The 21st century has seen phones and videogames become more like full-scale computers. Phones used to be able to do nothing except send and receive calls, but now they can browse the web and download millions of apps from third-party developers. But with this newfound computer-like power, comes newfound computer-like vulnerability. Recent years have seen a huge spike in viruses and malware that target smartphones, stealing money and personal information.
And videogame consoles are close behind. Also able to connect to the internet and download third-party apps, consoles have now become viral targets. So far, early viruses have only tried to crash consoles without stealing personal information (more of a vicious prank than anything else). But the threat of more sophisticated malware is very real. Wherever there is a computer that stores credit card information, hackers are motivated to break in.
It is difficult to know how to combat this threat. Even if console developers create security software, the third-party apps will be especially difficult to police. Just look at WireLurker, the malware that affected millions of iPhones last year: The malware spread because a third-party developer (with good intentions) sub-contracted to yet another company who accidentally included a security bug in the coding. With so many developers outsourcing their work to smaller and less accountable companies, accidents are bound to happen. And it’s only a matter of time before hackers further exploit gamers.