So, you've decided to play
something new. First you need to download it. There's no shortage of options,
but not all of them are safe.
A simple rule to help avoid danger is to buy and download games only from official stores. You probably know the big ones already.
The main advantage of large official stores is security: they care about their reputation and check what's on their platforms. In addition, it's more convenient when you can get all the games you need from just one or several services.
A good example of how security and convenience still rule is Epic Games and their mega-hit Fortnite. To begin with, the company avoided uploading the game to Google Play, encouraging Android users to buy it on its own official website. However,
when they couldn't find the game on Google Play, some users often went straight to third-party resources inhabited by cybercriminals. Instead of Fortnite, they ended up downloading malware to their phone. Even if gamers did go to the game's
official website, to install the game they had to enable downloading from third-party sources on their device. After installation, some forgot to disable it again, leaving the door open to malware and cybercriminals.
In short, the company's decision caused a heap of trouble, so in spring 2020 Epic Games backtracked and made
Fortnite available on Google Play. As for the App Store, the game was there from the start, for the simple reason that there's no other way to install it on a non-jailbroken or non-corporate iPhone.
Now imagine you're scrolling through your favorite gaming forum and see the message: "Forum users, hey there! Insider info: Ubisoft's got a new game out! Want to try? Download the beta version via this link!" Sounds tempting? You bet. But the link
is best avoided. It's very likely to point not to the official site and the game, but to malware that allows cybercriminals to take over your device. For example, it might draft your computer into a botnet that sends out spam or attacks company
servers. Or simply display incessant ads.
Another scenario: you receive an email bearing the Steam logo and offering an add-on for your favorite game (with a corresponding link, of course). Clicking it most likely takes you to a fake website asking for your Steam credentials — not for you
to log in, but to hijack your account. Classic phishing no less.
The bottom line is simple: don't download games via links in emails or messages on social networks, instant messengers, or forums. Otherwise you risk falling victim to phishing or picking up malware. We talk more about these threats in our cybersecurity
fundamentals course. Check it out when you have a moment if you haven't already!
Sure, there are far more online game stores than those we listed above, including many trustworthy ones. There are also marketplaces where you can buy digital keys to activate games on the aforementioned Steam. The problem is that it's difficult to
distinguish a little-known bona fide store from a malicious one. What's more, scammers even use well-known marketplaces. And they don't even have to get you to follow a link: you simply enter your card details, pay up, and receive a useless code
or nothing at all in return. Conclusion: it's better not to mess around with third-party sites, even for the sake of cheap keys.
Now you know where it's safe to buy games. As for getting a good deal and saving money, that's the topic of the next lesson.
Which method of downloading games is considered safe?
links in forums