Online Video Games And Their Cybersecurity Risks
This, of course, is also true for PC gamers, where the landscape has been drastically altered with the rise of digital game-purchasing platforms like Steam. And although they have not disappeared completely, the days are over where the only way to play your video games was to have to buy physical discs, as well as those old internet connections that made it impossible, in most cases, to play in real time. And following the trends of the computer industry, consoles have slowly been emulating it, first incorporating online gaming with their own dedicated servers and paid services, later selling the right to download a video game without the need for a disc, reaching the generation of consoles that is about to see the stores.
The latest evolution of the game on PC has walked towards the trend of platforms like Netflix. Promoted by companies like Google, Amazon and Apple, new services seek to sell a subscription to play a temporary catalog of video games that, like streaming movies, you can only access as long as you continue to pay for the service. And where there is money and data management involved, there is the possibility of arousing the interest of cybercrime. What risks exist in these new platforms? When it comes to cybersecurity, which is better, console or PC?
The Enemies Out Of The Game
The popular saying “cheap is expensive” applies perfectly to computer video games. Unlike consoles, which have a more closed operating system, 90% of the world’s computers run versions of Windows, making it much easier to attack or intervene with malware. And by downloading clandestine software to avoid paying for a game, users find themselves in a dangerous landscape where 63% of files match malware sections of some kind, according to Daniel Tenorio, a cybersecurity expert for ESET.
A large number of online games introduce a system of digital currency that can be earned within the game by performing various feats. Outside of the platform itself, there are sellers of virtual currencies that, being transferable in games, can be exchanged for real money. Many of these users are simply looking to make a business out of these games, although there is also a significant amount of risk in coming into contact with these services, leading us to possible unwanted raids on our personal information, or simple scams.
All these risks can be avoided by playing on a console, since by having more closed systems, they in turn limit the possibilities of cyber attacks. However, we must not forget that they are not infallible; the multiple hacks that the servers of the most important companies have suffered, as well as the possibility of being affected by a “Man in the Middle” attack, reminds us that even playing on the console we must be constantly alert, especially if the users are minors old.
Let’s also not eliminate the risks involved in the simple interaction of younger users with strangers through the chat functions that most games provide within themselves or on external platforms such as Discord. Grooming, cyberbullying, and even simple trickery to get information from less experienced users, cybercriminals are not limited to the impersonal damage created by malware.
Given the new panorama that gives increasing prominence to digitization and electronic payment options, let us never forget the importance of enabling all available cybersecurity measures, from antivirus and firewall to a VPN to make it difficult for a possible hacking of our network.
In these new business models promoted by the world’s largest companies, cybersecurity must be a central focus. Moving away from physical games has made it easier for the consumer to acquire the games, allows for continuous updates by developers, and the ability to stay relevant longer in the market. With these advantages, developers and companies must guarantee the shielding of the new modalities in the cloud for consoles and computers.