We all love playing online games, and to me, there’s nothing better than sitting down and having an hour’s long gaming session in Need for Speed or Assetto Corsa. However, I’m also a security-conscious person, and, I admit, a bit on the paranoid side. Worrying about my security and identity while playing online games is a constant for me, and I’m sure it is for some of you too.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself while playing games online, and the solutions vary from dead simple to needing a bit of money and setup. However, each solution is worth taking a look at and incorporating.
Solution #1: A Good VPN
A good VPN can save you from a lot of headache when it comes to online interactions, not only in gaming, but in everyday life. A VPN’s job is to keep your data encrypted while travelling from the servers to your computer, and to hide the data from any wandering eyes, such as your ISP and any malicious hackers on the network.
A gamer VPN is important, especially when you’re on a network you’re not all that familiar with. Even if LAN parties don’t happen much anymore, they still take place, and if you ever find yourself at a LAN party, you’ll want to use a VPN, since it won’t be your network you’ll be playing on.
Worried that a VPN will increase your ping? To ensure optimal speed, connect to a VPN server close to your physical location. For example, if you’re in New York, connect to USA VPN rather than a server located in Japan or France.
Solution #2: Hide Your Identity
When I said a couple of these would be obvious solutions, I wasn’t lying. One of the best solutions to keep yourself secure while gaming is to not give anything about yourself away to the online masses.
In fact, it was only a couple days ago I played Destiny 2 with a clanmate of mine, when I noticed his Steam profile had a bunch of information about him, such as his real name, city and state he lived in, and what school he went to. No joke!
If you’re an Internet personality, it’s hard to keep personal information from coming out, but if you’re just one of the millions who play games just to play games, you don’t need to let everyone know who you are and where you are. Keep your personal information to yourself, or else there could be severe consequences.
Solution #3: A Decent Firewall
A network firewall is a must! With a firewall on your network, you can filter what comes in and what comes out of your network, and this is invaluable for any network, especially if your gaming.
You know how on PC, any new application has to request permission from Windows firewall/Defender? That’s what happens with a network firewall, and it will turn down anything you specify as a threat.
Since there are many people online who love to DDoS people they’re losing to, you may want to invest in a network firewall sometime soon.
Solution #4: Avoid Public Wi-Fi
You’d be surprised how many people play video games in public spaces, such as a restaurant or grocery store. Most of these people are kids, but there are some adults I’ve seen doing it as well, and I discourage this all the time.
There’s no way to know who else is on a public network, and like I mentioned in the VPN section, this can lead to some unwanted attention. You’d do well to avoid gaming on any public network and save gaming for your private network.
I understand: gaming is a fun hobby, and for some it’s more than a hobby, which is why we’re all so eager to play video games whenever we can, foregoing any security concerns. However, just like any other activity online, gaming is victim to cybercriminals and trolls who want nothing but to mess with you.
However, there are plenty of solutions to keep you and your K/D safe, and they’re easy to implement, if not a bit expensive, but what’s a bit of money for your safety?