Video game cyber security: An introduction

Way back when, cyber security while playing video games wasn’t a concern. You’d take the cartridge – and then later, the CD-ROM – and put it in the console.

No need to connect to the internet. No risks from cyber criminals.

Now, though, that has changed. It’s next to impossible to imagine playing a video game these days without connecting to the internet.

That has left gamers vulnerable to attacks from cyber criminals.

Here’s a guide to staying cyber secure while playing video games.

Why gaming cyber security mattersa child playing a video game; text: CSAM 2020

Most people don’t want to think about cyber security while they’re playing video games. For many, it’s a chance to escape the real world with a trip into a fantasy land or by becoming their favourite professional athlete.

The problem, though, is that cyber criminals see the world of gaming differently. They see millions of opportunities to steal from victims.

Cyber criminals frequently target gamers’ accounts to harvest their personal data or virtual purchases of “in-game” items. In addition, many gamers make purchases with real money using their video game accounts.

That means that if gamers don’t pay attention to cyber security, they’re susceptible to attacks.

Types of  targets

In general, when cyber criminals target video game accounts, they tend to be seeking one of the following:

  • Financial information: Many people make in-game purchases or even buy entire games using accounts they set up with video game companies. If a hacker were to take over the account, they would be able to make purchases under the gamer’s name, which is essentially stealing.
  • Personal information: Video gamers store personal information on their online accounts. By compromising the account, cyber criminals can gain access to someone’s name, address and even date of birth.This becomes a risk for identity theft.
  • In-game items: Items that exist inside of games, such as virtual weapons or clothing that gamers can purchase or earn on behalf of their in-game characters, frequently have no “real-world” monetary value. But some gamers invest a lot of real money and time to purchase or earn them. That means losing them to cyber criminals has a real cost.

How to game safely

Here are the steps you can take to protect yourself while playing video games.

Using passphrases or complex passwords

Using passphrases or complex passwords are an important way of staying cyber secure regardless of the platform.

That also applies to video gaming.

Don’t think that using a strong password is any less important just because it’s a video game account. If you don’t already, use a passphrase or complex password for all your video game accounts.

Avoid phishing attempts

Most video game accounts have a communication function to them so gamers can send messages to one another.

Unfortunately, this also leaves gamers vulnerable to phishing attempts.

Follow best practices for avoiding phishing attempts to help keep your video game accounts secure.

Multi-factor authentication

Video game accounts, like many other platforms, frequently offer multi-factor authentication.

This ensures that you have another line of protection if a cyber criminal somehow gets access to your password.

For example, multi-factor authentication can block any suspicious sign-in attempts by requiring access to another authentication factor, such as a code sent to your email account or phone number.

It’s one of the best ways of keeping your accounts – video game-related or not – protected from cyber criminals.


Video games are meant to be fun. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect your cyber security on video game platforms.

Follow these steps to stay cyber secure while playing video games.


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