The 6 motivations of cybercrime in online video games
- From getting money, to harassing or improving your player profile, are some of their most common objectives.
- S2 Grupo experts have prepared a report on cybersecurity and cybercrime in online video games in which they highlight the importance of young people knowing what cybercriminals are looking for in order to protect themselves.
- Hacking into video games and consoles is so common that many cybercriminals post their services on ad websites.
Valencia, 18 December 2020.- With the arrival of Christmas, holidays and gifts, the time in which children and adults dedicate to online video games is considerably increased. For this reason, S2 Grupo has highlighted the importance of cybersecurity and minimizing the possibility of falling into the hands of cybercriminals.
“Knowing the risks and motivations that drive cybercriminals to act is essential for children and adolescents, who are more vulnerable, to become aware that this is a very serious issue and they need to protect themselves just as they do in life off- line. If they are sure that they would not go with a stranger and of the dangers they would run if they did, the same must happen with the parallelism of life connected to the Internet”,
“As soon as young people become aware of the motivations of cybercriminals, they connect directly with the need for cyber protection. This is key for them to be able to enjoy online video games and eSports without risks. They know that if they leave the front door open, they can break in. They also have to know that if they don't have a secure password, for example, they can be robbed in the same way”, said Miguel A. Juan.
Six motivations for cybercrime in online video games and eSports
To raise awareness about cybersecurity in online video games, S2 Grupo has prepared a report in which its team of experts has highlighted that these are the 6 main motivations of cybercriminals in this area:
- Obtaining money directly.- This sector generates a lot of millions of euros because many of the video games are bought online and, in addition, those that are free require payments to improve the “characters”. Therefore, the money is in all the phases of the video game and the bank cards will be on the Internet.
- Obtain money indirectly.- Personal data is currently a very important asset and its value is increasing. These are stolen and sold by cybercriminals in the so-called "Dark Web", which makes up the large conglomerate of Internet websites and that are not visible to most users who use search engines like Google and which normally promote illegal business such as sale of weapons, drugs, human trafficking, pedophilia, etc. "We must be aware that if our children use video games that have access to the mobile camera or use a photograph of the player, the cybercriminal could hack into the device and access the photographs, which could end up being sold on a pedophile website", explained José Rosell.
- Harassing a player.- Online video games allow connectivity with other players, you can talk to them in real time through headphones with a microphone while playing, so it is a potential channel to carry out threats, extortion, blackmail, insults or humiliation. "In these cases, it usually happens that when one of the players has a "bad loss", cyberbullying begins, and the player may steal some information from the opponent, if he has the necessary knowledge to do so", said Miguel A. Juan.
- Grooming.- This is a practice in which an adult pretends to be a minor (false profile), in any online medium, to contact a child or adolescent, try to gain their trust and befriend them to obtain information about their private life, and then redirect their conversations on other platforms such as social networks. From S2 Grupo, we recommend that parents keep a moderate control over their children's activity in relation to online video games. "More than one of us have heard our children say: "Wait, I'm playing an online game and I can't stop right now!" Well, at that precise moment, if we get closer, we will perhaps hear our children talking live, possibly with a stranger”, says José Rosell.
- Improving your player profile.- Another frequent motivation for cyber-crooks around video games is to improve their own account or profile. In this case, we are talking about them also being players but instead of playing with their profile and/or character, they steal an account from another player much more advanced in the game. In addition, there are other motivations for stealing an account such as the victim's account being Premium or selling the said account on websites such as eBay.
- Getting an advantage in the game.- In this case, the player uses his hacking skills to modify the game and obtain benefits on his account that will give him an advantage in the game. "This was much more common in traditional desktop consoles and it is somewhat more complex to carry out nowadays, since online gaming platforms allow these accounts to be reported and users eliminated", says Miguel A. Juan. S2 Grupo has highlighted that hacking in video games and consoles based on money motivation is so common that many cybercriminals dare to publish their services to hack video games and devices on websites such as " Mil anuncios".