Players Beware: Cyber ​​criminals are coming for you next

Players Beware: Cyber ​​criminals are coming for you next

Attention, gamers and metaverse pioneers: Cybercriminals will try to steal your money and data in 2023.

Experts say that while the goals of those seeking to steal the personal and financial information of consumers will be no different next year, they will be targeting new people and technology platforms in hopes of getting around defenses.

As more people and businesses wise up to traditional email phishing, text and social media scams, cybercriminals will move to new online frontiers such as gaming platforms, virtual reality worlds and the technology used by children for both school and lek, according to researchers at cybersecurity company Kaspersky.

With the security of many of the new and exciting platforms still in their infancy and users not always aware of the potentially lurking dangers, untold amounts of consumer data and money can be at risk of compromise. The bottom line: No one is safe from fraudsters.

The pool of potential victims is only growing. Kaspersky’s researchers pointed to a boost in the overall population of online gamers that Sony’s PlayStation Plus game subscription service begins to compete with Microsoft’s GamePass service. It also increases criminal interest in stealing accounts and related fraud, Kaspersay said, adding that it is not unlike the fraud around streaming subscriptions.

Here’s a look at what some cybersecurity experts are predicting for 2023.

PlayStation VR a catalyst

After a year when supplies returned, Kaspersky researchers expect cybercriminals to try to exploit another possible shortage of PS5s next year stemming from the upcoming release of Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 headset, which requires the console. It is also possible that Sony will release one “Pro” version of the console next year, which could spur scams involving fake pre-sale offers, discounts and giveaways.

The researchers also expect that cybercriminals will go after game accounts that have in-game virtual currencies stored, hoping to sell them for real money. Cryptocurrencies stored in gaming accounts may also be at risk.

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Gaming platforms have been hacked for profit before. In March, cybercriminals earned over $600 million worth of cryptocurrency from a network used to process in-game transactions for Axie Infinity, one of the world’s most popular NFT video games.

In addition to keep your crypto away from gaming platformsAndrey Sidenko, lead web content analyst at Kaspersky, said gamers should also keep their main credit and debit cards separate. He recommends using temporary or virtual cards that can be topped up as needed.

Metaverse scams will be a thing

When it comes to metaversethe risk is less obvious, as there are only a few platforms in the works and they are mainly used for entertainment purposes, although industrial and business applications may emerge soon.

Daniel Clemens, CEO of cybersecurity firm ShadowDragon, said he expects the metaverse to go through the same kinds of security growing pains as any new platform.

“The metaverse is no different when it comes to criminal behavior, which other users need to be aware of,” Clemens said. “Where there is human interaction, there will be a free market mixed with the good and the bad.”

Patrick Garrity, vice president of Nucleus Security, said the proliferation of digital assets, such as NFTs, in the metaverse will make the platform vulnerable to fraud, pointing to their portability and the lack of regulations and consumer protections built into the platform. He emphasized that users should be extremely careful when it comes to their cryptocurrency.

“The best strategy is not to participate in the cryptocurrency part of the metaverse, as there is a high probability that new users will be scammed,” Garrity said, adding that it is also easy to identify people’s wealth based on how their accounts and wallets looks. .

In addition, since the platforms are global, it is doubtful that they will comply with regional privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, or data breach notification laws, Kaspersky said. There have also already been cases in the metaverse of virtual harassment and sexual assault. Without any kind of regulation to stop it, the researchers say they expect that kind of creepy behavior to continue.

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The threats to both players and metaverse users are particularly frightening, given that many of the people who fall victim may be children.

Cybersecurity experts say children’s data will also be increasingly threatened next year by ransomware attacks against schools and school districts. Meanwhile, the ever-increasing amount of data being collected from all people and shared will put pressure on companies and consumers alike to protect it and keep it private.

While it may seem like there isn’t much parents can do, experts say to make sure kids are ready strong, unique passwords for their accounts and activate two-factor authentication whenever possible will keep many of the bad guys out of these accounts.

Kaspersky’s Sidenko adds to that good antivirus software with anti-spam and anti-phishing tools will go a long way towards protecting everyone at home in case someone accidentally clicks on a phishing link.

The school’s IT professionals will struggle

Ransomware attacks against schools and school districts took off in 2022, with districts from Los Angeles to small-town Michigan falling victim.

Even the smallest school can have hundreds of devices behind the firewall and connected to the network, giving cybercriminals countless potential entry points, said Andrew Wildrix, chief information officer for cybersecurity firm Intrusion.

At the same time, kids often use their devices for things like games that they share with each other, not knowing that those games and apps can extract school-related data, he added.

What’s worse is that given tight budgets, schools are also unlikely to allocate money to cybersecurity until after an attack has occurred, Wildrix said. After that, you’re looking at months-long searches to find the right cybersecurity protections, scrape up the cash to pay for them, and put them in place.

Then new threats have appeared and the schools are back at the start again, he said.

“This existing approach is reactionary,” Wildrix said. “In 2023, we need to start taking a holistic approach to cyber defense where we think ahead and take the time to look at new technologies.”

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It’s time to ask, ‘You, where’s my data?’

It’s hard to keep your data safe and private if you don’t know where it’s being stored or who it’s being shared with.

Jeremy Snyder, founder and CEO of cybersecurity company FireTail, notes that even the simplest online action, such as ordering takeout through a meal delivery service, can involve three or more companies, and that it’s anybody’s guess how secure each company’s system is .

In Snyder’s opinion, the biggest risk to security and privacy heading into 2023 is a lack of visibility. Companies collect and share so much data that they often don’t know where it is or who has access to it.

“Will 2023 mark the year when companies finally start to recognize the scale of this problem?” Snyder asked. “I certainly hope so.”

Wildrix said it will also be up to consumers to take stock of where their data goes, especially when it comes to their collection of Internet of Things devices.

“How much stuff in your house talks that you’re not aware of?” he asked, noting that in one case he’s seen Wi-Fi traffic collected by a robotic vacuum cleaner sent to a power station in Mongolia. “These are things that no one considers.”

Keeping track of personal data shared on social media should also be a priority for consumers, said Jeff Hodgin, vice president of product for CyberGRX. He notes that when people post on social media, they are promoting themselves as a brand just as a company would. The bigger the brand, the bigger the target for cybercriminals.

“Individuals who want to market themselves should consider their individual risk,” Hodgin said. “What is my exposure? What would be the consequence of a breach? What is the likelihood of that happening?”

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