Stay Safe When Gaming Online: Follow These 5 Tips
From saving the princess and jumping over barrels to exploring vast alien worlds and building deep undersea fortresses – games have come a long way. And so has the gaming community, which has expanded to reach a whopping 2.2 billion people, approximately. Yet, wherever lots of people are, criminals will follow; so it’s important to be aware of the cybersecurity risks that come along with online gaming.
Gaming platforms, digital stores, and launchers collect a lot of personal and financial data. This data isn’t always stored as securely as it should be, allowing hackers to swoop in. Then there’s also the scammers that are always trawling the web for unsuspecting victims. To top all that off, virtual currencies and in-game items make attractive targets for cybercriminals too.
Suffice to say that gamers have ample obstacles littering their path. By following the tips below, they should be able to get through to the other end safely.
1. Protect Personal Data As If It’s The Key To Princess Peach’s Heart
There are plenty of platforms and third-party entities that collect players’ personal data. Be it in-game purchases, online subscription services, or mobile games connecting with social media accounts.
Data is swirling around everywhere, and it’s nearly impossible to keep track of where it goes or who does what with it. This gives criminals a lot of incentive to steal information like a person’s identity, financial details, and location.
To that end, try to share as little personal information as possible. Additionally, sign out of platforms when they’re not in use and close old accounts. Wipe any data off devices that are shared with others.
2. Set the Difficulty Level To Max With Authentication
Authentication simply refers to how a platform knows it’s the right person that’s trying to get in. Most use passwords for this purpose, but the problem is that gamers tend to have multiple accounts across different platforms. Thus making it hard to remember them all, leading to simple passwords that keep being reused. If remembering long, unique passwords is challenging, then consider using a password manager.
One of the key points to staying safe online is making it as hard as possible for attackers to get in. That means setting up multiple layers of defence, which is where authentication methods come in. It’s therefore important to make use of any multi-factor authentication methods like two-factor authentication. When a platform has that as an option, always set it up for every account.
3. Tuck Real Names Away in a Treasure Chest
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of meeting and playing with other people online, but they’re still strangers. People shouldn’t reveal any personal information about themselves before they have a way of verifying who the person on the other side is. That includes real names, locations, and workplaces, as this could lead to dangerous repercussions.
Choose a username instead, along with an avatar/profile pic that isn’t a real photo.
4. Don’t Drop the Ball on Mobile Security
Mobile games are hugely popular, making up around $70 billion (or more than half) of the global gaming industry revenue in 2018. It’s a sure bet that cybercriminals are working hard to get a slice of that cake.
Mobile devices are vulnerable to attack through infected or malicious apps as well as hacked network connections. There are a number of reasons why criminals want to infect people’s phones, but the biggest one is to gather personal data. Luckily, there are a number of mobile security solutions like anti-malware apps, anti-theft protection, and VPNs that can help out. Just make sure to search for the best VPN for Android, as there are plenty of scam VPN apps out there.
5. Careful, That Link May Be A Trap!
Gamers aren’t immune to phishing scams, and these usually appear on forums, social media, and in-game chats. Gaming-oriented phishing scams often target the most popular games and pose as cheats or free stuff. When someone clicks on these links, they’ll either be sent to a fake website or download malware.
Beware of random links sent from strangers or even friends’ accounts. Sometimes hackers use a breached account to send phishing links to the victim’s contacts.
Safety and Fun Go Together
Gaming is meant to be a fun, entertaining pastime that can be enjoyed alone, with family, or with online friends. It should be enjoyed worry-free without fear of real-life consequences or stolen personal information. Always try to make use of various security methods and stick to established safety rules to avoid trouble later. Disaster doesn’t have to strike, and there’s no need to ragequit.