Besides web-browsing and communication, online games are among the most popular Internet activities. Take your pick: easy card games, car racing or glorious adventures. But gaming has also become a big business with many of the most popular online games like the World of Warcraft requiring paid subscription. And with money at stake, cyber-criminals will use every opportunity to get their hands on it.
So what are the biggest threats cyber-gamers are facing?
- Phishing: Fake gaming sites are a flourishing online crime environment. Some of them use very similar URLs to the real ones. There, an unsuspecting gamer can not only get infected with various forms of malware, but can fall into a trap that harvests their personal data, which can be a real financial headache.
- Social networks: As in real life, the rule of thumb is trust only real friends. Many fake and criminal Facebook accounts out there are proclaiming to be legitimate producers of games. You should not make your data accessible to them.
- Infected games and cheating software: You can get infected using cracked or fake computer games. They abuse your gaming passion and are distributed through internet for download. Be extra cautious with e-mail attachments, and of course removable media like USB flash drives.
- Malware: Presently, one of the most widespread malware is Win32/PSW.OnLineGames. This is a family of trojans used in phishing attacks aimed specifically at game-players: this type of malware comes with keylogging and (sometimes) rootkit capabilities which gather information relating to online games and user credentials. Characteristically, the information is sent to a remote intruder’s PC. That is why it is also important that participants in MMORPGs (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games) like Lineage and World of Warcraft, as well as “metaverses” like Second Life, continue to be aware of the range of other threats like griefing ranged against them.
ESET offers tips for safe online gaming
How can a gaming enthusiast stay protected? Here are 5 tips:
- Use updated AV and a security solution with Antispyware and Firewall: ESET Smart Security 5 and ESET NOD32 Antivirus offer a Gamer Mode feature that automatically switches to silent mode to conserve system resources, so users can enjoy playing or concentrate on important work tasks without distractions. Free Release Candidate version of the products is available for download. Please note that ESET Smart Security 5 /ESET NOD32 Antivirus are currently in the Release Candidate phase of testing and may not contain all the functionality envisioned in the product’s final version slated for release mid September.
- Always use different passwords for different accounts and use strong passwords rather than simple ones.
- Type the URL of your online game yourself into the browser or use bookmarks in your browser – you will avoid accidentally clicking on a poisoned link in the search engine.
- Password-protect personal data on your computer or in the cloud if it is not required directly for the gaming experience.
- Never use cracked software, it can be malicious.
“Great performance and no effects on game’s quality: these are the two principal points which matter in the selection of AV software. As an e-sports professional I can say that every distraction can be costly and that is why I trust ESET,” says Marcel „k1llsen“ Paul, e-sports gamer at the top gaming league ESC in Germany. And he is not the only one. According to previously published Steam Hardware & Software Survey, ESET is gamers’ number one choice for paid antivirus. Steam by Valve is a leading platform for PC & Mac games currently with more than 30 million accounts. Overall, ESET was rated the second most popular security solution with 8.81% share and the most used out of all paid security products.