Nearly half of gamers have paid for in-game features through unofficial or insecure sources, whilst one in ten had knowingly turned off their internet security to improve their gaming experience, according to new research from Kaspersky Lab.

David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, an antivirus and internet security software company, said: “I think really the key here is we can’t necessarily expect people in the heat of the moment to be thinking about this stuff.

“That’s why it’s really important that anybody who’s involved in gaming thinks about this upfront and therefore thinks about protecting their computer, thinks about the potential danger of links that might come to them in messages.”

Dr. Dimitrios Tsivrikos, consumer and business psychologist at UCL, added: “I think with everyday other behaviours like driving or eating, we’ve had an education throughout our life in terms of what the positives and negatives are for either one. When it comes to gaming, especially online gaming, it’s quite important to start getting to know what the implications are.”

Whilst caught up in an online world, users can become complacent when it comes to scams or criminals. Around 27 per cent polled admitted they had clicked a link sent to them online by another player of a game on the web.

Emm commented: “When we get in a car we expect manufacturers to build in safety features, we expect road designers to engineer the roads to be as safe as possible, but equally as individuals we have a responsibility to be safe behind the wheel of a car and have thought about what the risks are.

“One of the dangers with security protection is that if there’s a pop up message, and it might just be something as simple as saying there’s an update available or it’s been a week since you scanned your computer, actually it can really interfere with the game, take it from full screen mode down to a window level.”

Whilst gamers can experience pop ups and false update reminders, they can also be at risk from other players acting maliciously within games. According to the research 24 per cent said they had experienced other players asking suspicious questions about personal information. There were 17 per cent that had been asked specifically for financial information.

Tsivrikos said: “I’m very much in line with what David said but I think consumers and individuals also have an almost duality – ‘what is my responsibility’ and being aware that they might be chatting or playing with people they don’t know.

“I think there’s a great need to understand and engage with platforms that are clever enough to accommodate a gaming mode. So consumers need to take responsibility as well as being aware of the individuals they might be conversing with when they’re playing a game.”

The research also highlighted poor efforts by millennials to protect their data, as 77 per cent used the same passwords for multiple accounts, despite being branded a tech savvy generation.

Dr Tsivrikos explained: “Psychologically speaking there are two key reasons why millennials are a lot more blasé about this. There is overexposure; the more we are exposed to something the more relaxed about it we are becoming. So this is a generation that was practically born in that climate and uses the web for all sorts of actions; to shop, to study, to learn, to travel.

“The second part is overconfidence. People get over confident when they’re dealing with a platform, and that leads to poor decision making, because if you’re over-confident you’re not actually careful as to what your actions may entail.

“That can lead to people making bad decisions, making dangerous decisions. So where we should celebrate millennials for being tech savvy, that doesn’t mean safe. People are overconfident and they don’t calculate the risk or associate it with gaming.”

Emm added: “Although the survey showed that this generation is more blasé than some of the older generations, we know that this is a fairly universal problem, the one about passwords.

“I think what’s happened really over time is that compared even to 15 years ago, there are so many more attempts that we need to think about passwords for, and it get very hard to do it and therefore there’s always the temptation to cut corners.”

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