Even though the newest gaming systems have just been released a few short weeks ago, hackers are already targeting the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One.
Security firm Kaspersky Lab has been monitoring cyber attacks on gaming systems and the firm says that the release of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One coincides with sharp rise in hacking attacks in late November. Kaspersky says they estimate an average of 34,000 cyber attacks per day on a global scale. The firm now knows of 4.6 million malware pieces that are targeting these new gaming systems.
The biggest geographical targets seem to be located in Europe. Italy was known to have drawn over 75,000 attacks this year alone. Poland was the second highest being attacked 127,509 times, and Spain leading the attack board with 138,786.
These cyber attacks may come as a surprise to most gamers, but essentially these gaming systems are computers attached to the internet, so they are just as vulnerable to hackers as a household PC or laptop. Where the gaming attacks differ slightly is that instead of seeking bank account numbers or credit card information, the gaming attacks are seeking usernames and passwords.
These usernames and passwords are then bought and sold on underground hacker forums. What Kaspersky found when they visited these underground sites, was a market that was fueled with this activity. When Kaspersky visited a site earlier this year, they found a major espionage campaign on many big multiplayer online games which included stolen source code and other valuable data.
Other gaming platforms are also vulnerable not just the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The hackers will often prey on the very competitive players. The hugely popular game Minecraft had many usernames and passwords stolen earlier this year. Hackers posing as other players, distributed what they said was a tool that would allow a competitive player to ban other users and gain other super powers as well. The hacker’s tool delivered empty promises to their innocent victims, but allowed the hackers to steal their usernames and passwords.
Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) fans were also attacked this year. When Rockstar Games released this latest version of the popular game, hackers set up fake websites that claimed to offer access to the game via free downloads. However, all that the baited fans received was malicious malware.
The hackers will also target the gaming community using email phishing scams hoping to gain big discounts and inexpensive gaming software and hardware.
The rules for protecting gamers online are the same as they would be for any computer operator and not just the Xbox One or Playstation 4 owners:
- Be careful and make sure that any links that are clicked are coming from a trusted source.
- Gamers will also need to use stronger passwords that differ from each gaming account, that way if one password is stolen the hackers won’t have access to all the gaming accounts.
- An up-to-date reputable anti-virus program is also recommended.
- Gamers need to make sure that their online friends are trustworthy.
- Everyone should stick with making purchases only from legitimate and reputable retailers.
With all the aforementioned tips, responsibility finally does lie in the lap of the gamer to not remain a hacking target. The numbers of gaming-related cyber attacks are expected to increase very soon, as sales of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 go through the roof this holiday season.
By Brent Matsalla