Mobile gaming has been changing players’ lives ever since they tried the basic snake titles. PC and console experiences reserve a special place in people’s hearts, but mobile gaming has its tricks. For instance, it does not require players to be highly committed — you can complete several levels and carry on with your day.
However, modern smartphones have invited complex and challenging titles. Thus, many games exclusively for the bigger screens now became available on Androids and iPhones. Naturally, the number of gamers downloading and playing mobile games spiked, and so did the number of cyber-attacks targeting gamers.
For instance, in 2021, a mobile Trojan virus spread through a fake version of PUBG. It is aimed at stealing victims’ credentials and is not the only copycat aiming to do the same.
Gamers’ accounts can be lucrative loot depending on how much they have spent within the game. Thus, both games and developers should be aware of the potential threats and respond accordingly.
After Installation, Attackers “Sneak” In
Interestingly, most attacks across all platforms focused on gamers include fake video game installations. A vast number of different versions of video games and different modifications are ideal for hiding malicious software. Software posing as games often tries to lure players through phishing pages designed to resemble regular pages in every detail.
Of course, the solution to these problems is to use regular software and avoid modded APKs from third-party sources. Not only does getting games from official sources helps in improving your security, but it also helps development studios to continue working on new games and versions of existing ones.
Pirated versions of games and any software have always come with the price of potential infection, so the first application you should install on your new computer is antivirus software. Before any download, always check its owners and whether they are legitimate.
Do not forget that it is possible to get exposed to promotions for fake games via legitimate platforms. For instance, YouTube ads can include clips for games that don’t exist, are overly exaggerated, or might even have a more sinister purpose. In other cases, even legitimate mobile games can have ads for suspicious titles.
Why You Shouldn’t Download Games from a Pirate Site
Many mobile games are free because they generate revenue in other ways. For instance, ads play an important role in delivering free software, so game owners would receive income. Additionally, game owners might include some performance boosts that players can purchase to upgrade their gaming style.
However, some mobile games do come with a price tag. Thus, malicious individuals can try generating copies of such paid games and lure players into what might seem a fair deal of counterfeit content. Sadly, such apps always present issues, privacy and security wise.
The most common risk for “thrifty” players in counterfeit games is advertising software (adware). With this virus on the smartphone, users will constantly close banners, videos, and browser pages that they did not open.
People who like to play video games on their mobile phones are an ideal target for cybercrime – a miner hidden in a mobile video game can go unnoticed, during which time the mobile phone works for someone else. Cybercriminals have also been known to exploit children-focused games to distribute malware-ridden software.
Many of Today’s Games Are Viral Bait for Attacks
On one occasion, researchers found dozens of malicious apps disguised as mods, many of which were actively downloaded from the Google Play Store.
The game serves as a mask for malware, which reports an error, then tells people to uninstall it, but only removes the icon. The malware continues to operate, trying to steal online bank account login information.
Also, malware can hide in pirated versions of Android mobile phones. Namely, when the game starts, the video game loads slowly, and nothing seems to happen.
The person then gets tired of waiting, thinking that the game is broken, and shuts it off. What happens during that fake boot is data collection – it collects system data and receives further instructions.
Behind familiar titles, cybercriminals collect victims’ email addresses, social media names, login details, and game information. Players can be locked out of their accounts by entering the password on a website that is not the official site.
Providing Payment Card Information for “Verification” Is the Worst Option
The risks faced by players seeking paid games for free are not new or particularly unusual. However, for those who may plead ignorance, a reliable antivirus has the following recommendations: Never trust dubious websites that offer cheap skins, weapons, and other game resources.
Many security companies have warned of the emergence of new viruses masquerading as an advertisement in an application (adware).
In other cases, mobile games can also be nothing but fleeceware. Recently, dozens of apps in the Apple store were determined to be dangerous. Even though they posed under seemingly reliable descriptions, they had a much darker purpose. Instead of threatening users with malware, fleeceware is aggravating due to its hidden fees and charges. Sadly, such apps also included game applications.
Other Risks to Consider
Besides security-related issues, mobile gaming could also be too greedy regarding players’ data. For instance, they might require too many access privileges to your phone. If you do not use microphone or camera features, do not let the app access it. Even if you do, limit this access to the times when software is in active use.
Furthermore, you can download VPN apps to protect your internet connection and safeguard your location details. A Virtual Private Network masks your IP address and prevents web entities or games from knowing your approximate location. Furthermore, it can assist you in mobile gaming by preventing unexcepted speed drops or lags.
There are many malware threats lurking online and in different apps, so you must be careful. To keep your phone safe, you should be cautious about what type of games you install on it, and you should also use antivirus applications on all your devices.