Online games are extremely popular, connecting with other players around the world easily accessed through our smartphones, consoles, or computers. Despite the convenience and the added fun factor online gaming has given us, it also comes with an amount of concerns with regards to security.
Obviously, no one wants to become a victim of fraud. Sadly millions of gamers fall victim to these dangers due to weak game security, or poor self-security habits. This can result in significant consequences from scamming, phishing and identity theft. This is why it is essential for anyone gamer or developer to know how to protect online game accounts from cyber criminals.
Below are a few need-to-know tips on how to keep your online game safe:
Don’t share too much personal information
I know this sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how often people are very willing to share personal details. Most online games require players to create an account before they could play. Some sign up requires your age address and birthday. Of course, it is not necessary to fill all those information up accurately.
Community forums are an excellent means to connect and make friends with other gamers, video call and voice calls are supported by most online games. As a precaution, it is better to use an avatar to cover up your distinct features, or by masking your voice during voice chats. Lastly, scammers may post as veteran players willing to help you by asking for your account details to do so. Never give away your account details. Even casual conversations over chats can be carefully crafted scripts designed to make you unaware you are giving away details. Your location, school, workplace, etc. Be careful of unusual questions.
Keep your security software’s active
Though deactivating your security software will increase your game optimization, it will also expose you to higher risks of infections and hacks. Getting infected by exploits or malware could make your computer part of a botnet which is equally real in the “game world.” Security software will detect every possible risk when you’re online. But remember, always to keep your security software’s up to date. There are security software's now that offer game mode; this will allow you to play smoothly without lags even if your security software is active.
Pirated copies, cracks, and patches from outside sources
Many popular games have cracks, pirated copies, and patch cheats, and as tempting as it may be, downloading from outside sources are not only illegal but also offer hackers the chance to piggyback other hidden software on your download. Social engineering is a popular way for scammers to steal login credentials, using names of famous games and companies, or even giving out fake offers. Outside sources may contain spyware, malware or any viruses that are harmful and may not be easily detectable, or disguised as extensions or pop up websites. It is better and safer to download from genuine sources rather than installing pirated copies of the game. This will also prevent you from being blacklisted from the manufacturer's services. Your online gaming account may also be suspended or deleted because of using a counterfeit.
Other players may send you links, trying to convince you that you are in need of this particular software or update for you to play with this group. Usually, they will be very persistent about you clicking the link or downloading the software. It is a better idea to leave the conversation and not click the unknown links strangers post.
Keep your other accounts away
If details like your birthday, age and address can be incorrect so can you email. Gamers are advised to set up an alternative email account for every game registration to keep it separate from each other and your personal email account that contains your contacts, online banking, and social media.
Another thing to watch out for is that most online games now ask you to connect your game with your social media account to connect with friends. It is best not to connect your game with any of your social media accounts to prevent any outsider from gaining access in case your game account is compromised.
Use strong and different passwords
It is important to secure your game account with an easy to remember, but hard to guess password. Never use similar passwords with your other accounts like your social media account, bank account, different game account or anything that holds any relevant details about you that are accessible online. Use complicated passwords that are impossible to guess that your intruder will hopefully stop attempting to hack your account. Long passwords seem daunting, hence we normally opt for simple so we can actually remember it. I simple trick here is to use the palindrome effect i.e. same backwards as forwards. Reverse your password and add it to the end. For example, if your password is John123 it’s easy to remember at only 7 characters but very unsafe. You can easily make it 14 characters without and extra memory required and making it infinitely harder to hack. The new password would be John123321nhoJ. Double length, 14 characters is very difficult to hack, yet no extra memory required.
Log out and secure delete
Private or public computer, make sure you ALWAYS log out to ensure that your account will not be stolen in the case that someone gains access to your computer. How bad would it be when we find out a stranger has been playing your game and making ridiculous expenses on your behalf. If you are planning to replace your current game platform it is best to delete all personal information, pictures videos or anything, before replacing or disposing of your computer. Delete is not enough. Make sure it has had a full secure erase. Deleting a file is like writing on a Postit pad and peeling off the top note. The dent impression of the words are still on the page below. How do you think professional recover files? They partially still exist. With a full secure erase, a series of code 0’s are written over the file seven times. The equivalent of scribbling over that same Postit note seven times in different directions until all you can see is graphite. Now try reading the note below.
As gamers, we should know enough not to solely rely on the game’s security system alone (Basing on the past security game breaches which have happened before). Danger lurks and cyber criminals will target anyone who has fallen in their traps. We should be responsible enough for our safety online and by correctly following security tips for gaming to ensure we are more comfortable playing and chatting with other players. So before clicking the link GalacticVaderX15 has sent you, it may be best to think twice before you click. However, we can't stop gaming, and never will. So if you suddenly find yourself in a position that you feel does not seem right, or you know you have been hacked. Change all passwords immediately. Log out. Server connections and start back up. Then report through the correct channels.