Norton UK Blog
Online Gaming – Protect your Investment
Of the 7.4 Billion people that inhabit this planet, data compiled by Statista indicates that close to 2 Billion of us indulge in video games; there are now more gamers than the collective population of China and the U.S.
Currently, the most popular online game is League of Legends with an estimated 27 million active players every single day; the average resale value of one of these gaming accounts on the black market is £10-£15, given the number of players, that’s £270 million in potential revenue for an enterprising hacker.
Gaming accounts, even if they were set up free of charge, often have a considerable resale value due to achievements made over the course of gameplay or the availability of personal information tied to these accounts.
Gamers are particularly susceptible to experiencing hacking or theft due to the sheer volume of time they spend online and their usage of peer to peer networks which are often very vulnerable to remote exploits such as denial of service attacks (these disrupt the service or take it offline). Furthermore, peer to peer activations act as servers, subsequently, corrupted files can be shared and spread manually with relative ease, infecting a large number of hosts in a short space of time.
As mentioned previously, many gaming accounts do carry an inherent worth, consequently if you are a particularly successful gamer with many achievements or a large inventory then you could be a very lucrative target for ransomware. Ransomware is a variation of malware that infiltrates the host PC and encrypts your saved games and files, you are then asked to pay your exploiter for the key to unencrypt your files; there is no guarantee you will receive it.
The landscape is changing
The gaming landscape as we know it is changing, EEDAR’s 2015 report Deconstructing Mobile and Tablet Gaming states that Mobile gaming took £25 billion in sales over 2014 and is now on par with sales of traditional console gaming, soon to surpass them.
The 20th Symantec Internet Security Threat Report asserts that of the 6.3 Million apps they analysed in 2014, 1 million were classified as malware and 2.3 million as grayware; this comprehensive set of data was collected from over 56 million attack sensors in 157 different countries.
A recent Nielsen survey found that the average phone has 26 apps while Flurry research indicated that the average U.S mobile owner spends 86% of their time on their device using an app.
Subsequently, more than half the apps on your mobile could be doing harm to your data without your knowledge. The harmful activities that these apps engage in include: Tracking your co-ordinates, recording calls, stealing images from your device, running malware, reconfiguring security and phone settings, generating and sending texts to premium numbers on your behalf, the theft of passwords and usernames for gaming accounts.
If you are making use of any apps at all, particularly on an Android OS, some form of security for your phone is vital to the protection of your sensitive information and the performance of your device.