TEMPE, Ariz., Nov. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- NortonLifeLock (NASDAQ: NLOK), a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety, today published the findings of a global study that sheds light on the cyber risks impacting the gaming community.
The 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report: Special Release – Gaming & Cybercrime, conducted by The Harris Poll among more than 700 American adults who currently play online games, found that almost half of American gamers (47%) have experienced a cyberattack to their gaming account or device. Of those, more than three in four (76%) report that they were financially affected as a result, losing a striking $744 on average.
The study also uncovered surprising findings about gamer-to-gamer cyber risks and the great lengths gamers are willing to go to win. Nearly one in four (23%) U.S. gamers are likely to hack into the gaming account of a friend, family member or romantic partner if they knew it would give them a competitive advantage in an online game. This sentiment is more pronounced among hardcore gamers in the U.S., with two in five (42%) agreeing, underscoring serious gamers' tenacious determination to win.
"These findings are jarring, but there are some gamers out there that will do whatever it takes to win," said BigCheeseKIT, gamer and Twitch streamer. "I've learned that when you're gaming online, it's so important to be mindful of who you are friends with online and what information you share. While this is especially true for professional gamers who have that public profile, it's clear this goes for any online gamer."
The competitive drive extends across all types of gamers in the U.S., from casual to hardcore gamers. If they knew it would secure a competitive advantage, about one in four American gamers are likely to exploit a loophole or bug in a game (27%), pay to take possession of another user's gaming account (25%), install cheats to their own gaming account or devices (24%), or hack into the gaming account of a random person (24%).
"Cheats, trainers and exploits can be incredibly alluring for driven gamers," said Darren Shou, Head of Technology, NortonLifeLock. "Scammers know this and will often try to trick gamers into clicking phishing links or downloading malware by touting limited edition items or secret cheat codes that promise to give a competitive boost. If the scam works, gamers might lose their gaming profile, digital assets or personal information. The real competitive advantage is having strong security protection that can thwart these threats and keep gamers in the game."
Additional findings from the study include:
- Struggles with security basics. Many gamers in the U.S. admit to a number of risky online gaming habits, like using the same password for more than one gaming account or device (47%), sharing personal information (e.g., names and birthdays) while playing a game online (39%), or downloading add-ons (e.g., characters, skins, swag, etc.) from a website that was not associated with the game distributor (29%).
- Doxing isn't uncommon. Among Americans gamers who have had a gaming device or account targeted by a cyberattack, one in five have been doxed (21%), or had their personal information stolen and shared publicly online.
- Gaming over everything. The majority of hardcore gamers in the U.S. say they would rather spend time gaming than attending a friend or family member's birthday party (74%), going on a date (68%), or simply spending time with friends or family (55%).
In partnership with The Harris Poll, the report surveyed over 5,300 adults ages 18+ across 8 countries1, including 702 U.S. adults, to explore the Cyber Safety risks gamers face and their online security attitudes and behaviors. To view the study's full results and accompanying visual assets, please visit the press kit.
For gamers looking to take proactive steps to safeguard their accounts and devices from threats, Norton 360 for Gamers offers advanced protection features specifically designed to address their unique security needs without interfering with gameplay. Norton 360 for Gamers offers Game Optimizer to help maximize game performance for a more immersive gameplay experience and Dark Web Monitoring, which scans for gamers' gamer tags, usernames and other personal information on the dark web. For more information, please visit us.norton.com/products/norton-360-for-gamers.
About the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report: Special Release – Gaming & Cybercrime
The research was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of NortonLifeLock among 5,327 adults aged 18+ who currently play online games that require them to create an account and provide personal information (referred to in this report as "gamers"). The survey was conducted August 24 through September 14, 2021 in Australia (n=704), France (n=701), Germany (n=701), India (n=703), Japan (n=606), New Zealand (n=505), the United Kingdom (n=705), and the United States (n=702). Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, and household income to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
About NortonLifeLock Inc.
NortonLifeLock Inc. (NASDAQ: NLOK) is a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety, protecting and empowering people to live their digital lives safely. We are the consumer's trusted ally in an increasingly complex and connected world. Learn more about how we're transforming Cyber Safety at NortonLifeLock.com.
1 Australia, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States.