Gaming keyboard with RGB light showing data privacy in gaming industry

If Data Privacy Is Overlooked, It’ll Be a ‘Game-Over’

The game is presently on for the online gaming industry in India. Indeed, it is! Growing by leaps and bounds every year, the online gaming ecosystem in the country has been witnessing a phenomenal boom lately. During the period 2019-20, the industry grew at almost 40%, surpassing the growth of television, OTT and social media platforms. This surging growth has been further triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, which sort of acted like a catalyst, giving the world of gaming the necessary push towards a rapid high. With strict lockdowns in place, people of all ages, including children, took to online gaming in large numbers. Perhaps, gaming diverted their energies and attention, as outdoor movements were largely restricted.

However, alongside this spectacular growth came some perils attached. As the online gaming world began to make a loud noise, it started to draw tremendous interest from the cyberattacking community. A research report by Akamai Technologies reveals that the Indian gaming industry was victim to 12 billion cyberattacks during the period Nov 2017` – March 2019. These numbers have been growing ever since, risking the online safety and security of gamers, leading to a variety of frauds and cheats.

Gamers sharing their critical information online

Needless to say, gamers spend a lot of their valuable time and funds in generating their online identity. They key in their personal information, including their ID, credentials, etc. Also, in the process of buying skin, coins or passes for playing games, their financial information such as credit or debit card details is fed in too. This vast pool of data originating through the gaming sites and apps is increasingly being eyed and toyed by cybercriminals for different illegitimate activities.

The rise of malicious activities

The cyber attackers, by pretending to be gamers, gain complete access to the computers and other devices of the actual players. They dig into their personal information and data, steal and put it into use for illicit purposes. Many a times, even the gamers’ financial accounts are hijacked, draining them of all their funds. According to Norton Cyber Safety Report: Gaming & Cybercrime 2021, three out of every four gamers in India have been victims of a cyberattack at some point. Of these, a majority have borne a severe financial consequence. An IAMAI report states that over 40 percent of Indian gamers are spending an average of ₹230 per month for their games.

Then, there are others who have been victims of downloading malware on their gaming devices.  According to another key report, almost 5% of the new accounts created on online gaming sites are connected to a fraudster.

Need for a safe gaming environment

These growing incidences of data breach and theft has put the industry in a tight spot, hampering its growth to a large extent. If the trend continues, it is certain that the gaming fraternity is going to lose its trust, and the withdrawal could cause a big blow to its survival. Needless to say, a safe gaming environment is the need of the hour, where the importance of data privacy cannot be undermined.

It is important that the Indian gaming industry comes up with some strict data privacy guidelines and regulations to put an end to privacy violation cases. Implementing multi-factor authentication policies across the gaming businesses is also a key step in ensuring safety of user data, even if the cybercriminals get hold of it.

Also, raising the bar of awareness about these rising gaming frauds and attacks is important for their prevention. Efforts must be undertaken to educate the gaming community on the vigilant behaviour required while taking to the online gaming platforms. Users must share their information, only once the credentials of the gaming platform are duly verified.

The future …

Looking ahead, it would be right to say that the gaming industry is certain to witness remarkable growth in times to come. A report by IAMAI states that the Indian gaming market is projected to reach a value of $3.9 billion by 2025.  To keep the momentum going, the introduction of strict cyber safety measures is a must. With proper surveillance and control, ensuring data privacy is not something which cannot be achieved.  However, if it is overlooked, it could be a game-over for the online gaming sector.

 

CEO and CoFounder at Tsaaro