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New Norton study reveals severity of cyber attacks on gamers

By Mitchell Hageman, Tue 16 Nov 2021

A new special report by security software company Norton has found that two out of five gamers in New Zealand have experienced a cyber attack.

It has also revealed that on average gamers lost more than $700 in these attacks, with the company highlighting the risks that are impacting the wider gaming community.

Conducted online by The Harris Poll, the study out of 500 people found that 42% had been subject to some form of cyber attack on their mobile or gaming device. 67% of those people were subject to a financial impact of some kind, with an average loss between them of around $723. In comparison, US gamers lost on average $104 and German gamers $702.

NortonLifeLock's senior director APAC Mark Gorrie says that New Zealanders should be more vigilant when gaming, as we have become complacent with our digital habits.

"New Zealand is a small affluent nation, making it a prime target for cybercriminals. The financial losses of gamers should serve as a wake-up call to gamers to start improving their digital hygiene," he says.

The study also revealed that interactions between gamers can also pose a security risk, with nearly one in five admitting they would consider hacking into the gaming account of a friend, family member or romantic partner if they knew it would give them a competitive advantage in an online game.

Gamer BigCheeseKIT says that it is becoming a problem for both professional and casual gamers, with data information sharing and social interaction being a leading risk factor.

"I've learned that when you're gaming online, it's so important to be mindful of who you are friends with online and what information you share when gaming online. While this is especially true for professional gamers who have that public profile, it's clear this goes for any online gamer." 

The need to gain a competitive advantage is also a prevalent cause for concern, with more than a third of the kiwi gamers surveyed admitting they would exploit a loophole or bug in a game. Others have admitted they would consider installing cheats and hacks to access known or random players gaming accounts.

"It shouldn't be a surprise that people will use the tools at their disposal to win a competition, gamers are no different. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are hyper-aware of the market for exploits and are using them to scam those seeking advantage in the usual ways. They use dodgy links and hide malware in downloads that are advertised as rare items, in-game currency, or exploits to provide a competitive edge. Clicking a malicious link can lead to losing control of your data, passwords, accounts and financial details," says Gorrie.

Among the Kiwi gamers surveyed who had experienced a gaming device or account cyberattack, nearly one in five (19%) had been doxed, or had their personal information stolen and shared publicly online. 

Gorrie's advice to gamers is to ensure that they make as much effort as possible to prepare for a cyber attack.

"Cyber criminals will charge you for a fake cheat and then steal your financial information or logins. In their own words, Kiwi gamers need to 'get good' and avoid these dangers as well as have strong online security software to help stop breaches from occurring." 

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