The Merchant Risk Council’s Gamer Safety Week is going strong for its third year, focusing on online gaming’s account safety and security problems. With 72 percent of gamers playing online, according to the NPD Group, this topic is essential for cutting down the amount of cybercrime within the community. It’s frustrating to lose hours of work when an account gets hacked, but hacking also has real world consequences if they get access to personal account information such as your name, address, and credit card number.

Take Advantage of Security Proofs

Ever get asked to tie your phone number or an additional email address to an account when you login? This is a security proof that helps provide another layer of protection to your account that goes beyond basic security questions. If someone attempts to access your account from a different IP address, changes account information, or tries to brute force a password, you receive a notification through phone or email. This notification gives you the chance to deny the change and notify the company that a cyberattack is ongoing.


Some online gaming companies, such as Blizzard, offer software and hardware authenticators that tie in to your account login. Each time you access your account, you generate a passcode with the authenticator and input it to login, in addition to entering your username and password. This helps keep your account safe from cyber attacks reported by Panda Security, who found that millions of gold—the currency used in World of Warcraft—was stolen by hackers utilizing an exploit in the official Armory App and website to get account information.

Vetting Add-Ons

Add-ons are useful scripts that expand game features, enable you to change the user interface, and make it easier to manage large groups of people in raids. However, these scripts are developed by third parties and may end up getting hacked, uploaded on websites that add malware to the installation package, or spoofed. Computer and Videogame Magazine reports that Curse Client, a popular World of Warcraft add-on, was spoofed by hackers and set up on a phishing site designed to look like the original download location. Check popular blogs and add-on download sites for your particular online game to find reviews and feedback on each add-on you’re interested in. In addition, check the add-on files with your anti-virus program before launching the game while it’s active.

Dealing With the Damage

Your account information isn’t the only thing that gets compromised if you do end up falling victim to a hack attack. LifeLock warns on the dangers of identity theft, especially if you have your full name, email address, and physical address associated with your online gaming account. Keep an eye on your credit reports for fraud, and make sure that you don’t use the same username and password combination for other services. Report any suspicious activity on your credit report, bank accounts, and credit cards to the appropriate authorities to minimize the financial impact.