As a gamer, you cherish the items you’ve amassed over time—that rare Fortnite skin from six seasons ago, a full set of Tier 20 armor in World of Warcraft, or a Steam account brimming with your favorite titles. It’s also popular among hackers because they can profit from it.
For a long time, hackers have been stealing and reselling online gaming credentials. However, given how many of us have recently resorted to games for entertainment, the recent 400 percent increase in online gaming thievery shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hackers recognized an opportunity as individuals leveled up, earned loot, and loaded their cloud libraries with games.
The opportunity is this: gaming accounts have a monetary worth on the open market. It takes time, effort, engagement, and sometimes good luck to accumulate the virtual objects and rewards we earn through gaming. In some ways, we’ve worked hard for our enjoyment. Others, on the other hand, are willing to take a shortcut. Some people are eager to pay for a well-stocked gaming account that has been built up by someone else, and hackers are more than willing to steal funds from unwitting victims and sell them online.
Put another way, the virtual items in your gaming accounts are just like any other item. They have worth, and they’re worth safeguarding, just like anything else you cherish. That’s precisely what we’ll assist you with here.
1. Markets that are regulated
As a player, you’re probably aware of the several sanctioned auction houses and marketplaces incorporated right into online games, all of which are established and supported by the game’s makers. The long-running auction house in World of Warcraft, where players can purchase and sell goods using the game’s in-game currency, the World of Warcraft gold piece, is a typical example. And, as far as marketplaces are concerned, the rarer and more coveted an item is, the greater the seller can ask for it. In reality, there are numerous articles on how to benefit from the markets in a quasi-stock market-like manner while remaining within the game’s legal parameters.
2. Cash “boosters” and other services in the grey market
Because of the time, it takes for a player to level up a powerful character and get the things that come with it, there are groups outside of the game that will do that work for a charge. Essentially, a player creates a gaming account, creates a character, and then transfers the version to a “booster” who will play the game on the owner’s behalf. The booster returns the surface to the owner after the agreed-upon level is attained.
3. Theft of gaming accounts and commodities on the black market
There’s also the theft and selling of online game accounts, which are clear examples of digital products being traded unlawfully. Hackers that have hacked previously valid accounts and packaged them up for sale sell stolen funds on dark web marketplaces and adverts on chat platforms and social media. Cybercriminals have been known to sell complete game collections, such as online gaming platform accounts where users have paid and have access to dozens of games saved in the cloud.
Keeping your online gaming account safe from hackers
You have a lot of options. A few easy efforts on your side can put some big barriers in the way of a hacker trying to break into your account or defraud you.
1. Passwords, passwords, passwords
Your accounts should have a strong and distinctive password, and there will be no repeats. That sounds like a lot of work if you have sixty or more accounts across your shopping, banking, gaming, and forum posting accounts, not to mention your apps.
2. Have you heard of a data breach? Make a new password.
Data breaches are becoming more common, affecting both large and small firms. If you have an online account with a company or organization that has been hacked, change your password. Make sure the passwords on all of your other accounts are strong and unique. Hackers frequently attempt to breach credentials on additional charges in the hopes that the victim is using the same or a similar password across many accounts.
3. Make your defense multifaceted.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security feature several gaming providers offer. In addition to requiring a login and password to log in, MFA confirms account activity by sending a unique code to an email address or text message to a device you own, making getting unauthorized access much more difficult for hackers. Some gaming platforms, such as Blizzard’s Battle.net Authenticator, even have their authentication app. Overall, the extra clicks required by MFA can save you a lot of time and money by preventing theft. If MFA is a possibility, you should highly consider using it.
4. Don’t give the phish anything to eat
Phishing attempts have expanded beyond email to include fraudulent adverts on social media and search results. In simple terms, a phishing attack consists of a hacker impersonating a well-known firm or organization to trick you into supplying your username and password. They can use this to drain your account, whether for money or products in your gaming account. Because some hackers can make the phishing emails and sites they use look authentic, spotting phishing assaults requires a keen eye these days. Web protection is a comprehensive internet safety software feature that may detect bogus links and sites and warn you away from them, even if they appear to be legitimate.
5. Keep an eye out for “spearfishers” as well.
Spear phishers are unique in that they attack with greater precision. A spear phisher will send a direct message to specific, possible victims, unlike a phisher who will send out an email blast or try to entice many victims with an ad. You may have seen or heard of this in massively multiplayer online games. An otherwise unknown player sends another message with a link to a good website loot, in-game currency, or character leveling services. Ignore and avoid clicking on the link. It’s likely a fraudster, or at the very least someone who is violating the game’s user agreement by providing such services.
6. Malware and mods
Choose a reliable online store or source whether you’re downloading a mod, an expansion, or a new game. Hackers will insert malware into various files and apps, including games. Malware like this can track keystrokes to steal login information, insert ransomware code to encrypt your device and data or wreak havoc on your files and items. It can affect more than just your gaming accounts and virtual possessions.
Hackers are well aware that gaming accounts are lucrative. Otherwise, they wouldn’t bother with them. The first step in safeguarding your gaming account is to recognize its worth.