Getting Hacked Through a Video Game

Getting Hacked Through a Video Game

Categories: Infographic

Gaming might allow you to let off steam, interact with friends online, and escape reality for a little while. But unfortunately, it can also put you at risk for online hacks and scams. To find out how gamers can best protect themselves from pesky online thieves, we interviewed more than 1,000 American gamers about their experiences with cybersecurity.

Are certain consoles more prone to getting hacked than others? What kind of data is most commonly compromised? How do gamers increase their online security, and how do they react when their defenses don’t hold up? Read on to learn more about how hacks affect the gaming world.

Key takeaways

  • Two in three Americans have been hacked while playing video games.
  • Gamers believe PlayStation is the most secure gaming console.
  • More than half of gamers would rather use cheat codes than be secure while gaming.
  • Xbox users are most likely to get hacked (86%), fall victim to email phishing scams (76%), and risk using possibly unsafe cheat codes (64%).
  • Xbox users have the worst security habits while gaming: They were often the least likely to take security precautions to prevent cyber breaches when compared to other users.

Prone to hacking

Depending on your preferred console, you may be more susceptible to hackers than others. Let’s see which gamers might spend more time locked out of their systems than playing on them.

prone to hacking

Getting hacked while playing video games is quite common, with two-thirds of respondents having experienced it at least once. But PC users were the gamers most likely to fly under the radar. Almost half of them (46%) have never experienced a hack or scam. On the other hand, Xbox users were the most likely to be targeted, with nearly one-quarter of users getting hacked or scammed six or more times.

As one of the most popular gaming platforms, Xbox is frequently targeted by hackers. Gen Zers may want to tighten up on their cybersecurity while gaming. As the biggest Xbox fans, they could be more susceptible to hacks. 

what data was compromised when you were hacked

Gamers who have been victims of cyber hacks most often had their email addresses compromised (53%). For nearly half of them, it was their phone number (48%) and, perhaps most alarmingly, their payment data (45%) and financial accounts (43%). Some had their social media account access compromised (36%). Getting locked out of any account is a hassle, and since the most common data breaches are stolen logins, keeping passwords safe and secure is paramount.

That’s especially true when your data has a price tag. Overall, the average value of our respondents’ compromised data was $330. PC gamers reported losses almost $50 more than average. It’s a good thing that so few of them have experienced a hack, according to our survey results.

Protecting gaming accounts

Gamers use multiple strategies to prevent hackers from accessing their sensitive information. Let’s see which ones are the most common.

leveling up security

The top cybersecurity strategy used by nearly all gamers was multiple-character passwords. The one exception to this was Xbox users, who were more likely to rely on thinking twice before clicking links and keeping their software up to date than multiple-character passwords. However, they were also most often the least likely of any gamers to take extra precautions against cyber breaches.

Could this be why the Xbox users we surveyed have suffered the most hacks? One thing is for sure: The gamers who have never been hacked were the ones most likely to have taken all the security precautions listed above. No matter how you game, you’re better off checking all those boxes.

We also asked gamers how familiar they are with different types of cyber breaches. Only 38% knew what a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack meant. A DDoS attack uses multiple systems to block a service from being delivered. This breach can look like a legitimate flood of internet traffic that’s so large it overwhelms the service’s system so that real users can’t access it.

Fortunately, more than half of gamers knew about phishing techniques (55%). An example of phishing is when a scammer sends a fake email that looks like it’s from a legitimate retailer, usually making an attractive offer. If the recipient clicks the link, they are redirected to a spoofed web page where they’re asked to submit sensitive information. In general, phishing involves tricking people into revealing sensitive information.

cheat codes and hacking

With so many tactics used by hackers to steal gamers’ valuable data, it’s critical that gamers use even more methods to keep their information safe. Gamers will do almost anything to get an edge over their competitors. Unfortunately, much of this motivation is misdirected; more than half of those surveyed said cheat codes are more important than cybersecurity while gaming.

The gamers most likely to share that sentiment were Xbox users and Gen Zers, indicating yet again that these groups are the most lax when it comes to protecting their data while gaming. All gamers should take care when chasing after cheat codes to boost their performance. Hackers have figured out how to attach malware to cheat codes that can steal your personal information. Take a lesson from previous victims: 65% of respondents who have been hacked while gaming were more concerned with cheat codes than their online safety.

Now what?

However half-hearted their security efforts might have been, how do gamers react when they’re notified of a data breach? Next, we’ll look at how it affected their behavior going forward.

what to do after a data breach

Gamers’ most common reaction after a data breach was to change their passwords immediately (62%). The gamers most likely to do so were Nintendo users and those who had never experienced a breach. Other common responses were to keep a close eye on financial accounts, lock important accounts immediately, and monitor credit reports.

Compromised data also led many gamers to switch to a different gaming console (68%). Xbox users were most likely to react this way (78%), whereas PlayStation users remained the most loyal to their gaming platform (61%). That’s reasonable, considering almost one-third of respondents said PlayStation is the most secure console (more than any other gaming platform).

On the other hand, Nintendo only got 10% of the vote for the console least prone to security breaches. That might be due to the compromise of 300,000 Nintendo accounts two years ago, exposing users’ account names, email addresses, locations, and birthdates. Hopefully, this has inspired gamers to be more vigilant and Nintendo to update its security protocols.

Game responsibly

Though gaming immerses you in a virtual world, the dangers of real life still exist—especially for Xbox users and Gen Zers, if they don’t improve their security efforts. Compromised email addresses and phone numbers are a nuisance, but the consequences can be far worse when sensitive financial data gets hacked. Strong passwords are a common tactic for preventing this, but it’s not always enough.

No matter how careful you are with what you click on and download, hackers can find a way to steal gamers’ personal information. For the best chance at keeping your sensitive data out of the hands of criminals, you’ll need to take all these security measures and more.


For this campaign, we surveyed 1,009 Americans who play video games daily or almost every day. Among them, 40% were women, and 60% were men. The generational breakdown is as follows: 25% Gen Z, 35% millennials, 25% Gen X, and 15% baby boomers. For short, open-ended questions, outliers were removed. To help ensure all respondents took our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3%, with a 95% confidence interval.

About Beyond Identity

Beyond Identity offers passwordless MFA to keep your online information as safe and secure as possible.

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