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Scams on the rise as mobile dominates the gaming landscape

Scams on the rise as mobile dominates the gaming landscape

Think of cybercrime and your mind goes to phishing emails, malware attacks on your PC and so on. Mobile gaming is an area that has been reasonably safe from cybercriminals, or at least so it has seemed. However, with mobile now accounting for more than 50% of all gaming revenue in an industry that turns over hundreds of billions of dollars every year, it was always inevitable that the scammers would come back to it sooner or later.

Here, we will look at some scams that are loose in cyberspace, including one that provides a cautionary tale to any bargain hunters out there and another that is a bad gamble that Australian online casino gamers, in particular, need to be aware of.

Cracked games – you get what you pay for

The number of free games that are available to download these days is absolutely awesome. But still, the fact remains that the biggest and most in-demand titles will have a premium price tag. The annual chaos that accompanies the release of each new FIFA game springs to mind, as does the hype that accompanies the new release of a game like Grand Theft Auto.

Of course it is tempting to click the link when you see someone offering a cracked version of a game like this for free. But it is the online equivalent of taking candy from strangers. You really don’t know what you have just been given, and the chances are high that you are installing a whole pile of malware onto your phone along with the game.

The answer is obvious. If you only install games from legitimate sources like the Play Store or App Store, the risk evaporates. If cost is prohibitive, the alternative is to stick with an older version of the game. With a title like Football Manager, that really makes a lot of sense and the upgrades from one year to the next are not immense, and as soon as a new version comes out, the previous one is available at a heavily discounted rate.

Credential stuffing is easy for casino gamers to avoid

A particular concern among mobile casino players in Australia, credential stuffing is when a criminal gains access to your account by obtaining login information. Although Australian online casinos use the latest security and encryption, users still need to avoid laziness and repeated use of the same passwords. Credential stuffing is also a risk with real money games in other parts of the world, but Australian casino players are a particular target for two reasons.

The first is that online casino adoption is happening faster in Australia than almost any other market. The number of Australian online casino players increased by about 50 percent from 2020 to 2021, and when the final figures are released for 2022, they are likely to tell a similar story. This means there are a lot of inexperienced novices out there. Secondly, Australia does not license online casinos to operate. Players have to use offshore sites, and some are more secure than others. It’s vital to take advice from an independent expert like Australia Online Casino Sites, referenced above.

So what is credential stuffing exactly? Essentially, it involves fraudsters using leaked usernames and passwords to access your online gaming account. This can include any payment cards that you have stored there. The most effective way to protect yourself is to use casino platforms that have best-in-class security and to always use different usernames and passwords for your various online accounts.

Public networks present unknowable risks

For most mobile games, you need to be online. When you are gaming on the go, the proliferation of public WiFi services in shopping malls, coffee shops and other public places can be a real boon, especially if your mobile coverage is not the best. The downside is that you have no guarantees as to how secure the free Wi-Fi service might be, or who might be monitoring the traffic on it. Cybercriminals have been known to use software that allows them to spy on public network users, or you could even fall foul of a dishonest network administrator.

This is a prime example of when a VPN can make a lot of sense. It adds an extra level of encryption, making your online experience far safer when using public WiFi. A good quality gaming VPN can bring other benefits, too, such as avoiding price discrimination on certain games that are priced differently from one market to the next.

Remember what they say about a free lunch

Some scammers seek to seduce gamers with attractive offers of upgrades and in-game tokens. This is similar in concept to the offers of cracked games, but can seem legitimate as it comes from within the game’s ecosystem and community.

The end result, however, is the same. There is no such thing as a free lunch, even if it is a virtual one. Stick to official channels for marketplace transactions and never reveal personal information to other players, however convincing they might sound.

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