15 Dec 2020
Story image

Gamers targeted as identity theft, bullying and cheating increases online

By Shannon Williams

More than a tenth of gamers have had their ID stolen – which could be worth as much as $347bn globally, according to new research.

Global research by Kaspersky says the figure represents 12%, or 179 million gamers, worldwide.

The research was commissioned by Kaspersky and conducted by Savanta in November 2020, to look at the state of global gaming in 2020. According to the 5031 gamers surveyed across 17 countries, nearly a fifth (19%) have also been bullied while playing. This trend is even more prevalent in the Russia (44%) Saudi Arabia (27%), Turkey (28%) and the US (27%).

Worse still, a third (33%) gamers have suffered at the hands of cheaters. All of these combined cause stress and anxiety in 31% of them. This is disappointing as stress relief is the very thing the majority of them (62%) go to gaming to remove, as well as thrills (62%), and then friendship (46%).

“When gaming, it’s important to consider from the outset, how you can best avoid or handle bullies, cheats and hackers," says Marina Titova, head of consumer product marketing at Kaspersky.

"Acting on this early means you can put many of those fears to the side and focus on enjoying the game," she says.

Kaspersky offers seven ways to help be as safe as possible while gaming online:

Buy from official sources
Always shop for PC games either on well-known platforms like Steam and GOG or on official developer sites.

Save smart
Official stores often provide amazing discounts, or even free games. But many e-mail offers can be a scam – go to the developer’s or store’s website to see if the discount is mentioned there – if not, it’s not real.

Check the return policy
Before buying, know the store’s rules for returning a game you don’t like or that doesn’t work on your computer.

Use a dedicated card for online shopping
Instead of linking a card that has all your savings, get a debit card for online shopping and top it up as needed. That way, should intruders break in to a site you use, they won’t get much.

Use a secure connection
We recommend logging in to online stores only from home – having properly secured your home network and using products like Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection.

Protect your accounts
Protect your account on Steam and Battle.net, and on any social network profiles you use to sign in to gaming stores (but don’t use social network accounts to log in elsewhere if you can help it).

Protect your devices
The computers, smartphones, and tablets you use for gaming also need protection. A reliable solution like Kaspersky Security Cloud blocks fraudulent websites and malware, provides alerts about security issues, and, contrary to popular misconception, does not spoil gameplay. The Gaming Mode you’ll find in modern security solutions turns on automatically when you play in full-screen mode.

Recent stories
More stories