Data Privacy aspects of Online gaming

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Data Privacy aspects of Online gaming
Abhishek Kushwaha 

Data Privacy aspects of Online gaming

The fever of online gaming has taken over people of all ages. The shift from offices to work from home has played a huge role in this shift. These games appeal to all ages. And with these coming to the forefront the privacy concerns have also risen. There is an abundance of choice that exists in the market. Though there are amazing things about online gaming, we can get connected with the whole world and can interact with a lot of people. But these platforms also pose a great risk especially like viruses, identity theft and other attacks.

There are various studies on how these games appeal to people. And it’s surprising that game developers market these games mostly towards minors who actually hold a huge demographic area. And it’s proven that children are also more willing to share their personal data easily. The models for these games are based on collection, use and sharing of personal data. This data is then shared with third parties in exchange for revenue. And there are a lot of hacking issues that arise with these games.

According to the Analyst Nexusguard: “The increase in online gaming attracted attention from attackers, resulting in nearly 77% of cyber attacks targeting online gaming and gambling industries in Q3 2020. More than a third of these entertainment attacks focused on online gaming targets. Nexusguard analysts also reported a 287% increase in total DDoS attacks in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. Online gaming platforms’ sensitivity to latency and availability issues makes them ideal DDoS attack targets, and the online gaming environment is target-rich for perpetrators to capitalize during the pandemic.”

These games as mentioned pose threats both social and technological. These online games, unlike the computer games, compromise  privacy. There are a lot of ways in which these gaming are violating privacy and majorly these include:

  1. Unmonitored Interaction with the User: These games which have a user-to-user communication function allow users to interact, share with the other users. But these interactions are unmonitored and can expose users to various kinds of threats. These threats include but are not limited to sharing of personally identifiable information, phishing, harassment and even identity theft. These also lead to disclosure of passwords, email addresses, login credentials and many other similar information. Online gaming danger also comes from consoles or personal computers. These devices have financial and private data on them and people fail to secure these with anti-viruses. This data is
  1. Sharing of Location: As streaming has become increasingly popular users can share their live gameplays with viewers from around the globe. And many times these consoles and live streaming platforms show the live location of the streamer. And if a cyber criminal gets access to the streamer’s IP address they can hack into the computers and obtain vulnerable information. 
  1. Personal Information on Consoles, Computers and Devices: As already mentioned in brief the consoles, personal computers and other devices pose a huge threat when accessing these online games. The moment online games are accessed these games get access to the device through permissions and this leads to a sharing of private data.
  1. Downloading games and In-game purchasing: with the advent of these games there are a lot of options to buy in-game accessories. And while purchasing these there is a risk of unauthorised access to your financial details. There is also a huge chance that you might introduce a malware or virus in your system. These malicious softwares can spread to the whole network and create unimaginable damage.

It is very clear that there are a lot of privacy problems existing with online gaming. And it is also clear that online games are a clear target for cyber criminals. The issue of cyber security is a big issue in games. The new online games have a higher risk of privacy. And the minors have a bigger risk in this. One has to be diligent while playing these games. But even though these problems are huge still they are not unsolvable. These can be solved with more developments such as  artificial intelligence and it could be made more safer.

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References to Data Privacy aspects of Online gaming

  1. https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/pl/security/news/online-privacy/data-privacy-and-online-gaming-why-gamers-make-for-ideal-targets
  2. https://us-cert.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/gaming.pdf
  3. https://usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/threats/top-7-online-gaming-dangers-facing-kids
  4. https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/technology/mobile-and-digital-devices/digital-devices/gd_gc_201905/
  5. https://ikeepsafe.org/how-online-gaming-impacts-the-privacy-of-students/
  6. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3147068

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