Security firm AVAST Software warns that online gaming is not a risk-free activity:
(PRAGUE, Czech Republic, October 7, 2010) – Games are now a bigger attraction than emails and a recent Nielsen study found that in June of this year, computer users spent more time playing games online (10.2%) than checking email (8.3%). The increased popularity of gaming brings with it greater security risks due to unsafe player behavior and more cyber-criminals following the crowds in pursuit of new victims. As a result, it is more necessary than ever to fully protect computer systems while gaming online. AVAST Software, developers of the avast! antivirus program, looks to raise awareness of this threat and warn consumers of recently infected gaming websites in its monthly “Most Wanted” list.
Gamers are at risk for encountering malware as they access and play online titles because they often disengage virus protection as to not slow response time during play or slow content downloads. This “unprotected gaming behavior” is a gamer response to some antivirus programs hogging computer resources and is a completely unnecessary security risk.
The online gaming market is worth an estimated $15 billion, and there are many different types of websites to assist the gamer, including tutorials, downloading sites and community forums. Following is a sampling of the month’s most infected gaming-related websites:
“Gamers are a susceptible target for hackers because it is assumed that they are preoccupied with the game and not concerned with the security of their computer,” said Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Technical Officer at AVAST Software. “As the gaming industry continues to grow, hackers will inevitably develop more ways to target this massive group. With avast!, gamers can rest easy and focus on their play while we keep their computer and identity protected from attack.”
AVAST Software receives non-stop information about infected sites thanks to its CommunityIQ global network of sensors. The data, taken from the actual web browsing experiences of avast! users, is then used to protect all users by blocking their access to the infected sites. This flow of information responds quickly to seasonal threats as well as those around real-time events.
Gamers can play with digital peace-of-mind by following these four simple tips from AVAST Software:
1. Don’t turn off your AV while playing online games. If you’re online, you are vulnerable.
2. Keep computer applications – including your antivirus program – fully updated.
3. Try the gaming function for uninterrupted concentration. avast! silent/gaming mode is designed to disable distracting pop-ups and other on-screen notifications without degrading security levels.
4. Beware of downloading games through warez sites. This is a known avenue for spreading malware.