PC gamers increasingly under attack

Many gamers either disable their security or remove it altogether, thereby sacrificing protection to maximize system performance and leaving themselves vulnerable to gaming-focused malware and cyber-attacks, according to a new study by Webroot.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly half of gamers have experienced an online attack, with 55 percent of the attacks resulting in slow-down in system performance and impacted browser behavior.
  • 35 percent of PC gamers have either no security or just rely on free diagnostics or clean up tools.
  • Trojans, phishing and rootkits ranked top attacks against PC gamers.
  • “Effectiveness” and “does not slow down system performance” ranked as the most important security program characteristics for gamers considering a security solution.
  • “Proven performance results” was identified as the top influencer when trying a security program, above “recommendation from a pro gamer” or “free trial,” indicating that gamers require proven protection that will allow systems to run at the speed modern gaming demands.
  • Web forums and fellow gamers are top sources to get information about Internet security.

The new report is based on survey responses gathered from more than 1,200 gamers during the E3 2014 Conference. It concluded that while a third of gamers do not use a security program – citing gameplay, slowdown and too many alerts and interruptions as key factors – 47 percent have experienced a malware attack.

While running a gaming system without traditional antivirus security can improve gameplay performance, it exposes gamers to higher risk of security threats, including phishing attacks, malware and identity theft.

What can gamers do?

To protect against cybercriminals who are targeting gamers to gain access to their online gaming credentials, and other personal information that can be exploited for profit, Webroot recommends gamers:

Install a cloud-based anti-malware program. This next generation of PC security does not rely on local threat signatures so it provides dramatically superior system performance compared to traditional antivirus software.

Keep antivirus software up-to-date. The previously mentioned cloud-based anti-malware technology is one of the best ways to ensure protection is always current as it does not need threat signature updates.

Use browser-based URL filtering. Warns users before they access a malicious or undesirable website.

Deploy anti-phishing detection. Online gaming credentials are frequently targeted by cybercriminals who can exploit the information for profit.

Avoid free public Wi-Fi. Stick to secure networks whenever you’re gaming on the go.

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