are a reality that everyone should be aware of and take steps to protect from. Time and again, we hear of unethical forces in the world who take advantage of even the slightest vulnerability in digital defences. Our valuable experts in the Cyber-Security industry have long been fighting against these cyber-thieves and malcontents, and they see 2020 and onward as a crucial turning point where this battle might escalate. While financial institutions and big companies are usually the main attraction for hackers, fraudsters, phishers - one demographic might currently be blissfully unaware of their vulnerability: Gamers.
Gamers that are active online are particularly attractive as potential targets for cyber-security breaches. This is because they leave a more consistent digital footprint (which unscrupulous entities are intent on stealing) that can be used for nefarious purposes. This is why it is important for Gamers to be more cautious about their activities and habits during online transactions.
Credential Stuffing: The Key Factor of Gamer Cyber-vulnerability
For the uninformed, a credential stuffing attack is performed by using automation (often bots) that send a massive array of login requests. Unlike the more common credential cracking (which attempts to randomly “guess” the right combination of usernames and passwords), a credential stuffing attack occurs when the source has already obtained access to a database of usernames and passwords from prior data breaches or successful hacking. The credential stuffing then attempts to gain access using this same information at a different site.
This credential stuffing attack experiences a certain probability rate of success, simply because people have a habit of using the same usernames and passwords over multiple accounts and websites. Although the basic reasoning of this is that it is convenient, this also makes people who use this pattern of habit highly exploitable to hackers.
Gamers are Creatures of Habit, Oblivious, and Often Young
Now this leads us to why gamers are a key demographic for credential stuffing. Gamers are often creatures that follow a set pattern of habitual logging in to their accounts, whether it is their email addresses, social media accounts, or even credit card and banking access. Whether this is due to the convenience of it or out of putting priority on speed over security, this does not bode well for the gaming community with regards to cyber-security.
Another potential reason for the lax in protecting data privacy among Gamers is that it is perceived as a “low risk” security concern to protect their usernames and passwords. Many may think one particular account is of low concern - the problem lies when different accounts are sharing the same credentials!
Because of their demographic, Gamers are also particularly prone to “clickbait” - links that may have malicious code. This is a risk particularly for casual Gamers. Just look at how often “casuals” would click and play on social media links that offer a quick fix game that may only be used on condition that you grant authorisation for it to access your profile information. This is a particular issue on Android devices. This small seemingly innocuous request can have deep reaching consequences for data privacy.
Finally, it must be addressed that a significant number of gamers online are quite young. This opens up a whole other area where Gamers are vulnerable to exploitation from corrupt individuals. Because young Gamers with less life experience can be trusting or oblivious to how potentially dangerous their online communication can be without a certain level of foresight, they may inadvertently reveal a significant degree of information to other online players that may not be as trustworthy as they seem. Another ramification of this youthful innocence is the typical use of weak security patterns like easily remembered passwords. As an example, there are a large number of Fortnite players of the younger set who use “fortnite” as part of their passwords!
What Can Gamers Do to Protect from Cyber Theft?
Gamers should be more cautious about their online activities, gaming related or not. There really is no excuse of being oblivious when there is a wealth of information available on how to protect your online identity. If you are a responsible adult Gamer or simply have children that are Gamers, it is your responsibility to teach them on how to better protect their data privacy in a way that they understand. You must all be proactive in developing new habits that favour caution in order to protect your valuable personal information.
One good habit for Gamers to adopt is to always perform a data wipe when it comes time to sell your old gaming unit or spare Hard Drives & SSDs. Use a guaranteed data wipe tool like RedKey USB, because a simple format will still leave fragments of data (or even full files) behind that can be exploited. Even users with the most basic IT skills and tools can accomplish this. You can read more about how this can be done and find out more tips on how Gamers can protect their data here.
Visit the RedKey blog page regularly for more information, news, tips, and tutorials about cyber-security, gaming, data privacy, data destruction, and other related technologies!