Tags: Cyber Security | fortnite | malware | mincecraft | wifi

Holidays Mean Gamers are Cyber Crime Targets

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Friday, 16 November 2018 03:59 PM Current | Bio | Archive

It's more than fair to say that, if a monetary opportunity exists or a segment of the population is available to be exploited, cyber criminals will immediately pounce like a lion.

Peronsal computing gamers are one of the latest groups of online victims to learn this cruel lesson. With the total market for gaming revenue expected to grow from $137.9 billion in 2018 to more than $180.1 billion in 2021, hackers have seized on the opportunity to turn a fast profit via TeslaCrypt ransomware.

This particular strain of malware was first discovered earlier this year when it was discovered to have targeted as many as 185 different types of user files. Among the estimated 185 file types that TeslaCrypt has the ability to encrypt, about 50 are gaming file types.

Gamers are in many ways the perfect victim for cybercriminals. They are known to invest so much time, money, and effort building their customized personal gaming platforms that hackers find it to be a good bet that many will pay the upwards of $1,000 ransom within the allotted 3 days to free their system and restore its usability.

The education of  users of certain older and more popular titles to the pitfalls of the "dark web" has been going on for years. The well-known staple Minecraft has numerous issues with malware and hackers since its introduction into the market.

Several months ago, almost 50,000 individual Minecraft accounts were discovered to be infected with malware which was distributed by modified character "skins."

These "skins" were downloaded by players from the official Minecraft website.

The fact that hackers were able to upload the malware to the game’s official website without being detected should be a matter of serious concern. This potentially exposes many underage users to a particularly insidious kind of criminal activity.

With the explosion in popularity of games like Fortnite, (recently reporting an astounding 125 million downloads) it seems that the exploitation of gamers for profit is destined to continue to flourish in the near future.

So, what are some of the steps gamers can take to protect themselves?

There are many, but some basic broad stroke protections include:

  • Avoiding public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi exposes you to a shared network where anyone else who is also connected can potentially monitor or capture the traffic to and from your device. A hacker can be sitting just a few tables away at a restaurant or coffee shop — compromising your system.

  • Make your password as hard to guess as possible. Avoid the pitfalls of using "password," "Password123," "123456" and other poorly thought out accessibility options.

  • Do not open or respond to "phishing" e-mails that ask you to provide your username and password to receive a supposed prize or financial payout. When you share that information, you are providing your credentials to hackers. Once the hacker can log in under your credentials, they can also change your password, effectively locking you out of your own account.

  • Make sure your computer is equipped with anti-virus/malware protection.

The holiday season is approaching. Americans will spend billions on new PC’s, tablets, and gaming accessories. Carefully following a few simple steps can ensure the protection of your valuable entertainment investment.

Julio Rivera is a small business consultant, political activist, writer and Editorial Director for Reactionary Times. He has been a regular contributor to Newsmax TV and columnist for Newsmax.com since 2016. His writing, which is concentrated on politics, cybersecurity and sports, has also been published by websites including The Hill, The Washington Times, LifeZette, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Toronto Sun and PJ Media and many others. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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The holiday season is approaching. Americans will spend billions on new PC’s, tablets, and gaming accessories. Carefully following a few simple steps can ensure the protection of your valuable entertainment investment.
fortnite, malware, mincecraft, wifi
Friday, 16 November 2018 03:59 PM
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