The Gamer’s Guide to Online Privacy and Security
Millions of gamers around the world on Xbox and PlayStation like nothing more than to sit with a controller in hand and enjoy online gaming. What many gamers do not know is that their security is at risk. Startling news has appeared recently about game servers suffering DDoS attacks or data breaches on a large scale. Yet most gamers are unaware of how such attacks can affect them. With this in mind, here is a gamer’s guide to safeguarding privacy and staying secure.
First, what are some of the most common risks gamers are facing?
- Risk of private information loss or identity theft;
- DDoS attacks;
- Game marketplaces that are disreputable;
- Game accounts being compromised.
IP Address Leaks Risk Identity or Information Theft
Gamers run the risk of exposing their IP address when taking part in online gaming. By doing so, you are in danger of attacks from malicious websites or people.
The IP address is what identifies a computer through internet protocol communication. Any websites that can see your IP address can find out your location. It also allows your internet service provider to spy on you and track what you are doing online. This means you are at risk of getting into trouble with your service provider if you download torrent files or copyrighted content, whether you realize it is illegal or not.
Not only gamers are in danger of exposing their IP address. Anyone who uses Skype for example risks exposure. You may be surprised to discover that if you use Twitch and your Skype username is visible you are at risk. Your personal information could be exposed and you could become a victim of doxxing. This is when mobs of online groups who remain anonymous try to intimidate gamers by sharing their private information.
How To Avoid Exposure Of Your IP Address
Thankfully, there is a solution to protect against exposing your IP address. This is a VPN, otherwise known as a virtual private network. You can use the VPN when using the internet to play games, browse the web, chat online, download or watch videos.
VPN providers offer a service that will hide your IP address and protect you online. The VPN changes your IP address to one of the server’s addresses while masking your true IP address. This makes it impossible for anyone to find out your location or any information about you from your internet traffic.
This serves to keep you safe from DDoS attacks and Doxxing, along with identity and information theft.
Risks From Game Websites
Many gaming websites attract millions of visitors each month. However, not all sites are ethical. What many people do not know is that many sites do not have security by way of HTTPS encryption. This means all visitor information is vulnerable.
Online gaming is huge and due to this, less than ethical game websites have figured out shady ways to make money from gamers. Some often offer cheap or free games or codes, but in reality, they steal gaming accounts to sell. Other dubious gaming websites have also stolen and then sold the credit card information of users.
Gamers can also become targets of phishing schemes. Common frauds gamers face involve emails that seem to come from gaming sites. They claim hackers have got into your account and ask you to change your password and security questions. This is not true. They are fake emails. Emails of this type come with a link calling upon you to visit the site to change your password. When the user clicks on the link, their account, and probably personal information, is compromised.
Security Against Fraudulent Gaming Websites
One thing to remember when shopping online, whether shopping for gaming codes to download games or anything else, is you never get something for nothing. Be wary of any site promising cheap game or codes, the chances are you will not get them. More than likely your information will be stolen or your game accounts.
To protect yourself, only shop with legitimate stores, or buy items or add-ons through the game itself. Avoid real-money trading, known as RMT; more than likely the other party is not to be trusted. Always check for the padlock in the browser indicating SSL encryption and of course, use a VPN.
Game Accounts Can Be Compromised
It appears that every week there is news about huge password database leaks. In the past game account compromises have ended with devastating results.
If your game account is accessed by a hacker you stand to lose your game library, perhaps get banned, and have the in-game items you purchased stolen to be sold. In some cases, it could also lead to hackers being able to obtain personal information.
VPN And Two-Factor Authentication
Using a VPN and two-factor authentication will help to keep your gaming account secure.
When making a gaming account always choose a unique password and enable two-factor authentication. Change your password regularly and do not give it to anyone. Make sure the password does not contain your name or personal information. Never be tempted to give out your password by clicking on email links or answering text messages or phone calls asking about passwords and personal details.
With two-factor authentication enabled, you will be obliged to use a second source to prove it is you when logging in. While this might be a little bit annoying, it does keep your information and account safe.
If you have not previously, sign up with a reputable VPN provider before going online to play games, surf, email or chat and stay safe. The VPN will add an extra layer of protection to the data you send online.