Peter Griffin, Editor. 16 November 2021, 11:31 am
Video gamers are facing a wave of cyberattacks that is resulting in significant financial loss according to new research from Norton LifeLock.
The antivirus company’s 2021 Cyber Safety Insights Report surveyed over 5,300 adults ages 18+ across eight countries, including 505 New Zealand adults. It found that among the Kiwi gamers, 2 in 5 had experienced a cyber attack on their gaming account or device.
Of the 193 that reported being subject to an attack, 67% reported taking a financial hit as a result, losing $723 on average. The losses can come in the form of stolen in-game tokens or currency, the hijacking or loss of accounts or payments made for gaming cheats or short-cuts that turn out to be fake.
US gamers faced larger losses – $1042 on average, though Norton LifeLock warns that as a “small affluent nation” with an enthusiastic base of video gamers, New Zealand was a prime target for gaming-related scams and cyber attacks.
The games most subject to malware attacks include:
Grand Theft Auto V
Counter-Strike Global Offensive
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare
League Of Legends
Diablo II: Resurrected
World Of Warcraft
In the case of the hugely popular Grand Theft Auto V, Crackonosh malware has been hidden in free versions of the game that’s commonly available on Torrent sites. While it is primarily aimed at surreptitiously using a gamer’s computer processing power to mine cryptocurrencies to benefit the hackers, some versions can also steal gaming account credentials, allowing access to in-gaming credentials and credit card information.
“It’s a double whammy,” says Mark Gorrie, senior director – APAC, at NortonLifeLock.
“Cybercriminals will charge you for a fake cheat and then steal your financial information or logins. In their own words, Kiwi gamers need to ‘get good’ – and avoid these dangers as well as have strong online security software to help stop breaches from occurring.”
Kiwi gamers surveyed admitted to some poor security practices, such as using the same password for more than one gaming account or device (52%), using public Wi-Fi to play games online (39%), sharing personal information (including names and birthdays) while playing a game online (35%), or downloading a cheaper or free version of a game from a website not associated with the game distributer (30%).
Read the full results from the Harris Poll commissioned by NortonLifeLock here.