Is Esports Hacking a “thing” in 2021?

It seems like it is. According to estimates, around 52% of gamers have been hacked in their lifetime. There is also a 6% out there that think that they could have been a victim of a cyber-attack. 

It’s undeniable that the gaming industry and community are getting bigger every day.

If you are working in the video game industry, you will know that keeping the players secure becomes harder every day, since more and more cybercriminals are becoming a huge threat. 

But why do criminals do this? 

What’s the motivation behind criminal behavior, especially in the gaming industry? 

How do they all communicate, and what ways do they use to gain access to different accounts?

 

How Do Hackers Affect the Gaming Community

Gamers now spend countless hours and a lot of effort in leveling up their accounts in their favorite games. They will also collect numerous limited in-game items, which might end up becoming valuable. And that’s where cybercriminals come to play. 

Wherever there is money, there will always be someone who wants to steal it.

The main thing that everyone needs to know about the criminals that are targeting the gaming industry is that they take part in a similar economy to ours. It’s working fluidly, daily, and is managed by the criminals themselves.

Unlike our legitimate economy, the criminal economy runs on reputation, rather than regulation. The more reputable a seller, the more trustworthy they are. But, as we all know, you can’t just find cybercriminals making deals on the streets.

In contrast to popular belief, these criminals aren’t only found on those underground shady private forums or the plethora of marketplaces on the dark web. Many of them can now be found in Facebook groups, or Discord servers, and many public forums.

And they are known for targetting the accounts of gamers who have obtained rare in-game items, or ones who have vulnerable credit card info. Tons of in-game assets are sold every single day by cybercriminals who have stolen them from different accounts.

Back in 2019, Akamai published a State of the Internet report, in which it was mentioned that there had been a total of 55 billion credential stuffing attacks in just over 17 months. 12 billion of the aforementioned attacks were directed to the gaming community.

There are also numerous cases where cybercriminals decide to add account flipping to their criminal portfolio. By account flipping, we meant that they gain access to certain accounts, which they end up selling to others. 

These accounts are usually really high-level ones, and many gamers want them to not have to do all the grinding and just play the game with the best of the best.

Also, as surveys have shown, 80% of esports contestants have run into players who are using hacked accounts or items, which have been bought online. 

Since it’s a huge problem, why isn’t it already solved?

Well, cybercriminals aren’t some random teenagers anymore. Cybercriminals have companies that mirror real ones. They will have their developers, managers, and marketing teams, who will make sure that the companies come out as believable.

 

Esports Hacking: Why Is It Happening

The esports industry, along with the entire online gaming industry, is growing at a rapid pace and it is estimated that the value of these industries reaches over 100 billion worldwide. 

Some of the most popular games worldwide, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or League Of Legends, are hosting huge tournaments with tens of millions in prize money.

This has also led to the industry is very lucrative for criminals. Many hackers have found great success in scamming entire accounts from players and then selling them for money. 

For example, back in 2017, a team of cyber criminals gained access to an ESEA database. As a result, they had access to over 1.5 million user accounts. They then threatened to release details of these accounts, unless they were paid $100,000.

For those of you who haven’t heard of ESEA, it is one of the most well-known matchmaking services in the online gaming industry, offering many tournaments with tons of prizes for games like Team Fortress 2 or CS:GO.

Players were advised to secure their accounts until further notice. The same team was able to hack the servers, changing the karma of every player to -1337.

Another example is back in 2018 when EA’s Origin client was bugged. This bug would allow any hacker to attack any esports tournament, where players are connected to the same Wi-Fi network and log into their EA Origin accounts.

There are also tons of examples where streamers have had their information leaked, through doxing. If we lived in a perfect world, this wouldn’t be happening. What can be done?

 

How Can YOU Protect Yourself

 

There are many ways that you can use to protect yourself from cybercriminals, especially if you wish to be part of the eSports scene.

 

Use a Password Manager

A password manager acts like a storage room, where you can store every single one of your passwords. While this doesn’t sound safe, all of your passwords will be stored in different hashes, which can’t be accessed by cybercriminals.

By using a password manager, you won’t need to fear others accessing your passwords or you losing your accounts, especially because password managers have a feature that suggests stronger passwords.

 

Use A VPN

VPNs are usually the king when it comes to anonymity. They will encrypt any traffic that’s coming to and leaving your device, so nobody can gain access to your information off of the network. VPNs might also prove beneficial since they lower your ping in-game.

 

Don’t Share Personal Information Online

If you’re in the esports industry, there is surely one person out there who doesn’t like you. By sharing personal information, you’re just allowing them to mess with you in real life. 

It’s only been a couple of years ever since SWAT-ing was popular, where streamers would get their houses stormed by SWAT teams.

 

Bot Manager

While Bot manager isn’t directly effective, since it will not act as a shield, it’s like an excellent set of binoculars with night-vision. 

You will be able to check out your logs in real-time, and you will also be able to let your security team find the best ways to combat any potential security threats in the future, as well as in the present.

This is just one of the many types of cybersecurity tools available right now, at an impressively low cost. Every stakeholder in the Esports industry is capable to get any to work – and if they don’t, then fortunately enough, there are specialized cybersecurity experts to cover.

 

Esports IT & Cybersecurity Services

Here’s where the MyITGuy team of experts comes in. This industry in particular won’t stop growing any time soon, so attention from bad actors over it won’t stop either.

Be it players, team managers, event organizers, and supporters… Everyone has a vulnerable security infrastructure. 

Would you like to change that yourself or want a helping hand?