1.1mn web attacks exploited the gaming theme worldwide in April 2021

An image of Gaming Web Attacks, Cyber Security, 1.1mn web attacks exploited the gaming theme worldwide in April 2021

Kaspersky identifies how gamers can safely enjoy playing, whilst staying safe from cyberattacks.

In 2020, as countries around the world were forced into lockdown, the number of online gamers skyrocketed. In fact, by the end of March 2020, the number of both active users and concurrent users actively playing games on Steam (the most popular online gaming platform, community, and store) reached an all-time record. This record was once again broken in March 2021, with the platform reaching nearly 27mn users.

Naturally, as online gaming has become increasingly popular, cybercriminals have been looking for ways to exploit this trend for their personal gain. In the spring of last year, Kaspersky researchers found that there was a significant increase in the number of web antivirus detections for sites with names that exploit the gaming theme (i.e. names of popular games and platforms): a 54% increase in the daily number of blocked redirects in April 2020 when compared to January 2020. 

Even after lockdowns subsided in the spring, the number of web attacks exploiting the gaming theme continued to rise, reaching an all-time high in November 2020 of nearly 2,500,000. After a decline at the beginning of 2021, the number of web attacks has once again been increasing, reaching 1,125,010 in April 2021, an increase of 34% when compared to March this year.

The number of web attacks exploiting the gaming theme from January 2020-May 2021

As was the case last year, the most popular game used as a lure is Minecraft, although as 2021 continues, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has steadily been overtaking Minecraft as the most popular game used as bait. There was also a major spike in Dota as a lure back in the summer of 2020. The most common threats encountered by these malicious links exploiting the gaming theme were various Trojans (malicious files that allow cybercriminals to do everything from deleting and blocking data to interrupting the performance of the computer) with the malware disguised as free versions, updates, or extensions for popular games, as well as cheat programs.

“There are currently an unprecedented number of gamers in the world—nearly 3 billion—and it’s proven to be a great way to relax against the ongoing disruption. Of course, that does mean cyber attackers will remain interested in the industry, and, given that more and more people are gaming on their work devices, this puts company resources at risk. However, gamers can still safely enjoy playing. They just need to follow basic cybersecurity best practices,” comments Maria Namestnikova, Head of Russia’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT).

READ MORE:

To stay safe from attacks while gaming, Kaspersky experts recommend: 

  • Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible to protect your video-gaming accounts
  • Be wary of any cheats and pirated copies of video-games, since it’s one of the favorite lures used by cybercriminals
  • Use a strong, reliable security solution that won’t slow down your computer while you’re playing, such as Kaspersky Total Security. It works smoothly with Steam and other gaming services.
  • It’s safer to buy games only on official sites, and wait for the sales — they take place fairly often, so you won’t be sitting on your hands for long. 
  • Beware of phishing campaigns and unfamiliar gamers. It’s a good option to double-check the website you are redirected to via the link in the received email and the extension of a file you are going to open. 
  • Try not to click on any links to external sites from the game chat, and carefully check the address of any resource that requests you enter your username and password; the page may be fake.

For more news from Top Business Tech, don’t forget to subscribe to our daily bulletin!

Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter

An image of Gaming Web Attacks, Cyber Security, 1.1mn web attacks exploited the gaming theme worldwide in April 2021

Amber Donovan-Stevens

Amber is a Content Editor at Top Business Tech

What will gaming look like when it goes into the...

James Ponter • 08th July 2022

One of the biggest hurdles in cloud gaming is the reluctance of ‘gamers’ to adopt the system, but developers and tech giants aren’t slowing down their move to the cloud. So, what is cloud gaming? How can we expect the landscape to look in a few years? And most importantly, what are the limitations? By...

The cost of living crisis.

TBT Newsroom • 29th June 2022

What Communication Service Providers can do to help their customers cope with the cost-of-living crisis. We’re all familiar with the rip roaring marketing slogans of our U.K. Communication Service Providers – ‘together we can’, ‘The future is bright’, ‘It’s all about you’…but sadly, these no longer appear to ring true for the millions of consumers...

Thriving In The 5G Era.

TBT Newsroom • 26th June 2022

As consumer demand rises, and network availability expands, 5G is becoming more viable for widespread use — by 2027 it’s expected to cover 75 per cent of the world’s population. However, it’s still no secret that 5G uptake is dawdling and many enterprises still aren’t enjoying its benefits.

Why Low-Latency Is So Important.

TBT Newsroom • 23rd June 2022

Consumer interest in 5G technology has been fueled by the arrival of glamorous, speedy handsets such as Apple’s iPhone 12, with 5G networks now rolled out to many towns and cities across the country.