As technology facilitates gaming on smartphones, more people find it a relaxing and convenient activity anywhere they go. Mobile gaming is also not restricted to simplistic titles anymore. You can find RPG titles and many other action-packed additions to the industry. However, as if any online activity, players should consider certain red flags indicating danger. This article reviews some of the common scams, pitfalls, and security threats for the mobile gaming industry.
Types of Mobile Gaming scams and their potential threats
1. Illegitimate Games
Many of the best games on the App Store and Play Store are premium. It means that you can only install and play them if you purchase them. However, hackers often crack these games and put them online for free.
Some gamers on a budget decide to choose cracked games and install them from unknown third parties. However, these games often have malicious code that can do many things, from giving hackers complete control over your smartphone or leaking all data. The easiest fix would be never to install cracked games and applications from unknown third-party websites or stores.
Instead, always install from a legitimate store such as Play Store and App Store. Even if you want a premium game so much but can’t afford it, it’s better to wait for a discount than to risk your data falling into the wrong hands.
2. Credential Stuffing
One of the most common mobile gaming threats is called credential stuffing. If this technique is successful, the cybercriminals will get access to your online gaming account. It gives them access to your credit card info (if you added it).
They can make fraudulent charges to your card or steal your valuable items and sell them. Here is how it works. The hackers use the leaked usernames and passwords with an automated script to try and randomly log into gaming accounts on numerous platforms.
Of course, there are also extensive lists of commonly used passwords that will also be exploited for credential stuffing attacks. The best way to protect yourself is to use unique usernames and passwords for every online account, including gaming accounts.
3. Beware of the Phishing scams
A phishing scam is when you click a bogus link thinking it is legit. It is how hackers play the trust card, tricking you into believing that a legitimate company sends a link. Every information you disclose on this “fake” website ends in hackers’ hands.
For instance, they can appear as your game provider, informing you that something’s wrong with your account requesting your immediate attention. Phishing targeting gamers seems to be increasing. While most scams attempt to compromise console or desktop gamers, many phishing scams can focus on mobile players.
Phishing links can be found everywhere online. However, phishing attacks are most often launched via email. It is an easy thing to avoid. A gaming company will never directly ask you for your credit card or personal information. Ignore those fishy-looking emails or report them to your email service provider.
4. Gaming on Public Networks
While some mobile games can be played offline, most can only be played online. Given the on-the-go nature of mobile gamers, players often end up gaming on Wi-Fi networks. Sadly, free Wi-Fi lacks protection, and activities performed while connected to such networks could be monitored.
Outsiders could use special software to snoop on people, or some network managers could be tapping in to see what you do online. The straightforward fix would be to only play on trusted networks via your mobile internet. If you find public networks convenient, you need adequate protection before connecting. One of the best options is to download VPN apps. These tools encrypt internet traffic and mask your IP address.
Traffic encryption is the main factor, making your experience on free Wi-Fi as safe as possible. Furthermore, a VPN can help you evade price discrimination, meaning that you do not have to pay more for the same products. Price discrimination based on location is common online, especially with game distributors.
5. Attractive upgrades and Free stuff scams
Finally, we have scammers offering attractive upgrades and in-game stuff with an attractive price tag. If you fall victim to this scam, you will end up paying for way more things than game upgrades. They will use your payment info to make fraudulent charges. Every game has its official marketplace where you can trade with other players. Never disclose your personal or credit card information to people directly.
What are your thoughts on mobile gaming scams and are you fully aware of them? Let us know in the comment section below!