Instances of cyberattacks on individual users have increased exponentially during the covid-19 pandemic. And it seems, even the gaming community is not safe from cybercriminals. According to a new global study from NortonLifeLock, the US-based cybersecurity and software company, three in four gamers surveyed in India earlier this year have experienced a cyberattack. More than 4 in 5 of the gamers surveyed were impacted financially as a result, losing approximately ₹7,894 on average.
The research for the study, released on Monday, was conducted online by The Harris Poll, among more than 700 Indian adults who play online games, from 24 August 24 through 14 September, 2021. In all, the global study surveyed 5,327 adult gamers in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and India.
Of the 703 surveyed Indian gamers, three quarters (75%) have experienced a cyberattack on their gaming account, most commonly detecting malicious software on a gaming device (35%) and detecting unauthorized access to an online gaming account (29% of the respondents in India). Of those who experienced a cyberattack, more than 4 in 5 (81%) reported that they were impacted financially as a result.
Online gaming is not all fun and games, according to Ritesh Chopra, director sales and field Marketing, India & SAARC Countries, NortonLifeLock. “In the virtual field, we must take precautions to protect information we share, to avoid becoming vulnerable to cyberattack,” Chopra adds in a press release. “With online gaming, come concerns -- including hidden fees and in-game currency, characters, or other items being lost or stolen, as our survey showed to be the case for over half of respondents.”
Interest in mobile gaming and online games has also picked up during the pandemic, as more and more people spent time indoors. More than six in 10 gamers in India (62%) said they picked up gaming during the covid-19 pandemic. Many (around 60% of the respondents) say the amount of time they spend gaming has also increased since the start of the pandemic.
Over two in five gamers (41%) in India have been tricked into compromising their personal security. This happened either by downloading malware onto a gaming device (28%) or being tricked into sharing account information online (26%). In a more worrying trend, one in five gamers (21%) have been “doxed” -- which means having their personal information stolen and posted or shared publicly online without their consent.
Nearly three in four Indian gamers (72%) said that they would never fall for a gaming scam. But more than half (53%) agree that they don’t give much thought, if any, to the security of their gaming devices.