As The Esports Industry Grows, Does It Become More Attractive For Cybercriminals?

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As The Esports Industry Grows, Does It Become More Attractive For Cybercriminals?

Esports is often taken with a grain of salt even though it’s been present for half a decade.

It may not require muscles of steel or outstanding stamina, but the stakes are higher than one would think. And this is what attracts cybercriminals who always want to get their (un)fair share of something.

The Phenomenon of Esports

The rapid growth of the esports industry was bound to attract hackers seeking financial benefits. Did you know that the total revenue in 2020 was valued at 973.9 million US dollars? And according to Statista, this number will be 65% higher by 2023. No wonder cybercriminals are rubbing their hands.

But what’s hidden behind its success? Are e-athletes the future of the sport? According to marketers and big brands such as Coca Cola and Red Bull, generations Y and Z will help make this digital transition. The majority of them already spend a significant portion of the day glued to their screens, and the esports industry knows how to take financial advantage of this trend.

Take, for example, Japan, which plans to revitalize its economy with esports, aiming at $2.6 billion in revenue by 2025. They want to switch from already popular single-player mode to big multiplayer tournaments that attract both fans and sponsors. But that’s not all. They’re also hoping to improve cognitive health for retired people!

Gamers living in Japan, however, should be careful. It’s recommended to use a VPN when accessing any online game. The lack of privacy and various restrictions may not only be a nuisance but also leak sensitive data.

What are the Threats?

As the industry grows and more money is being invested in esports, there is a high risk of cyberattacks. These are particularly harmful to gamers who spend an incredible amount of time playing to be the best at what they love. After all, their income depends on their skills and game achievements. So what are the biggest threats for everyone involved in esports?

Threats for Gamers

Ransomware and illegal cheats such as purchasing aimbots or wallhacks can cause financial loss to the player. Some cybercriminals can put an extra effort to steal account credentials and other data, which means that all in-game valuables and progress will be lost forever.

Threats for Game Providers

If an attack on a gaming company is successful, there will be manifold consequences that will be hard to recover from. Damaged reputation, loss of resources, or using the platform for illegal activities will compromise the integrity and even lead to a financial disaster.

Threats for Tournaments Organizers

The most common practices are the DDoS attacks, which cause connectivity interruptions, loss of game time, and performance issues. Cybercriminals also like to exploit servers. Such an event will simply be a failure.

Threats for Fans

The biggest threat is faced by people who show up at the event’s venue. They all bring their mobile phones and most likely connect to public WiFi. The effect? A large group of people is exposed to a cyberattack.

Cybersecurity is More Important Than Ever

It is more than certain that the esports industry will become an even bigger target in the next few years. Game providers and event organizers need to be aware of this risk and come up with state-of-the-art security measures that will be tough to surpass.

Luckily, they’re already on the lookout for new tools. And while cybersecurity is crucial in all digital industries, esports seem to bring a lot to the table. It paves the way for cybersecurity careers and attracts tech-savvy individuals to seek weak spots in the security infrastructure. There are even bug bounty programs available online.

How to Protect Yourself?

Cybersecurity is the priority today, and even though you may be protecting your online activity to some extent, it doesn’t mean you can rely on “default” measures alone. Take cybersecurity into your hands, and here’s how:

  1. Enable two-factor authentication on every app that uses your sensitive data.
  2. Make sure to update your devices and apps.
  3. Use password managers. This way, you can set up or generate a different password for every account, minimizing the risk of being hacked.
  4. Buy a VPN subscription and use it at all times, especially when connecting to a public hotspot.
  5. Manage your social media information wisely. It’s better to keep the account private.

Remember that cybersecurity is a serious threat that doesn’t apply to the esports industry alone. By taking a reasonable and responsible approach, you will protect yourself against any attack.

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Alex Mcalpine
Alex graduated from UWO with a degree in journalism. He is a Battle Royale and FPS guru. He often reads 'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner' as he is ranked in the top 100 on the PUBG leaderboards. Alex is also an Overwatch and CoD expert. You can learn more about Alex via our About page.