The esports industry has boomed from being an alternative activity to a multi-billion dollar sector. Esports, short for electronic sports, is an offshoot of traditional video gaming which hosts several cash-winning competitions.
At the rate the industry is growing, analysts estimate esports to overshadow the traditional sports industry in terms of followers. Electronic sports generated as high as $660 million in 2017, with experts predicting revenue to reach $1.5 billion in 2020.
An industry as fast-rising as esports is bound to have rogues sneaking in to benefit from this new, unregulated sector of gaming. Hackers have begun attacking esports players and fans in a bid to snatch valuable data or gain financial benefits.
A cybersecurity firm, Trend Micro, has revealed that from research conducted, as high as 220,000 esports gamers could be discovered effortlessly through a Shodan search. The firm’s study further expressed that some esports players have been hit with ransomware.
Esports tournaments are also vulnerable to DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. Cybercriminals specifically target servers to interrupt gameplay. Esports participants can be targets of social engineering, illegal content, and so on. This is why every esports follower needs to be cybersecurity-aware.
Virtual Private Networks, also known as VPNs, is an application that encrypts the flow of internet traffic from and into your device. It protects your security online by creating a tunnel, ensuring that only your device and the server it’s communicating with will decipher the data flow.
A gaming VPN offers esports followers numerous security advantages. For one, your personal information becomes hidden from other gamers since your IP address is hidden. Again, since you’d be connected to a VPN server while using it, your network would be safe from DDoS attacks, ensuring you have an uninterrupted gaming session.
If you have to purchase or download a game from the internet, use credible sources. There are several applications on the internet that contain malware, viruses, or ransomware. If you’re an Android user, always use Google PlayStore to download your apps.
PC users need to stick with online stores that have high ratings. If you doubt the credibility of a store, make your research online. You can also ask questions in gaming forums to get an idea of secure online stores. Gamers using consoles can also purchase their applications from their manufacturers’ stores.
Sometimes, hackers target gaming devices to siphon credit card details. Linking your debit or credit card to your gaming account could be counter-productive. Use prepaid payment details so that in the event a hack happens, your finances remain intact.
When updates are released for games, security loopholes that hackers can exploit get fixed. Endeavor to install updates on applications as soon as possible instead of hitting the ‘Remind me Later’ button over and over.
You also need to perform this security step for your operating system and programs. Outdated operating systems are one of the main ways malware can get on to a device.
As the esports industry is growing, cybercriminals are looking to take advantage of the boom to do what they do best: steal data. As an esports player or fan, your device could get compromised through a DDoS attack, malware, or ransomware. Increase your cybersecurity level by looking into the steps above!