The Gaming World Under Siege: Cybersecurity Threats on the Rise

As the global gaming community continues to grow, so does the threat of cyberattacks targeting the world’s most popular video games. Recent data reveals that over four million desktop infection attempts were detected by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky between July 2022 and July 2023, shedding light on the increasing severity of cybersecurity issues within the gaming industry.

Gaming is on the rise, with two in five people worldwide participating in some form of video gaming, representing a year-on-year increase of 6.3%, as reported by Newzoo. The gaming industry’s revenue has already reached an impressive $242.39 billion globally, with expectations of doubling in the near future. This burgeoning market has not gone unnoticed by threat actors who see the lucrative online video game sphere as a prime target for malware and phishing attempts.

With the global gaming community growing, particularly among younger players, who accounted for nearly a quarter of all gamers in 2022, the gaming industry presents an attractive opportunity for cybercriminals.

Kaspersky conducted an investigation into the state of cybersecurity in the gaming world, uncovering alarming trends in the industry’s susceptibility to attacks.

Desktop Findings

During their research, Kaspersky identified over four million desktop infection attempts, affecting approximately 192,456 gamers worldwide. The analysis found that the following threat categories were the most common:

  • Downloaders (89.7%): These appear as seemingly harmless programs but are designed to find and install malware onto devices, making them the most prevalent method used by threat actors to target gamers.
  • Adware (5.25%): Adware employs pop-up ads to collect user data or direct users to infected URLs or malware downloads.
  • Trojans (2.39%): Once installed, Trojans provide threat actors with administrative access, enabling them to carry out a wide range of malicious activities.

Of the 14 games examined in the research, Minecraft emerged as the most targeted, accounting for a significant 70.29% of attacks. With over 160 million active monthly users in 2023, Minecraft is one of the world’s most popular games, attracting players of all ages, including children as young as three years old.

Roblox was the second most targeted game, representing 20.37% of alerts, followed by Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (4.78%), PUBG (2.85%), Hogwarts Legacy (0.60%), GOTA (0.45%), and League of Legends (0.31%).

Mobile Findings

In the realm of mobile gaming, Minecraft remained the most targeted game, with 90.37% of attacks impacting 80,128 players. Iran was the most targeted country among mobile Minecraft gamers, with 140,482 alerts triggered.

PUBG: Battlegrounds Battle Royale was the target of 5.06% of attacks, primarily affecting Russian players.

Roblox, while ranking third in terms of the number of alerts (3.33%), had the second-highest number of affected users. This was largely due to a Trojan distributed among players under the guise of a mod.

The data highlights the urgent need for increased cybersecurity measures within the gaming industry to protect gamers from the growing threat of cyberattacks. As gaming continues to attract a broader audience, safeguarding the digital world of entertainment becomes increasingly critical to ensuring a safe and enjoyable gaming experience.

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