Video games are interesting, certainly far from your virtual rivals, real hackers have fun getting their hands on your data or accounts where the big bucks are.
Whether you’re playing free or paid online games, there are potentially hundreds of dollars in fees on your Fortnite, PUBG Lite, or Overwatch accounts, according to NordVPN’s website. Hacking most accounts isn’t too difficult because many players don’t take basic cyber security precautions. Once hackers take over your account, they:
- listen to your game chats and read your chats.
- enter your login information to access other accounts (eg social media);
- take your contact information to chip you and thus obtain more information from you;
- sell your information on the underground internet;
- obtain your payment information to buy virtual currencies, send them to the attacker’s account and then resell them on the game platform or on the Internet;
- use your account for money laundering.
How do hackers get into your account?
That Minecraft or Roblox account you created years ago before you had a decent knowledge of cyber security is probably protected by a weak password. Easy to find in a few attempts using the tools provided to hackers, such a password remains the main disadvantage of connecting.
A hacker only needs your username or email address to launch an attack. Then a robot (program) will do most of its disruptive work.
Worse, if you reuse your passwords, the hacker will likely try to reuse the same login information on other platforms, such as your bank or email accounts. This is called a credential stuffing attack.
Data breach attack
Data breaches and leaks are another goldmine for hackers. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to protect yourself, as it depends on the cybersecurity of the company that stores your data on their servers.
If it stores your passwords, there’s a good chance they’ll find their way underground and into the hands of a hacker.
Malware or cross-site scripting attack
Cross-site scripting is another type of attack widely used by hackers to steal your login information. How does this work? Some website servers do not re-authenticate each time they exchange data. Hackers use this vulnerability to inject scripts into a website’s user interface, which can then be used to steal the information you enter on that site.
Tempt you with fake games
Hackers may also try to trick you into downloading malware. For example, if you want a game that is not released in your country, you may decide to download it from a P2P website. Hackers know which games are popular and can use them as bait. Don’t be tempted to download malware that looks like a new game release.
Phishing can also be used to trick you. For example, Fortnite players have been tricked into clicking on links posted on gaming forums that offer them virtual tokens and other free or discounted items. In fact, these links were part of a cross-site scripting attack that allowed hackers to hack players’ accounts.
Ways to protect yourself
The tools to protect yourself from hackers are both simple and effective.
Use complex and long passwords. Use a password manager as these are impossible to remember.
Enable 2FA or two-factor authentication. So it will be doubly difficult to access your game account or email account. What would happen if someone managed to hack one of your accounts? Hackers need physical access to your phone to get the second verification code.
Know how to recognize phishing attacks. The easier it is for you to recognize them, the better your chances of not falling into the trap.
Use a virtual private network (Virtual Private Network [VPN]) offers you a private communication channel that uses the infrastructure of a public network, usually the Internet, to transmit data whose ends are mutually authenticated and protected using encryption techniques.
This method will encrypt your traffic and hide your IP address from all hackers and snoopers. It will also protect you from DDoS attacks and bandwidth throttling from ISPs.
Good VPNs are paid subscription services. The best ones are fast, have multiple servers in major cities, and work on all your devices, whether they’re Mac or Windows computers, iOS or Android phones and tablets.
To give you an idea of the price, my subscription cost me $115 for two years.