How to protect yourself against cyberattacks that plague the gaming industry

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Life has become much more remote for many people, and many of us have taken up gaming as a hobby. With more people at home gaming, more people are now vulnerable to cyber threats, making the industry more attractive to hackers. In this two-part blog series, ESET UK has gathered information on how to keep the best secure online, what to do if you think you’ve been hacked, and we’ve looked at some of the most significant cyberattacks on gaming companies in recent years.

First, let’s look at the best way to protect yourself online and what to do if you think you’ve been hacked. Cyberattacks vary, ranging from stealing company secrets for ransom or auctioning on the dark web to copying personal details of consumers and employees. When a hacker successfully takes possession of gamers’ personal information, that gamer is at risk of identity fraud, theft and ransomware attacks. However, the appropriate home internet security can make it much more difficult for these criminals to succeed. 

1. Vary your passwords

The best way to ensure you protect yourself online when signing up for different websites and services is to use a different password for every account you make. While this might feel like a hassle or a chore, there is no better way to protect yourself from the fallout of a data leak. If your passwords are all unique, then having one leaked will not compromise the security of your other accounts. Plenty of password storage systems allow you to use different passwords without remembering them all.

2. Use a second email address.

Another way to nullify the effects of having your data leaked is to use a second email address for specific things, such as having separate emails for gaming, online shopping, and banking. By segregating your online accounts into different categorised email accounts, you will protect yourself from having all of your online accounts compromised by your linked details.

3. Hide your location

Your IP address can roughly reveal your location. If you want to ensure that this information is kept secret in a data breach, you can opt to use a VPN when gaming and setting up related accounts. This means that the IP address the company that has been hacked had on record will be incorrect. Using a VPN for gaming is easy if you play games on a PC. If you game on a PlayStation, Xbox or any other console, the simplest way would be to set it up via your router. This will change the IP address settings for all devices on your Wi-Fi but keep your location hidden.

4. Dedicated bank account or credit card

Use a separate bank account or credit card for online payments. This way, if your data is leaked or stolen, the criminals will only gain access to this sub-account in which you can store a limited amount of money. This is good practice in any situation, as having all of your savings or your entire current account exposed would be potentially catastrophic. This way, you only expose the limited funds you wish to use for gaming, shopping, or whatever you choose.

If you think your account has been hacked, then you can do a few things to protect yourself. 

1. Change your login details

By updating your password and username, you can prevent hackers from logging back into your account with your old login information.

2. Remove any payment details from your account

You should ensure that the hackers cannot spend money on in-game purchases using your payment details.

3. Change your password on other accounts

If you use the same password for different logins, such as email, games or online shopping, you should make sure that you also change your login details for the affected platforms.

4. Contact the gaming company that the account is associated with

If you suspect that your details have been exposed, then the video game publisher might be able to help confirm whether or not this is the case. If your account has been hacked, they can also tell you precisely what data has been exposed. They will also be able to advise on the best course of action for you to take going forward.

These are the best ways you as a gamer can protect yourself online. To demonstrate just how prevalent and dangerous cyberhacks can be in the gaming industry, see our follow-up post detailing the 11 massive video game companies recently targeted by cyberhackers.