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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Why Cybersecurity is an Important Issue for the eSports Industry

By JACK WARNER - Beware of the cybersecurity risks you are exposed to.

ESports, the center of entertainment for gamers everywhere. Whether you’re into watching a Smash player eradicate the will of their opponent or witnessing a professional Counter-Strike player clutch a match, eSports has it all.

And while I could go on about the intrinsic nature of the eSports industry, I’d talk about the issues plaguing it. I speak of the cybersecurity issues that haunt fans and professional players alike.


The first cybersecurity issue haunting the industry is that of cheats. There are just so many cheats in competitive games. You don’t have to look too hard to find videos of wallhacks in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or aimbots in Call of Duty.

Them being everywhere ruins the sanctity of the concept of eSports. I’m sure professionals have used them before. As a matter of fact, according to Polygon, a Counter-Strike pro did get caught using cheats, causing his entire team to be barred from future games, killing the team entirely.

But there are far more problems in the eSports industry than just cheats. Let’s take a moment to talk about the act of stealing/selling accounts.


In the competitive scene, your account holds everything: Your stats, your items, your entire success. If it’s stolen, it not only poses a risk to your privacy and security, but also your career as a professional player.

And if stealing wasn’t enough, some people even sell stolen accounts, giving unprofessional players an edge. Not only that, but the stats of the account tell a different story compared to the buyer’s actual skill level.

Last—but certainly not least—is the act of hacking. Don’t get hacking confused with cheating. Well, not the type of hacking I’m talking about. The eSports industry has suffered from hacks before, namely back in 2016, when the ESEA (E-Sports Entertainment Association) got hacked, causing 1.5 million player profiles to be leaked and compromised.

So, we’ve concluded that—from a cybersecurity standpoint—the eSports industry has a lot of problems. Hacks, cheats, and the selling of stolen accounts plagues an industry that should be focused on entertaining millions of people, especially during this tumultuous time.

But if the industry won’t prevent these issues, then we have to. So what ways can we protect ourselves from the intrinsic cybersecurity flaws found in the eSports industry? For one, I recommend using some sort of software that encrypts your data and keeps your presence online anonymous—something like a VPN for secure and fast gaming.

However, as much as I’d like it to, a VPN won’t solve all of our eSports woes. But there are other ways, namely refusing to give out any personal information.

In this day and age, many fans look to professional players as more than celebrities; they look to them as friends. But this isn’t really the case, and you should refrain from handing out any personal information to fans. Doing so is a one way trip to having your account stolen, or worse!

Lastly, I recommend you don’t use cheats or hacks of any kind. I know. To most of you, this seems like an obvious recommendation, but there are some people out there that need to be told so. Not only is buying cheats no fun but the sites that sell them like to package malware or viruses with them, infecting your device and stealing your information. Not only did you ruin other people’s time, but you also ruined yours as well.

The eSports industry is littered with problems, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. Hopefully, in the next few years, the major organizations will take steps to improve the industry and help protect their players.



Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on topics such as whistleblowing and cybersecurity tools.


It's not just eSports players. Hackers target all gamers!

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