Malware, Trojans, and adware aren’t the only dangers lurking on video game pirating sites. While we understand the temptation of illegally downloading the game from a torrent, the consequences simply aren’t worth the risk.
As long as the internet gaming community shows the need for cracked games, unlicensed copies of apps, and other pirated goodies, hackers will continue to target it with their latest cyberattacks.
Each time you visit an illegal site that offers you to download pirated games for free, you’re exposing your private information and all the data you have on your device to cybercrime and the risk of getting your devices hacked. Here are some of the most important reasons why gamers should stay away from pirated games.
You risk being exposed to a range of cyberattacks
Gamers looking for the easiest ways to get a game mostly end up with downloaded pirated games that offer something a little extra apart from the games themselves.
This little extra surprise can be anything from unexpected apps, malware, adware, spyware, and ransomware to all sorts of viruses, etc. Therefore, instead of downloading the game you wanted to play, you can end up with an infected computer and data loss. Recent news revealed that crypto-mining malware travels via pirated games. Thus, it is better to never give in to the temptation of getting games for free. It is a dangerous path that might lead to the loss of data and resources.
All gaming pirates are well aware of all sorts of adware and the things they can do. While adware isn’t that dangerous or too harmful, it can cause many issues to your system. In addition, it can also be extremely annoying.
Once it finds its way into your smartphone or desktop, you’ll find yourself constantly having to close unresponsive browser pages, pop-up videos, banners, and so on.
There are far worse things than adware in the dark places of the internet, and crypto miners are among the worst threats that pirating gamers face. Since modern games require top-notch hardware and software rigs, gamers are simply perfect targets for cryptocurrency freeloaders.
These cybercriminals are after the latest video cards and high-end computing machines. Pirated games are simply perfect for concealing crypto miners due to high system requirements. And before you know it, your computer is mining cryptocurrencies for a malicious third party without you even noticing.
Most gaming enthusiasts turn to official, specialized game stores such as Steam to get official game releases. However, you won’t find a virus-free Resident Evil remake or the latest Minecraft crack in official stores.
That’s why greedy gamers use search engines to get their hands on various illegal copies of the games they’re after. What they don’t know is that hackers know this and are biding their time by creating countless fake websites offering unlocked game versions, cracks, free keys, and so on. In many cases, these websites contain fake download buttons that never lead to anything positive and safe.
The problem is that all these offerings are infected with all sorts of malware, including Trojans. Cybercriminals push these infected files onto the first page of search results.
Once the files are downloaded, the moment a user starts using those files, they infect all devices with spyware, Trojans, ransomware, malware, etc., stealing the user’s data, passwords, desktop files, credentials, and everything else stored on a device.
If everything aforementioned isn’t enough for you to understand all the dangers of downloading pirated games, we have another one in store for you – phishing attacks. Cybercriminals are using phishing attacks to exploit your need for freebies.
Each time you see free in-game currency, loads of freebies, bundles of top games at a full price discount, or free invites to the world’s top-class gaming tournaments, you should know something is fishy.
Phishing attacks usually hide behind most popular game titles such as Pokemon Go, GTA Online, and FIFA 21. Cybercriminals use them to harvest gamers’ game info, login credentials, social network names, email addresses that they can use for their own purposes or simply sell on the dark web. In some cases, these emails could tempt you with free in-game currency. You must be strong and resist such bizarre offers.
There are a variety of ways to download games without exposing yourself to any risk. Here are some tips on how to practice safe gaming:
- Download games from official stores only.
- Avoid buying games from bizarre locations like forums or random pages.
- Learn how to protect your accounts on gaming platforms like Twitch, Discord, Origin, Battle.net, and Steam. Many of them offer two-factor authentication, allowing you to protect your device from unauthorized access even further.
- Check the security features on the platforms you use.
- Always try to download the platform’s official app.
- Use a VPN for gaming when going online and downloading anything. It adds a layer of security and increases your anonymity and privacy online. Additionally, a VPN can prevent ISP throttling, which might disrupt your online gaming experience.
- Use a reputable antivirus program on all your devices and never disable it.
Overall, please remember that downloading pirated content is illegal. So, you not only risk your security but mayend up paying hefty fines. Thus, skip the pirated content and always choose official sources for getting new games.