A new report from Norton has revealed female Aussie gamers are consistently choosing gaming over other activities, including going on a date (69 per cent), attending a sporting event or concert (67 per cent), or attending a friend or family member’s birthday party (63 per cent). Astonishingly, two in five (43 per cent) gamers would rather spend time gaming than go on a vacation!
New research from the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report: Special Release – Gaming & Cybercrime, has revealed the online gaming world is more evenly represented by the genders today, with females making up almost half of gamers and 59% of players are aged 35 or older. As well, close to a third of Australian gamers (31%) admitting they started online gaming during COVID-19 so it’s clear the pandemic has had an effect.
Contrary to popular belief, gaming isn’t without its benefits. The majority of respondents (79 per cent) report experiencing positive impacts, most notably that for female gamers it helped to decrease anxiety or stress (55 per cent) or helped them make new friends online (32 per cent).
Senior Director APAC NortonLifeLock Mark Gorrie, has some advice for gamers, saying: “The results of this report highlight how Australians are embracing gaming, yet many willingly put their personal data literally on-the-line – and this applies to Australians who game occasionally, let’s say on a Friday night, but also those identifying as ‘hardcore gamers’.
“We would encourage gamers to rethink how they approach online safety and implement measures to bolster their online security – it’s worth bearing in mind that devices are often linked to other people’s data within their home or family, so taking risks can have wider repercussions,” he adds.
“While Australian gamers are the first to admit to not being sufficiently vigilant when it comes to protecting their cyber safety, having security that specifically helps protect against threats can give players peace of mind so they can focus on the enjoyment of the game itself,” Mark says.
But while online gaming continues to be enjoyed, the survey found that Australian gamers are engaging in risky behaviours when it comes to protecting their cyber safety.
Despite more than two in three or 69% of Australian gamers surveyed saying they would never fall for a gaming scam, here are some of the risky actions which Norton says should be avoided:
- Using the same username (55%) or password (52%) for more than one gaming account or device.
- Sharing personal information – for example their name or birthday – while playing a game online (38%).
- Using public Wi-Fi to play games online (33%).
- Nearly half (49%) agree they haven’t given much thought, if any, to the security of their gaming devices.
Gamers admitted they would take risky actions to gain an advantage
Additionally, gamers admitted to being willing to take actions which could compromise the security of themselves or others simply to gain a competitive edge. Of those surveyed, two in five would consider paying an in-game one-off or monthly fee (45%), exploiting a loophole or bug in a game (43%) or even paying for modification software for their game (40%), if it gave them a competitive advantage.
While most Australian gamers surveyed (77%) say they trust gaming companies to manage and protect their personal information, a much smaller subset (21%) have high levels of trust placing their data in the hands of such companies. In fact, the large majority of gamers (80%) feel that gaming companies should do a lot more to secure their platforms and products.
42% of gamers have experienced some form of cyber attack
While expressing the desire for gaming companies to do more to protect them, the results showed 42% of Australian gamers surveyed have experienced some form of attack to their gaming account with 13% suffering the unfortunate fate of having an account stolen. As well, 23% of gamers surveyed have been tricked into compromising their personal security, either to install malware on a gaming device (13%) or sharing account information online (13%).
Notably, nearly 1 in 10 gamers have been doxed, with personal information stolen and posted or shared publicly online without their consent.
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