One-third of gamers suffered online gaming account hack

Alex T. | November 24, 2020

Online games are extremely popular nowadays, with over 930 million players globally. However, with popularity comes cyber threats as a growing number of gamer accounts are lucrative targets to cybercriminals.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 38% of gamers have been hacked at least once in the past while playing computer games.

The numbers are based on the data from surveys on abuse and inclusivity in online games by Ditch the Label and Habbo, as well as Jenny Shi.

The surveys reveal that more than one out of three gamers (38%) had their online game accounts hacked. However, that is not the only privacy concern the gamers reported as part of the online abuse.

A total of 34% of gamers also had their personal information shared on an online game without their consent. One gamer recalls multiple instances where someone shared his personal information or photos with other players as a form of attack.

A significant amount of gamers also experience psychological attacks while playing computer games. The number one online abuse concern reported by 64% of gamers was trolling. Trolling is a behavior used to annoy other people intentionally and is considered a weaker form of bullying.

Furthermore, a total of 57% of gamers said they were bullied and subjected to hate speech, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, and disablist language while playing a computer game. A whopping 47% of gamers received threats in the past, while 40% experienced unwanted sexual contact.

Toxicity is the biggest downside to multiplayer games

Many gamers are intimidated by multiplayer games and would rather stick to themselves than have to endure other online players. However, some would reconsider playing multiplayer games if game developers fixed specific problems.

The majority of gamers agree that disruptive behavior is the number one problem of multiplayer games. A total of 33% of male and female respondents believe eliminating toxicity would make them reconsider joining multiplayer games.

Both genders agree that simply improving the game quality would make the overall experience better. Overall, 16% of male players and 18% of females feel it would advance multiplayer gaming.

Some aspects of multiplayer games are more important to one gender than the other. For example, females felt strongly about game violence, with 30% of female gamers and only 10% of male gamers saying limiting violence in games would change their minds about playing multiplayer games.

Males, however, are more concerned about a number of microtransactions. Over one-fifth of males (21%) believe limiting microtransactions in the game would change their minds, while the same is true for only 8% of females.

Both male and female players least care about the quality of game sequels. Merely 4% of male and 9% of female players feel that bettering game sequels would encourage them to play multiplayer games.

Gamers of both genders named more original content, diversity, and inclusivity for special needs players as other desired improvements that would encourage them to go for multiplayer games.

How to protect your privacy while gaming

Playing computer games is entertaining and can help escape from everyday struggles. However, while having fun, it is important not to let your guard down completely, as online games hide many security dangers.

Here are some of the key tips on how you can protect yourself while gaming online:

Download and buy games only from trusted sources - Malicious code can be inserted in a game and used to access your personal information, login details, or financial information. To minimize the risk of catching malware or ransomware from online games, never purchase or download free games from untrusted sources and third parties.

Beware of suspicious links - Cybercriminals might pose as game developers or other credible sources and offer you access to a new game or entice you with another prize, which you can claim by following a link. Beware of such behaviors as clicking on a phishing link can result in your account data being stolen.

Use second-factor authentication - Hackers might guess your password or obtain it through other data breach and use it to access your gaming account. Make it as hard as possible for cybercriminals to get into your account with second-factor authentication. Using only passwords nowadays is not enough to protect yourself and your data.

Limit information you share -Even if you have done everything you personally can to protect from cyber threats, there is still a chance the games’ servers can get hacked. In such a case, all you can do is make sure you provided as little of your personal information as possible when signing up to the game, so even if it gets leaked, the damage is minimal.

Alex T.

Alex T.

Digital security advocate. She takes online safety very seriously and shares her insights on various online world topics.

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Online gamescyberattacks