Esports, short for electronic sports, is a form of competitive video gaming that’s quickly gaining traction in different parts of the world. The growth of the esports industry and the rising demand for esports content has set competitive video gaming on track to becoming one of the most popular forms of interactive entertainment in the world. Although it’s not as prevalent as it is in Europe and North America, the esports industry is taking off in India.
With elite teams, professional players, and millions of fans around the world, the apparent success of the esports industry has caught the attention of cybercriminals. As a result, the competitive online gaming industry has become a major target for malicious campaigns, including:
Phishing is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats in esports and online gaming platforms in general. Steam scams are becoming increasingly popular these days. Scammers looking to make a quick buck are taking advantage of player accounts’ ability to buy and sell expensive digital items for various titles on the popular online gaming platform. Be on the lookout for phony item trades that don’t lead to the official Steam website.
A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is the most common malicious campaigns an attacker can launch to sabotage an esports event. Hackers can direct internet traffic toward servers hosting esports tournaments and matches. A DDoS attack can slow connection and increase lag in an event where a fraction of a second can be the difference between triumph and defeat.
Attackers often use ransomware to hold a player’s files hostage and demand payment in return for helping the player recover the digital items. As a victim of a ransomware attack, you may be forced to pay the attackers, especially if there’s an upcoming tournament or qualifying match and you need your locked files to participate.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the most important security tools you can have in your arsenal. A VPN encrypts your internet connection and hides your IP address to protect your online activity from the eyes of hackers, government, and your ISP.
Many gamers use it to mask their real location and stay protected from DDoS attacks. The app will also help you unlock geo-restricted games and access new releases from regions with early launch dates thereby making your online gaming experience more fun and engaging.
Use a password manager
Hackers often target esports accounts intending to compromise them and lock owners out of their esports accounts. They use password cracking software and info stealers to lift your account credentials and compromise your account.
A password manager helps you generate strong, random passwords and store them securely in the cloud or on your device. Most password managers feature a browser extension that will protect you from keyloggers by allowing you to autofill your login credentials when signing in to your account.
Avoid clicking on suspicious links
Scammers and other malicious threat actors often use various social engineering schemes to trick unsuspecting gamers into giving them sensitive data. Attackers often pose as legitimate esports websites and attempt to trick players and fans into sharing sensitive personal information like their password credentials, banking information, and credit card details. Phishing scams can be executed through email, text messages, or social media. Watch out for official-looking phone calls, text messages, and emails that ask for sensitive information.
Cybersecurity is a major issue in competitive gaming. Given that hackers and other cybercriminals always follow the profit, this is expected. With revenues exceeding $1 billion and audiences of more than 400 million across the globe, the competitive gaming industry is bound to be a target. As a player, you need to be aware that cybercriminals will try to steal your personal data or compromise your online gaming account. It's up to you to take the necessary security measures and protect yourself.