game live streaming

Doxxing and beyond: Protecting gamers from the hidden dangers of live streaming

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PUREVPNDoxxing and beyond: Protecting gamers from the hidden dangers of live streaming

Have you ever paused mid-game, controller in hand, and marveled at the thought of thousands of fans and fellow gamers witnessing your most epic in-game moments? That’s the magic of live streaming, where your every victory becomes a global spectacle.

Over the past years, live streaming has ignited a wildfire of popularity among gamers worldwide. Whether it’s showcasing that brilliant last-minute clutch in an intense battle royale or uncovering the secrets of a virtual universe, live streaming has become the ultimate medium to share your gaming triumphs and trials with other online users. 

Presently, more than 215 million people of all ages in the US play online and offline video games. In fact, the market is projected to reach $334 billion in 2023, with the US having the largest market share. However, the exciting world of live game streaming is filled with security and privacy concerns that can compromise the digital lifestyle of gamers. 

The hidden dangers of live streaming for gamers 

Did you know there was a 167% increase in cyberattacks against gamers between 2021 and 2022? 

As gaming communities grow and live streaming gains more traction, educating gamers about the privacy concerns posed by sharing their gaming exploits with the world has become more important than ever. From real-world stalkers to targeted malware attacks, here are some key concerns you should be aware of:

Doxxing

Doxxing is an act of exposing someone’s personal information to the public without their consent. This may include names, phone numbers, and addresses. Needless to say, gamers who live stream could experience stalking, bullying, and harassment both online and offline if they become a victim of doxxing.

According to a 2022 report, more than 43 million people in the US have been doxxed, resulting in harrowing consequences.

Stalking and harassment

Open live streams can attract stalkers who persistently follow and harass gamers online. Their malicious actions, such as sending threatening messages or derogatory comments, can disrupt their digital lifestyle and cause severe emotional distress. 

To put things into perspective, a 2022 research by the Anti-Defamation League found that nearly 67% of gamers between the ages of 10 and 17 experienced harassment in online multiplayer games. This harassment could also have offline consequences for the victim by negatively affecting their mental health and subsequently academic performance. 

Swatting

Swatting is a criminal activity where someone makes a fake emergency call to law enforcement, falsely reporting a critical incident at the target’s location. This is usually done to trigger a SWAT team response, endangering the lives of both the victim and law enforcement officers. 

In 2017, a gamer was fatally shot in their Kansas home after two Call of Duty: WWII players called the police to the victim’s house following a heated argument. More recently, schools in Pennsylvania and Utah became the target of swatting after unknown individuals falsely reported school shooting threats.

Phishing and malware attacks

Live stream games are the perfect playground for hackers. These cybercriminals seamlessly blend in and try to trick gamers into sharing sensitive information by offering rare in-game treasures. Unsuspecting gamers can easily fall into their trap and click on dangerous links, unknowingly compromising their online privacy. 

It is also worth mentioning that malicious actors can create fake phishing pages to lure gamers. For example, a 2022 report revealed that cybercriminals created over 878,000 phishing pages for Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Apex Legends games to target young players. 

Geolocation tracking

Streaming games from the comfort of your own space seems secure, but the reality is quite different from what you might think. Live streaming from home can unintentionally reveal a gamer’s physical location, exposing them to potential risks. In some extreme cases, viewers with ill intent could even target them offline and show up at their doorstep, unannounced. 

This is a major digital security concern associated with live game streaming.

Account hacking

In today’s digital landscape, the potential for account hacking poses a significant threat to prominent streamers. Gamers with significant online presence are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks that could compromise their social media, streaming, or gaming accounts. 

Such breaches not only expose their personal information but could also jeopardize their livelihood. 

Please note that nearly 81% of all hacking-related data breaches are caused by weak passwords.

Read more: Cybersecurity in gaming: Protecting gamers from online threats

Tips for gamers to protect themselves while live streaming

Here are some effective ways gamers can protect their online privacy while live streaming.

Think before you share

As a rule of thumb, gamers should avoid sharing personal information while live streaming. Being mindful about what you share online could protect you from doxxing, stalking, and phishing attacks. It is also advisable to keep your full name, address, and phone number private while conversing with fellow gamers.

Choose secure platforms

Pick reputable streaming platforms that prioritize safety. Opt for those with enhanced privacy features like private streaming sessions and efficient reporting mechanisms. Twitch, the most popular live-streaming platform in the world with more than 7.3 million channels, has recently taken steps to combat online abuse.

Install a VPN

A reliable Virtual Private Network such as PureVPN, which is the best VPN for gaming, can shield your IP address from hackers and other third parties, preventing criminals and fellow streamers from finding out about your physical location. It makes you virtually untraceable while live game streaming. 

Moreover, using PureVPN for gaming protects you from ISP throttling and helps you bypass regional restrictions without any hassle. 

Double up with 2FA

Want to add an extra layer of security to your digital lifestyle? Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to ensure your gaming accounts remain secure at all times. Even if someone gains access to your password, the system will require them to enter a code sent to the registered phone number or click a link sent to a particular device to log in. 

Lockdown your passwords

Whether you live stream your gaming journey or want to simply improve your online privacy, creating strong passwords is considered the first step to ensuring digital security. Make sure to use unique passwords for each online account, employing a combination of uppercase and lowercase alphabets. You can also use a premium password manager such as PureKeep to safeguard your live streams.

Stay updated and stay informed

Last but not least, always keep your software and security tools up-to-date. System updates often patch unknown vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit. Similarly, staying on top of cybersecurity news will enable you to anticipate emerging threats – after all, knowledge is power!

By adhering to these security practices, gamers can create a solid cybersecurity foundation to enjoy live streaming while minimizing risks and threats to their online privacy.

On a final note

In the exhilarating world of live streaming, where gamers and audiences connect in real-time, it is crucial to safeguard oneself against hidden privacy risks. Nevertheless, by following a set of proactive measures, you can ensure a safer online gaming experience for all. 

Stay connected with PureVPN Blog to learn more about cybersecurity in gaming. In addition, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

Read more: Why you need a static IP for gaming

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