Increased online gaming poses cyber-security risks for homes, businesses

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A sharp increase in the number of people playing games online poses significant security risks for households and businesses, a cyber safety company says.

Teenager playing video games online.

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Photo: 123RF

A recent survey commissioned by the consumer cyber safety software company NortonLifeLock has found two thirds of New Zealanders were worried that gaming would become less secure in the future.

A third of New Zealanders had been hacked at least once, while 8 percent had been hacked more than once.

Norton senior director Mark Gorrie said two-thirds of New Zealanders were playing video games with nine-out-of-10 households owning some kind of video game device.

The personal information tied to gaming accounts had become a lucrative target for cyber criminals and players would need to become more vigilant to protect their data, he said.

A typical gaming account could include the gamer’s name, birth year, mailing address, email, mobile number, payment information and other personal information that could be used by an identity thief.

“Gamer tags are ransacked for virtual items and personally identifiable information that are bought and sold for real money on the Dark Web,” Gorrie said.

“Once a gaming account has been breached, the gamer’s other accounts, from banking to social media, are at a much higher risk for account takeovers and fraud.”

Norton had so far found the gaming information of more than 60,000 customers on the dark web, he said.

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