If you’ve been paying any attention to the world of streaming and online gaming in recent years, you’ve probably heard about the growing trend of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. These, alongside ATOs (account takeovers), are all too common tools of aggression, deployed by certain agitators within the gaming ecosystem. But did you know that these are crimes and that UK Law Enforcement have identified them as potential gateways into low level cyber crime?
In fact, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) warn that both DDoS and ATO attacks could be serious enough offences to result in a criminal record or even a prison sentence. Both of these offences fall under the Computer Misuse Act (opens in new tab).
There’s a common misconception of gaming as the wild west of the internet, where hackers and offenders are anonymous in their ability to launch cyber attacks on select targets. But law enforcement takes a keen interest in both investigating cyber offences and preventing potential young offenders from engaging in this kind of activity in the first place. For example, if you find yourself victim to an online attack when gaming, you can head over to the Action Fraud website to report it, this report will then be directed to the most appropriate agency to deal with. If you are a business, charity or other organisation which is currently suffering a live cyber attack (in progress), call 0300 123 2040 immediately.
Of course, there are also some preemptive steps that the NCA advises gamers to take in order to protect themselves from these kind of cybercrimes. Use three random words to create a strong, separate password for each of your accounts, add numbers and symbols for extra security, for example 3redhousemonkeys27! More and more games are also offering two-factor authorisation for your accounts too, so make use of that whenever you can.
If you’re interested in hearing more about how cybercrime is impacting upon gamers, members of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit and their police colleagues will be attending this year’s EGX convention in October, and will be happy to talk to anyone about this subject. Online gamers deserve to feel safe when engaging with their favourite hobby and a more educated, cyber-vigilant community of players is the first step to making it even safer.
To learn more about the work of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, and their work to prevent youngsters getting involved in cyber crime, you can read their full report on Pathways into Cyber Crime here.