The War on Anonymous Hackers

According to Wall Street Journal, hackers stole the personal information and possibly accessed the credit card information of over 70 million PlayStation gamers in April of 2011, committing one of the largest acts of data theft in history. In addition, hackers have compromised data in many game servers of companies, as well. Reuters reported that cyber-security firm Kaspersky Labs determined that a hacker group dubbed “Winnti” accessed software from the servers of over 30 game developers in a four-year infiltration campaign.

The War on Anonymous Hackers

How Do People Get Hacked

With attacks on gamers escalating, it’s important to know how to protect oneself against the tactics hackers use to gain access to personal information. Many companies use address standardization software to store user data, and hackers use many types of malicious software to steal personal information from players without their knowledge. In addition, hackers often reach out directly to their targets in attempts to garner information. There are some common tactics hackers use that all gamers should familiarize themselves with.

Email Scams

A scam that has evolved to target gamers “phishing” involves directly asking for private information while masquerading as an administrator for a game. Claiming to be sent from a game’s service department, these emails make claims about account activity flagged as being “suspicious.” Game administrators never contact you through emails, and warn players not to trust such communiqués. Hackers will also reach out through social networking sites, flooding them with similar messages hoping to garner information directly from thousands of players.

Fake Websites

Websites designed by hackers often resemble the actual sites of companies such as Blizzard, but accessing them can change DNS settings on your computer. Even just bookmarking them can allow hackers to alter your bookmarks to redirect to bogus sites. Websites that allow you to buy in-game currencies or goods are often fronts to gain access to account or credit card information used by such hackers.

The War on Anonymous Hackers

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

  • Use multiple passwords: Vary your passwords from different websites and don’t use the same password for multiple services. If it’s compromised with one service, hackers could gain access to all your accounts.
  • Use different security questions: Hackers who compromise security questions from one site may use the information garnered from their theft to access multiple sites. As with passwords, vary your security questions for different websites.
  • Scrub your history: Everywhere you shop online you leave a trail of personal information that hackers can access. According to CNBC, using a service such as ShopShield can protect you by saving personal information in a single location, instead of spreading it across multiple retailers online.
  • Be alert: Be on the lookout for suspicious emails, private messages, or attachments. Never follow a link or download an attachment from an unfamiliar person claiming to be a representative of a game provider.