Whether you like to fight monsters, shoot down zombies, or loot, there’s no question about how exciting online gaming can be. You can often become a part of a great community and make all your gaming dreams come to life.
But there’s a dark side to online gaming as well. Not every site and player you come across will be trustworthy. If you’re a hardcore gamer, you’ll likely come across spam letters, fraudulent or malicious sites, hackers, and other deceptive tactics.
With cybercrimes on the rise in the gaming community, it’s important to learn how to stay safe. So, let’s first check some risks that come with gaming and see what you can do to protect your data and resources.
Common Risks Associated with Online Gaming
There are a few common risks that most gaming platforms and gamers face. They’re listed here as examples, not as a way to ward you off gaming. In fact, every internet user faces similar risks. Whether you spend your free time gaming or visiting various websites: we are all in the same boat when it comes to having our personal information exposed.
With this idea in mind, here are some of the common threats:
Phishing is a way to lure you to visit a fraudulent link or to share your sensitive information. Most people have received requests from Nigerian princes asking for some sort of financial assistance. It is the most renowned phishing scam of all time.
- Identity theft
If cybercriminals get their hands on your personally identifiable information, you might become a victim of identity theft. This can be achieved if they trace your IP address, if you accidentally reveal private information, share your credit card details on shady sites, etc.
- IP tracing
IP tracing is when someone finds out your exact physical location by looking into your IP address. This can be used to threaten, harass, blackmail, or even stalk you.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are increasingly more common. They involve flooding devices or websites with data, causing them to crash. This can be a simple inconvenience, but it can often pose greater security risks.
DDoS attacks are frequent in the gaming industry, but IT and financial services are one of the preferred targets as well.
Considering that there’s a range of threats you can face, it’s important to learn how to protect yourself. So, let’s see what you can do to increase your security while gaming.
Don’t Connect to Public Wi-Fi Spots
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Public networks are risky because they’re just that – public. Anyone can access them, and more tech-savvy actors can use it to steal data or hack vulnerable devices.
Once an attacker knows you’re gaming on a public network, they can breach your connection and monitor your activity. They can use your device for DDoS attacks, hack into them, or steal files.
Use a Reliable VPN
If you must use a public network for gaming, or simply want to protect your privacy, use a reliable VPN. A Virtual Private Network is designed to shield your identity online and enhance your security.
It does so by encrypting your connection to a network and routing it through secure servers. You’ll be provided with a different IP address, and your online activities will be kept private.
It’s generally a good idea to always use a VPN when you’re online. It adds an extra layer of security, which is always welcome.
Search for Genuine Site Reviews
Before you join that new gaming community, make sure to check the reviews. And not just the ones provided by the site in question.
Look for user reviews on other platforms as well. These should tell you everything you need to know – whether it’s a genuine site, whether it has certain problems, and more.
You’ll always come across both positive and negative reviews. Read all of them carefully so that you get a clear idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
It’s also a good idea to Google the site and visit the news section. This action will let you know whether any cybersecurity issues were reported about the website.
Check out the Site’s Network Protocols
It’s crucial to check each site’s network protocols to ensure they’re safe. The protocol is seen in the address bar where the URL goes. You’ll need to look for HTTPS (seen as https://).
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secured. It’s an indication that all the information transmitted through the site is safe and encrypted. Avoid sites that don’t have this network protocol, and never share your personally identifiable information or credit card details with them.
The Bottom Line
While there are many risks associated with online gaming, there are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself. So, remember to:
- Avoid public networks.
- Use a VPN.
- Look for honest reviews.
- Check out the network protocols.
Ensuring online privacy is crucial if you want to enjoy gaming to the fullest. Follow these safety precautions and enjoy gaming without worrying about your privacy.