The videogame and e-sports industries continue to soar, with players popping all over the world. Online games are not the only blazing topic right now; e-sports tournaments also keep getting bigger, and so do their prize pools. Now, whenever something grows huge, there are always people waiting to exploit it. And, the e-sports and gaming field is no different. As per the 2018 market report, the gaming industry was valued at over $194 billion. This growth, coupled with the money that comes with it makes the e-sports industry ripe for hackers and cybercrime. This is according to a report by Trend Micro.
Entertainment could be an attractive factor, but it’s not always games and fun. E-sports come with safety risks, especially for minors—including cyberbullying, malware, phishing, identity theft, credit card theft, computer viruses, and adult content. Let’s discuss some of these threats in detail.
Hackers use a variety of malicious programs that pose as legitimate apps to turn your machines into zombies. For instance, hackers can infect your machine with keyloggers to trace your keystrokes as you key in the log-in details of your account and convey the outcome to them. The attackers will, in turn, take charge of your account and eventually lock you out. As a result, the player may end up missing out on in-game valuables like ranks and unlocked or purchased items.
Gamers could also suffer from spear-phishing attacks, where they may receive a fake email or text message intended to dupe them into clicking a link or sharing sensitive information. By just clicking on the provided link, the gamer ends up installing malware on their devices
Many kids find online gaming enticing because it gives them a chance to escape from real life. But, some gamers use this namelessness to torment other players by intentionally making the game less pleasant for them. This may include “kill stealing,” where griefers capture or conquer the required quest targets before other gamers can get to them.
There are instances where grief spirals to cyberbullying. While cyberbullying takes many forms, some forms are specific to gaming platforms. There are cases where cyberbullies target gamers directly with malicious and hurtful messages or spamming global chat avenues with diminishing comments about their victims.
Online gaming makes it possible for people to build different kinds of relationships. In this case, the predator may become the minor’s defender, ally, or teammate. Predators form a connection with the younger players based on some common experiences such as winning a tough match and influence them to progress into more personal territory. In most cases, the predator seeks to isolate the child from other people by posing as the “only person who really gets them.” These relationships may culminate into inappropriate webcam chats, text messages, and later into face-to-face encounters that may lead to sexual exploitation.
How Parents Can Help Their Young Gamers to Stay Safe
Client owners and digital distribution companies must take security seriously by consulting with cybersecurity experts and taking care of their service. But, we cannot entirely depend on them; we have to look for ways to protect ourselves. As a parent, here’s how you can ensure your child stays safe while gaming online.
- Install a gaming VPN to help them remain anonymous even while playing.
- Enable 2-factor authentication on the PC and always keeping the software up-to-date
- Talk to them about online security and keeping tabs on their gameplay closely
- Educate them on phishing and other link-based scams; let them know that they should avoid opening any suspicious links
- Educate them on good password-use practices like not reusing passwords and using a password manager to generate a more complex password.
The gaming industry poses various security risks that may have huge repercussions, especially on young players. As a parent, you need to think about online security before allowing your kids to play these games. It’s good to go beyond discussions and monitoring and regularly play with your children so that you can experience these issues first-hand and know the best ways to deal with them.