Are Online Gamers and eSports Fanatics at Risk of Cyber Attacks?

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The online gaming industry is currently one of the richest, popular, and lucrative industries in the world. It is no wonder that online gaming has become a new target for cyber-criminals attacks. Hackers and online criminals seem to be quite interested in taking “their” share of the industry that is supposed to be worth US$153. 3 billion by 2027.

The online gaming market with 2.7 billion gamers and tons of games accessible via the internet helped form a new type of cybercriminals. Furthermore, the target of these criminals are esports fans and online gamer communities.

Attack on Steam

The cyberattacks through credential stuffing and phishing attacks are attacking gamers all around the world. Moreover, it happened more than once that streaming entertainment platforms such as Steam issued a security warning for millions of users. The history of cyberattacks on Steam was marked with various different breaches and malware attacks. And they seem to be evolving with time.

There were around 120 million monthly Steam users in 2020 and the platform even reached a record peak of over 21 million concurrent users near the end of the same year. Besides, this platform is not only providing games and patches to players, but it is also a great market for trading in-game assets. This is precisely why the Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity experts were concerned by the development of malware that was specifically designed to target Steam.

And as they said, “ It is all fun and games until someone’s Steam account gets hijacked”. The Steam Stealer malware statistics claim that almost 77,000 Steam accounts are hacked into on a monthly basis. Moreover, Kaspersky’s expert found more than a thousand different active malware types. As Santiago Pontiroli and Bart P said this has made the gaming environments turned into a devil’s playground.

eSports Issues and Cybercrime

In addition, the booming of the eSports industry has also caught the attention of cyber-criminals. According to Statista, the worth of the global eSports market was over 950 million U.S. dollars – making it more than interesting to cybercriminals.

Besides the eSports betting market that has been growing gradually has reached incredible digits in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. To be precise, the sports betting market revenue estimated at $85 billion in 2019 was disrupted in 2020 as all sports events were canceled and many sportsbooks including Fox Bet suffered. However, people never stopped betting and the true betting fans only switched to wagering on eSports.

The eSports betting industry seems to be growing even in 2021, as sports betting is at an all-time low due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Strict social distancing rules in the world of sports are costing the industry more than just the audience presence. It is even anticipated that the eSports betting turnover will be high as 30% of punters have placed a wager on eSports in the first three months of the pandemic. It is anticipated that the market is going to generate $862m in revenue by 2024.

How Big is the Problem?

The ESEA attack in 2017 was one of the biggest attacks on this online gaming community. With 1,503,707 profiles hacked the damage to players and gaming enthusiasts was huge. The sensitive information that was hacked left room for further cyber-crime attacks and social attacks.

 

The global cybersecurity industry will have to face these challenges and create new solutions to cybercriminal problems. First of all, they will need to overcome the buy-in of security practices in companies and organizations. The main issue is the fact that many of the professionals, executives, and individuals are not aware of how dangerous it could be.

 

This is why some cybersecurity experts such as Connie Stack from Digital Guardian is rooting for incorporating gamification, and making cybersecurity more engaging.

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