Gaming and Security – A Lament



Gaming is one of the world’s most popular hobbies, with around half of the planet self-identifying as a gamer in some form or another. Of course, the definition of the term ‘gamer’ has become increasingly nebulous as time has worn on, largely due to the fact that there are lots of different ways to engage in the pastime, from mobile phones and consoles to smart TVs and even single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi.

Adobe Flash

Security in and around gaming is therefore an evolving thing. Browser-based titles were historically some of the most problematic games from a security perspective due to their reliance on Adobe Flash, which was notorious for bugs and other negative quirks – even after its stranglehold on media was ended by the rollout of HTML5. Today, HTML5 supports both cross-platform and cross-browser play.

One of the places online where this shift to HTML5 is most visible is in the casino industry. Brands such as William Hill base hundreds of casino slots online at https://vegas.williamhill.com. While these are often simple games, the development of live-format games, where the human dealer is displayed on a webcam, means that even more complex gaming experiences can be rendered easily in HTML5.

Microtransactions

As far as console and PC games go, one of the easiest things to forget is that online game accounts tend to increase in value over time. How this value is measured is entirely subjective. It’s not just money. Time is precious in these virtual environments, too. Add in the real-world cost of microtransactions, subscriptions, and other purchases and game accounts can start to seem priceless.

Why does that matter? Developers go to great lengths to ensure that player accounts are bolted down, which should go some way to demonstrate the security concerns that many gamers face. However, this isn’t some bugbear that only applies to gamers. This group falls squarely in the same category as all web and software users – and much the same problems crop up time and again.

Cybersecurity

A study cited by AVG claims that 75% of gamers are concerned about security. Worse, most of them have encountered several cyberattacks. Much like with email and social media, though, there’s strong evidence that gamers aren’t so worried about online security that they’ll do something to preserve their accounts. More than half use the same password in multiple different games.

Put another way, many gamers are their own worst enemy as far as cybersecurity is concerned. Unfortunately, this is a bit of an evolving human trait in all quarters of the population. Only 37% of Americans use 2-factor authentication, according to research from Google, despite the fact that the same percentage of people have had their important details exposed online.

In summary, while they do face some unique threats, gamers aren’t necessarily a special group when it comes to cybersecurity. Given the choice of convenience or security, sadly, it seems the former wins every time.



Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.