Cybersecurity solutions company Trend Micro Inc. announced the findings of new research predicting multiple cyberthreats to the fast-growing esports sector. Though cybercriminals have been targeting the gaming community since 2010, esports players, gaming companies, sponsors and viewers will be more at risk over the coming years from data theft, ransomware, DDoS, hardware hacks and cybercrime-as-a-service.
The esports industry has grown rapidly in popularity over recent years and is projected to reach $1.7 billion in revenue by 2021. It has also evolved to include a professional sporting league, with stadiums selling out to host competitions and top players earning millions. This growth is attractive for financially motivated criminals.
“If there’s one thing we know about malicious actors, it’s that they follow the money,” said Jon Clay, director of global threat communications for Trend Micro. “Trend Micro has already observed financially motivated groups taking advantage of security gaps to target the gaming industry for financial gain and we expect the same in esports. As esports becomes a billion-dollar industry, it’s inevitable that attackers will look to capitalize over the coming years. We predict the sector will experience the same kind of attacks as the gaming industry, but on a much larger scale, with financially motivated actors getting involved for monetary and geopolitical reasons.”
Based on this research, Trend Micro predicts cybercriminals will ramp up their efforts to make money from ransomware aimed at sponsors and players, DDoS-for-hire services, breaches of personal information (PII), services to illegally boost gaming scores, and stolen gaming accounts. Weak password and authentication security, which is already enabling widespread account takeover, will continue to play a role in making these attacks possible.
The impacts from breaches, ransomware, DDoS and other attacks on gaming companies and sponsors can be severe, leading to damaged brand reputation and revenue loss. The servers used by companies to host valuable gaming assets are a prime target for exploitation by hackers.
To protect these valuable assets, the esports industry should leverage a multi-layered defense system to protect servers and virtually patch known vulnerabilities.