Animal Crossing: Your Happy Island or a Cyber Criminal's Paradise?

Why do the cyber criminals want to ruin the best game ever invented? Okay, so I might be biased but Animal Crossing is the most fun and relaxing game in the universe! Nintendo couldn’t have released it at a better time during this pandemic. I mean, their latest console is literally sold out everywhere, unless of course you want to pay double or triple the price for one.

Even politician Tim Watts from Australia went public and told parents to go out and get this game. Daniel Luu, a 25-year-old software engineer from Maryland, woke up one morning to find hundreds of thousands of people scouring his newly launched website Nookazon, a secondary online marketplace for Animal Crossing players. But, all of this doesn’t come without a few risks...

My fast forward game summary before we get to the nitty gritty: You get an island, you collect, grow, trade, and make items to sustain and decorate it. The island has its own currency and stock trading system with turnips.  You make friends with the residents and invite whoever you want in the real world to join you in your online world. You can have a friends list and even create your own code to give to anyone. The latter is the more dangerous option of course. You can visit other islands and collect things you don’t have on yours. You can even custom create designs to share with the world.  

With millions of players online aged 5-99, cyber criminals have landed on a gold mine of opportunity. If you’re one of the lucky victims, items are just being stolen off of your island. It’s a minor inconvenience to have to earn extra items. If you aren’t as lucky, maybe you’ve visited website claiming you can purchase the island’s currency with your credit card. And yes, these criminals are also lurking on the legit websites. 

Here’s some security awareness training for everyone... So how are the sketchy people getting into accounts? Through social media groups and independent websites. I’m sure by the time I list the ways in which these attackers are targeting and scamming people, 20 more will be created.

What are some players doing to try and “outsmart” the bad guys? I’ve heard of building fences at the island’s entryway and some even hiring bouncers to guard their islands. However, if someone has intent to harm, they will find a way, regardless of how many bouncers are guarding your turnips.

You wouldn’t just invite anybody to your home, so don’t invite them to your island. It’s all about cyber security awareness. Here are a few tips:

  • Only best friend people you trust in the real world. 
  • Don’t hand out your Dodo code, especially in social media groups. 
  • And for the love of Tom Nook, please stop sharing EVERYTHING! 
  • Be wary of offers for extra in game currency or items and giveaways.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! It’s unfortunate for the individuals who actually help other gamers but you can’t take a chance these days. 

Watch this super cool, super short security awareness video with tips on how to stay safe while online gaming (applies to any online game) and share it with everyone you know:

Get this video and more at Wizer!