Staying Safe While Playing Video Games Has Become More Important Than Ever 

We hope this article helps you in knowing all the information that can keep you safe while navigating the online gaming space.

Online gaming is one of the most popular activities on the Internet that plenty of people enjoy doing every day. Individuals of all ages love playing online games for a couple of reasons. For some, games are the best way to entertain themselves and engage in an activity they like. For others, playing online games reduces stress and gives them the opportunity to wind up after a tiring day. Additionally, games are a great way to connect better with family and friends. However, online games also have some drawbacks and risks. 

In this article, we will further discuss the risks associated with playing video games and what are the best ways to protect from them.

The risks of online video games

Malware and viruses

If you are trying to download free or cheaper versions of your favourite games, you might risk getting malware and viruses instead. This can also happen when you purchase items or games through third-party sellers or when you access cheat codes. However, even if you download a game legally, there is also a chance that a security gap might occur. From the moment malware is on your gadgets, hackers will be able to steal your personal data.

Identity theft

Hackers collect personally identifiable information to steal profiles and pretend to be another person. Online gaming has chat features that offer the possibility to connect with strangers, which can be an advantage but also a massive risk. This happens because cyber criminals can use the chat function to collect sensitive information such as phone numbers, names, or house addresses. So, it is very important to be careful with all the details you share while playing.

Account takeover

If you use the same passwords and username for all your login credentials (which, by the way, is not recommended), then hackers will have a greater chance of stealing your information and accessing other accounts.

Doxing and swatting

If hackers get access to personal details, they might publish personal data such as phone numbers and home addresses online, an act that is known under the term doxing. When individuals use doxing, they try to intimidate, punish or humiliate the target. Doxing can happen for numerous reasons, including not appreciating the harm they produce, exacting justice, jealousy, revenge, profit, or just having fun online. Unfortunately, doxing is something that can happen to anybody, and it might disrupt an individual’s life entirely. The ones playing online could also experience swatting, which is a criminal harassment act where hackers might try to send law enforcement to your house to intimidate you by reporting a fake emergency.

Data breaches

In many cases, hackers don’t only try to take information from individuals but also from game companies. If cybercriminals gain entry to the data of organisations, they can steal plenty of information, from the user’s personal details to the source code of the games. A massive event of this type was the Zynga data breach, which occurred on 12th September 2020. Due to this data breach, everyone who had installed the games Draw Something or Word with Friends had their information exposed. Companies that experience a data breach will always go through a difficult time, as they have to deal with data breach claims that can hurt their business’s reputation.

How to protect yourself from the risks met in the online gaming environment

Use strong passwords

One of the easiest and simplest ways to protect yourself from the danger of online gaming is to use strong passwords. A powerful password should contain at least 12 characters and have a mix of numbers, lower- and upper-case letters and symbols. You should avoid using sequential numbers, such as 1234, or personal data that is easy to guess, like your pet’s name or your date of birth.

Set up multi-factor authentication

It will also be good to consider using a two or even multi-factor authentication. This will improve the security of your accounts, adding another step in the login process, like sending a unique code to your email address or phone number. Multi-factor authentication is an excellent solution to enhance security, as it can keep you safe from the dangers mentioned above.

Protect your personal information

If you always want to remain safe, it will be good not to include personal information in your gaming usernames, such as location, date of birth and name. Additionally, you should avoid sharing personal information on gaming forums.

Download only from legitimate sources

You can keep yourself and your computer safe if you only download from legal and legitimate sources. Whether we are talking about games, cheat codes or third-party add-ons, it is essential to avoid pirated or unofficial sources to reduce the risks of introducing game malware or viruses into your machine. So, it is always a good idea only to stick to reputable download sites.

Use and install a VPN when you play games

If you play online games on a desktop computer, it is essential to conceal your location so that you will protect your identity. When you use a VPN or a virtual private network, your location can appear to be in other parts of the world, thus preventing hackers from knowing your current address. Fortunately, VPNs are very easy to install, and they bring numerous benefits, including:

  • More safety with the data and bank transactions because VPNs offer an untraceable connection.
  • Enhance your protection against various attacks, like DDoS, which in numerous cases are used against online gaming opponents in several competitive gaming situations.

Identify common scams

Several spoofing, phishing and malware attacks are very common in the online gaming world. Also, it is good to keep track of all the new scams that can appear in the gaming landscape by reading the news and information from your favourite gaming news websites. If you know the latest scams, you will be able to prevent falling prey to them.

We hope this article helped you in knowing all the information that can keep you safe while navigating the online gaming space.