Hackers targeting online gamers and taking over accounts to access financial information
InvestigateTV –Video games offer users the opportunity to escape from reality and enter a virtual world where nearly anything is possible.
From mobile, to console to desktop, the multi-platform options are plentiful for the more than 215 million Americans playing video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), an industry lobbying group.
And it’s not just children picking up controllers. That same ESA report showed that while 71 % of kids under 18 are gamers, nearly two-thirds of all video game players are adults.
The $60 billion gaming industry has increasingly come under attack from hackers. In a 2020 report, cybersecurity company Akamai tracked more than 246 million web attacks against the gaming industry, often through mobile or web-based games. Those numbers indicate an increase of 340% from 2019.
Cybersecurity expert Alex Nette, CEO of Hive Systems, said the direct cost to consumers is often difficult to identify.
“There’s not a lot of information about all of this and more importantly, how much it’s costing consumers at the end of the day,” Nette said.
Chris Stephens began gaming as a child and hasn’t stopped.
“I grew up in the age of where online gaming and computer gaming was just coming about,” Stephens said.
The 36 -year-old Stephens said his first game was “Super Mario Bros.” on the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Stephens’ tastes evolved along with video game technology. Now, the 8-bit world of Mario is gone, and he’s a regular on the streaming gaming platform Twitch.
“It’s definitely gotten a lot more complex,” Stephens said.
Stephens said he uses video games to connect with gamers across the country, but those same systems opened him up to something he said he never expected to happen while playing games – getting hacked.
In 2017 Stephens said he got an email from video game company Electronic Arts (EA) about a questionable login attempt. However, Stephens said the hackers had apparently changed his language preferences…