Following the recent leakage revealing how hyper-popular game Roblox moderates content, cybersecurity experts from antivirus provider Kaspersky has shared a few insights on what cyber threats can harm users, and especially children, in the online gaming space and how these users can protect themselves.
The leaked documents give insight into the targeting of children by predators on the platform and how the platform attempts to fight child grooming.
Additionally, one issue identified in the documents is that although Roblox’s systems scan 100 percent of submitted abuse reports, only around 10 percent of those are actionable. This suggests that even on a gaming platform, where content is moderated, there remain a large number of risks for children when they game online.
Roblox is an online gaming platform that allows users to create their own game simulations and virtual locations, where they can play in different locations themselves or invite other users. There are both harmless and very popular locations, where users can choose a pet and take care of it or go through an obstacle course with their characters. The genres of such games are almost unlimited and the number of daily active users was 50 million by the end of 2021, most of which were school-aged children.
However, in the game world they may also meet fraudsters, who can either be members of the selected playthrough or even be its authors.
Threats from them can come both inside the game world – they often show aggression, deception or intimidation. For example, the theme of the Roblox game world might be used to create phishing resources in order to steal login and password from the account and further withdraw funds from the victim; or under the guise of in-game currency (Robux) users can be offered to register with a real name or pay for a “no-lose lottery,” participation in which will bring nothing but loss of money.
Here are 7 safety rules to help not only protect your data but also protect your little ones who are gaming online:
- Do not share your real name, place of residence, school, or other personal information that can help attackers identify you in the real world. Definitely do not share any financial details either. This a good general rule for whenever you are online. Try to be as anonymous as possible.
- Only try chat with those users who you know personally, but in online gaming it is impossible to not chat with others. Keep the above rule in mind at all times and try to not reveal too much personal information about yourself.
- You have the power when in-game and games are meant to be fun. You don’t have to chat to people you don’t want to and there will usually be features in place to block or ignore others. Take advantage of these if conversations start not being fun. Keep in mind that you don’t know who is on the other end of the conversation and you can never really trust them.
- Use a complex and unique password and always end the session at the end of the game, especially if you choose to connect from an unfamiliar device. Don’t forget to use two-factor authentication when it is made available.
- Roblox, specifically, is using an internal content monitoring system and if you come across any unwanted ads, cheating, online grooming, different types of harassment, or aggression towards you or other users you should report it to the moderators.
- Critically evaluate the information you encounter in the game world. Abusers may use a variety of techniques, including social engineering. For example, they may offer you a reward in the form of in-game currency (Robux) for detailed information about yourself. If someone offers you this, then in all likelihood it’s cheating, and the fraudster clearly has their “own interests”.
- When on PC, take advantage of antivirus solutions and parental control programs to be sure that your child can use the Internet safely.
“Although Roblox has a system of content moderation, you should not rely on it completely. It can be especially dangerous for school children, who due to their lack of experience may not be aware of many cybersecurity rules,” comments Andrey Sidenko, Lead web content analyst at Kaspersky.