Defense of the Accounts 2: Tips on safe gaming

Threats Tips

If you understand the title of this post, you are most likely a gamer. And if you are a gamer, you’re probably familiar with Gamescom. For the uninitiated, I’m talking about the massive gaming trade fair in Cologne, Germany, with about 500,000 attendees from more than 30 countries. Gamescom brings together game developers, gamers, journalists, and bloggers, and it’s the perfect place to talk to enthusiasts and professionals from all over the world.

At Gamescom this year, I had the opportunity to speak with several gamers about a variety of things, and, as you might’ve guessed, security was one of the topics. In particular, I was interested in what real dangers gamers face and whether they are particularly concerned about security. The results were, well, mixed.

Most of the gamers I met at Gamescom are aware of almost every kind of threat. OK, that’s good. But surprisingly, they were not concerned. I mean, not at all. They were saying things like “Who in the world would attack me and steal my account?” and “Famous gamers are better targets; nobody wants to steal from me.” That kind of thing.

I’m sorry to be a downer, but: no. No! Those views are completely off. A lot of cybercriminals would be glad to steal your account in Steam, Battle.net, Origin, PSN, Xbox Live, you name it. Everyone who has a gaming account is a potential target regardless of the value of their account. Gaming accounts are sold on the Dark web. The perpetrators care more about the number of accounts stolen than about their quality, so they mostly don’t target specific people; they just bait their hooks and see who bites.

For example, do you remember the World of Warcraft pet scam, where WoW players were offered a free in-game pet? Instead of getting a pet, they gave their account info to criminals. You can read the full story here. It was phishing — plain, simple, and effective.

World of Warcraft pet scam

Another example: Steam Stealers, special malware designed to steal Steam accounts. Valve, the creator of Steam, has admitted that more than 77,000 accounts are hijacked or pillaged every month. Those include not only the accounts of high-profile gamers, but also those of average people who play some DotA or CS for an hour or two in the evening, just like you, me and those guys I met at Gamescom. Read the full story about Steam Stealers here.

We have already shared a couple of tips for gamers on our blog, but we also think the topic is worth revisiting. Of course, it should go without saying — in gaming and elsewhere — that you shouldn’t click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown sources. Here are a few more tips to protect your gaming accounts.

  1. Wherever possible, protect your accounts with two-factor authentication. Here are links for enabling 2FA in Steam, Battle.net, Uplay, and Origin. For others, comb through account settings or, in a pinch, Google it.
  2. Use strong passwords — and a unique one for every account. That way, even if one of your accounts gets stolen, the rest won’t go with it. To make best password practices easier to deal with, check out our password manager.
  3. Use a strong, reliable security solution that won’t slow down your computer while you’re playing, but at the same time will protect you from all possible cyberthreats. We recommend our flagship Kaspersky Total Security (which, by the way, has a built-in password manager). It works smoothly with Steam and other gaming services; however, if you want to ensure that everything is 100% compatible and set up for the best performance, we have a guide for you here.