Gaming-related web attacks have increased exponentially during the Covid-19 pandemic
Cybercriminals have been exploiting the increased popularity of video games during the lockdown to launch attacks. In April, the daily number of blocked attempts to direct Kaspersky users to malicious sites that exploit the gaming theme increased by 54% when compared to January 2020. In addition, for April, the number of blocked attempts to direct users to phishing pages for one of the most popular gaming platforms increased by 40% compared to February 2020.
Beginning in March, the overall number of Steam users (the most popular online gaming platform, community, and store) increased significantly, with the platform reaching an all-time record for both active users and concurrent users actively playing games by March 30. Upon noticing this trend, Kaspersky researchers decided to look deeper into the threat landscape of video games during the lockdown period. What they found—not surprisingly—was that cybercriminals have been exploiting the increased interest in video games to launch various attacks.
The game most often used by criminals was Minecraft, one of the most popular games ever made. Its name was used in more than 130,000 web attacks. The other most popular games used in attacks were Counter Strike: Global Offensive and The Witcher 3.
“Many of these video game-related attacks are not particularly sophisticated; there is a large user component to their success. The past few months have shown that users are highly susceptible to falling for phishing attacks or clicking on malicious links when it comes to games,” comments Maria Namestnikova, security expert at Kaspersky.
To stay safe while playing video games, Kaspersky experts recommend:
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible to protect your video-gaming accounts;
- Be wary of any cheats and pirated copies of video-games, since it’s one of the favourite lures used by cybercriminals;
- Use reliable security solutions (such as Kaspersky Security Cloud) that identifies malicious downloads, blocks phishing sites, and prevents redirects to malicious pages;
- During the game, don’t switch off your security solution, but turn on gaming mode, which consumes less resources.