The online gaming ecosystem is thriving at the moment. Rising popularity has driven a demand for developers to create new and exciting titles. Technological advances also mean that even some graphics-rich games are available on mobile platforms. The thriving digital landscape has resulted in created career opportunities, too. E-sports and live streaming content can bring in substantial income for professional gamers.
Nevertheless, it’s also important to recognize the risks here. As a gamer, you have great access to a rich and diverse online environment. Unfortunately, this also means unscrupulous people also have significant access to you. Cybercrime continues to be a prevalent issue in the online gaming community. Indeed, gaming has seen a particular jump in digital fraud attempts in recent years.
To get the most positive online gaming experience, it’s vital to take steps to protect yourself. Let’s run down a few best practices that can help you play it safe.
Keep on Top of the Trends
The trends for gaming come and go, from new and exciting massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) to the exclusive or customizable player character skins. The same goes for online gaming cybersecurity. Approaches are regularly changing and shifting, as are the tools to deal with them. If you’re pursuing online gaming in the long term, you’ll find you have the most positive experiences if you take the time to keep on top of these shifts.
Do your due diligence when it comes to the full range of techniques criminals are utilizing. At the moment, some of the most prevalent trends in cybersecurity include ransomware protection, cyberespionage mitigation, and malware prevention. It isn’t just valuable to be aware of these techniques as potential solutions to the current online risks. It also helps you to identify where the most concern is for the industry. You can then adjust your actions and the tools you use in the most relevant ways to reduce your vulnerability while gaming.
It’s also vital to understand what the trending targets for different types of cyberattacks are, too. You’ll often be surprised how hackers are focusing on games or tools you wouldn’t expect to be a priority. This could include ransomware attacks on cloud storage software that could impact your online assets. It might involve game platforms from specific countries subjected to politically-motivated distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. Take the time to not just commit to research on news sites and gaming forums. Build your network on social media to have access to current issues at the earliest possible opportunity.
Adjust Your Behavior
Cybercrime is not reliant on external actions alone. Indeed, you’ll often find criminals’ best tools for hacking in online gaming are the gamers themselves. It can be easy to become complacent, particularly when you’re operating in an online space you’re confident in around people you generally trust. It’s vital that you put effort into adjusting your own behavior to be more security conscious.
This includes some of the basics, like keeping strong password protocols. Make sure these are varied, using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Importantly, change these frequently and not just to a minor variation to the same password. Your passwords should also be different across all your gaming accounts. This helps to make sure if one account is breached, the rest aren’t at risk. You might also find it useful to occasionally check your passwords and associated email addresses on Have I Been Pwned to make sure they’re not involved in a recent hack of an online platform you use.
Your cybersecurity behavior also needs to extend to being tailored to the type of devices you use for gaming. Your gaming PC is not necessarily going to be subject to the same issues as your cell phone. Indeed, your cell phone can be putting you at greater risk due to the fact that a greater range of sensitive information is usually stored on it. Think of all the metadata associated with your socials, any banking apps you use, and even cloud services you use for remote working. Your phone is a hub of assets cybercriminals are attracted to. As such, it’s wise to adopt mobile-specific behavior. Use virtual private networks (VPNs) when in public areas. At the end of its life, wipe your phone’s memory and dispose of it securely to prevent others from accessing your personal information.
Utilize Protective Tools
As an online gamer, you’ve likely invested in various tools to support your gaming. New PCs, updated graphics cards, perhaps even a comfortable chair. It’s important to place some of your focus on tools that keep you safe while gaming, too. Your adoption of these will likely depend on your level of use, but there are options to suit most budgets and needs.
Some consoles will already have a certain amount of security protocols already loaded into the device. Most come with options for multi-factor authentication. This involves not just using a password but also having a single-use code sent to your phone for authentication, too. While this can be a little inconvenient, utilizing it can be a vital form of protection.
For PC gaming and smartphones, it’s wise to utilize a solid antivirus platform. There are also an increasing number of software options here that are specifically aimed at the needs and challenges of gamers, like McAfee Gamer Security and Webroot Secure Anywhere. There are also some good free options available. The important thing is to make certain your chosen platform is regularly updated to account for the current trends and methods in cybercrime.
Online gaming has become a fascinating and exciting aspect of our digital landscape. However, it’s also vital to make sure you protect yourself from cybersecurity risks. Stay on top of the trends to ensure you’re aware of the current security concerns and popular targets. Adjust your personal behavior to adopt safer practices while gaming. Wherever possible, establish strong cybersecurity tools to put up extra barriers for potential cybercriminals. By taking a few relatively simple steps, you can have the most positive online gaming experiences.