Virtual Goods Could be a Security Risk

Internet security has always been a major issue for e-commerce. Often, it feels like it’s getting worse, as more and more hackers wage digital war on both organizations and individuals. Many users remain unprepared; they see hacking as something that will never happen to them.

According to an article by the Washington Post, the use of virtual goods is one of the highest security risks out there. In fact, the Post calls virtual goods one of “the most sought-after commodities in the general hacking scene.”

It’s true that there are some significant security challenges at hand for virtual goods merchants. Scores of malware is in use to acquire digital goods unscrupulously. Many hackers can acquire your passwords, license keys, user names, and other pieces of important data. Attacks have been built for thousands of different online games. The illicit acquisition of virtual goods and accounts has turned into a “multi-billion dollar market.”

While merchants are always fighting to preserve the integrity of their virtual economies and currencies, some do look the other way when it comes to how the goods were acquired. The recent court case that came out of China earlier this month serves as an example. A man was sentenced to three years in prison for the extortion of approximately $15,000 in virtual goods. If he hadn’t been caught, those goods most likely would have been resold.

Despite the danger, the situation could improve in the future with better user education. Many people lack firewalls, updated software, or even virus protection “because they find them inconvenient,” according to the Post. These “internet security best practices” alone are enough to deter most hackers.

As always, consumers should remember best practices like these to keep themselves safe:

  • Install and use a firewall.
  • Use up to date antivirus software and virus definitions.
  • Keep secure and updated passwords.
  • Update your computer with the latest security patches.
  • Don’t open emails or download files from suspicious or unknown sources.
  • Use anti-spyware software.
  • Periodically back up your data.

[image via The Washington Post]