Gaming has kept a lot of people sane during the pandemic – kids and adults alike. But, online games that are just a bit of fun for you can be a more serious ‘game’ for someone else. That game is accessing personal information through hacking; and it can cost you more than just time. Norton takes us through some common threats when playing video games, and a few solutions for keeping safe when online gaming.
Common online game threats
When gamers try to find cheap or free online games to download, they risk downloading malware and viruses too. This threat isn’t just from illegally downloaded games. Cheat codes and other items bought through third-party sellers, and even the occasional security gap in games you download legally, can infect your system.
Using the same username and password for all of your favourite online gaming platforms is easier; but it also means it’s easier for hackers to gain access to all of your accounts. Hackers love the fact that most of us don’t want to remember multiple log-ins!
Doxing and swatting
If cybercriminals find your personal information, they can share your home address and phone number online (known as ‘doxing’); they can even send law enforcement to your home by reporting a fake emergency (‘swatting’). Not only is this scary, but it’s dangerous. It’s a hacker’s way of saying they know where you live and how to find you.
When you leave your microphone, camera or screen capture on, and you mention or show any personal information, you’re at risk of a swat attack, dox attack or having your bank account.
How to protect yourself while gaming
Don’t share personal information
Even using your real name or where you’re from in your username can give away too much; the same goes for repeating personal information loudly through your headset while playing video games online. Make sure that you don’t share any personal details on gaming forums! Use a VPN to disguise your IP address to prevent hackers from gaining access to your console or PC.
It’s easy to get caught up into giving credit card details for power-ups, armour upgrades, or weapon boosts from other players – especially when you’re in the moment! Only buy these from the game manufacturers themselves; otherwise your credit card or the details can be used or sold to someone else.
Download online games from reputable sources
Third-party add-ons, cheap upgrades, illegal downloads and cheat codes are tempting. As with most things, however, it’s usually too good to be true. Keep your computer and yourself safe by avoiding third-party systems and illegally downloaded video games.
Use up-to-date, secure equipment
Downloading security software specifically designed to keep gamers safe will make your life a lot easier. Be sure to update your devices and software regularly in order to keep everything up-to-date and running smoothly.
If you’re a parent of a gaming child or a gamer yourself, installing a security suite designed for gamers can protect your PC, game accounts and all digital assets.
Use different and complex passwords
Vary your passwords for different online games. Don’t link them to anything that people can guess like dates of birth, addresses and so on. Keep them all separate in a notebook, or in separate places on your desktop.
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