Call it a cliché, but it is said that money attracts good and evil. This is especially true when we look at the rapidly expanding world of Esports. Never a day passes without a story about a coordinated hack attack on an Esports entity, be it a gaming company like Blizzard or an individual player who plays occasionally.
A TrendMicro cybersecurity report reveals the apparent fact regarding the now lucrative Esports and rising interest from the wrong side of the internet- hackers, and cybercriminals. If you don’t get hacked, then you’ll probably be cheated out of your money. Imagine waking up one day and finding all your online wallets emptied, and your esports accounts inaccessible or deleted. Such is the level of danger now presumed to be lurking in the world of Esports.
Let’s look at some of the most common cyber threats facing Esports fans and players.
Persistent threats- coordinated hacking
For players, teams, and gaming companies, the cybersecurity threat is as real as it gets. There have been reports of persistent and coordinated cyberattacks targeting digital platforms like Steam, ESEA, EA Sports and pretty much every other gaming company out there. Ominously, most of these attacks have been successful, such as the E-Sports Entertainment Association League hack.
With millions of dollars at stake and stadiums filled with Esports fans, there is every reason for hackers and thieves to pitch tents and do what they do best.
Another common threat in the Esports industry is the old man-in-the-middle attack. This mostly happens when players or fans connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot in an event or hotel. With a lot of transactions having to be done on digital platforms like Steam, it is very easy for hackers to try and intercept your communications and steal critical financial data.
Man-in-the-middle attacks can be effective if the victim and the attackers are connected to the same Wi-Fi network in an Esports event or meetup. For the longest time, stealing data on public networks has been a hacker’s favorite and most convenient way to launch attacks.
Phishing attacks getting better
There is a growing concern among cybersecurity experts on the number of phishing attacks being dished out against individuals perceived to be substantially invested in digital platforms. By far, real estate agents, lawyers, and online gamers seem to be the softest targets for modern phishing attacks.
In the past, a phishing attack would involve a newbie hacker/scammer blasting a bunch of emails hoping to get one victim out of a thousand. Today, new OSINT tools and techniques have made it possible to get as much information about the victim as possible and launch a targeted phishing attack. Almost every high profile esports player out there has received a phishing email in the recent past.
What esports players and fans need to do for safety online
Some of the measures you can take at and individual level to protect yourself online include:
Use a VPN- always encrypt your communications
It’s the most common piece of advice you will get, but it never gets old or less effective. A VPN for gamers is like an armored van for cash transporters. It encrypts all your communications, tunnels it through a secure network, and ultimately protects it from attacks.
A VPN is also a powerful tool for gamers as it can reduce ping. When you connect to a VPN server closest to the game server, delays and latency can be reduced. This can give gamers an important advantage.
Install security software
In addition to a VPN app, you’ll need the essentials as far as personal security goes. Get an up-to-date antivirus software with internet security. Do not be complacent about the level of security your device originally offers. Choose a reputable security company that is transparent and trustworthy to protect your device.
Finally- be wise about your online activity
Esports players and fans are seen as ripe targets because of how careless they can be online. Don’t put your credit card information on multiple digital platforms, avoid hacked games and illegal mods. By being wiser while online, you will avoid the most common cyber-attacks out there. Be safe!