Online gaming encourages people to share sensitive information with strangers. While online gaming started more than a decade ago, it has raised momentous acceptance and popularity recently, primarily due to the current lockdown.
As more and more people shift towards a work-from-home culture and with kids staying at home these days, online gaming has seen a considerable surge. Just about every gamer is now involved in some level of online gaming, whether it’s on a PC, console, or a smartphone.
The online gaming community consists of people of all ages, making it more competitive than ever before. As more and more game genres are introduced, it has given birth to a multi-billion dollar industry, and everyone wants a piece of the pie.
Dangers Lurking Around Online Gaming
While the lockdown may have given you enough time to play online games, it’s not all fun and games. Online gaming comes packed with safety concerns, especially if you’re a younger individual.
Online dangers such as phishing, credit card theft, identity theft, viruses, ransomware, malware, cyberstalking, and cyberbullying are common. With cybercriminals working their way around every possible avenue that can be exploited, online gaming can potentially prove to be dangerous.
Just recently, Call of Duty: Warzone reported 50 million active multiplayer users and that’s only one game. There are tens of millions of online players at a given time playing the games of their choice. Matters take a scary turn when players buy a game or make in-game purchases. This is where hackers pry on the most to get a hold of your private information.
How to Stay Safe While Online Gaming
Just because there are some dangers involved when gaming online doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your online gaming habits. You can keep yourself and your children safe while playing your favorite games online.
Don’t Click on Suspicious Links
Players have the option of sending other players messages and links. You should avoid clicking any suspicious links for your online safety. For all you know, that link might contain spyware that could download in the background and spy on your internet activities.
Don’t Disclose Your Personal Information
It’s only wise to not share your private details with people you’ve only met online. Since children are particularly impressionable and likely to become unsuspecting victims of internet crimes, parents should explain to their children not to share their account details or any credit card information that parents have entrusted their children with.
However, cybercriminals are way smarter. They carry our phishing attacks by sending out a phishing email to make it look like a genuine email from an online gaming company. Make sure to always confirm the email address of the sender to the original one sent by the company when you were initially setting up your account.
Make a habit of using two-factor authentication (2FA) for additional account security. With 2FA in place, you’ll receive a code on your mobile phone or push notification through which you can log in to your account.
Use a VPN for Online Transactions
When you’re purchasing a game or making any in-game purchases, ensure that your online connection is secured with encryption. Since online purchases involve the use of a credit/debit card or any other online payment method, transacting, in general, puts your banking details at grave risk.
Learn more about a gaming VPN.
With data breaches exposing hundreds of millions of user’s private data annually, you shouldn’t save your credit card information on gaming websites. Also, when accessing your online banking details, be sure that you’ve got encryption securing your internet connection.
PureVPN offers AES 256-bit encryption that secures your online activities against snoopers and keeps your data private.
Don’t Use Your Personal Identifiable Information
It’s essential to keep your personal and online life separate. While it may get challenging to manage both, it’s crucial for your online privacy. Your personally identifiable information (PII) can be used to identify you.
PII includes details like your real complete name, age, email address, credit card number, and anything that can be used to unlock personal information on you (mother’s maiden name, name of your first car/pet, the street you grew up on). Hackers use your PII to sell it to buyers on the dark web or anyone who wants that information for malicious purposes. They can also use your PII themselves to commit identity theft.
In short, use a pseudonym and information to play games online. Reserve your actual details for people who you trust and have known for an extended period. This may sound surreal, but it’s a step towards protecting your online privacy.