Call of Duty. Fortnite. Apex Legends. Minecraft. You name it. These games are acclaimed to have a cult-like following. And with the rapid transformation of the digital era, they are now providing a more rewarding experience for gamers.
However, even though the popularity of these games remains debatable, one fact remains unassailable — the gaming industry has experienced a more significant user penetration. For context, Statista has reported that user penetration is expected to hit 15% by 2023 and 20.8% by 2027.
Unfortunately, the industry’s expansion has accommodated criminals just like every other sector. Therefore, as a gamer, you should take holistic steps to protect your information.
But what are those steps? Find out below!
Dangers of Online Gaming
Nowadays, the online gaming industry witnesses a fierce battle between criminals and online gamers –and we are not talking about Hardpoints and Battle Royale! There are many dangers associated with online gaming. Learn about the most prominent four in the following:
- Malware and Viruses: “Cheap things are not good, and good things are not cheap.” This saying rings true in the online gaming community, where gamers risk downloading viruses and malware via cheaper or free versions of popular games. If you are also adept at accessing cheat codes or game items through third-party services, you are at risk of downloading malware into your devices.
- Identity Theft: Identity theft is quite common in the gaming industry today. Criminals are often known to gather sensitive information about their potential victims through chat functions. Subsequently, they build a profile based on the gamer’s description, placing them at risk of being targeted for malicious intent.
- Doxing: Competition is healthy. However, where this leads to forceful access and publishing of your sensitive information with the intent to punish or intimidate is known as ‘Doxing.’ Many criminals engage in this nefarious act in an often twisted sense of exacting ‘justice.’ For some, the green Benjamins come with it, while for others, it may be plain old jealousy.
- Phishing: Phishing links or emails are one of the widely known ways of hijacking personal information, yet, ironically, it is still effective within the criminal underworld. They are distributed to lure people into installing game malware onto their devices. These links or emails appear legitimate, but these links have malicious intent.
Tips to Enhance Online Safety
Maximizing your safety as an online gamer is the ultimate objective in the modern gaming industry. Therefore, there are certain tips that you can adhere to to ensure your safety. Here are the six of them:
- Use Strong Passwords: As a gamer, your first line of defense against cybercriminals is a strong password. Strong passwords include a varied mix of upper-and-lower case letters spruced with numbers and symbols. However, you must note that your passwords should not include personal information, such as birth date or number-combinations, such as ‘1234.’ That would be obvious, wouldn’t it?
- Multi-factor Authentication: You don’t care about enabling that two-factor authentication? Two-factor authentication provides additional layers of security that ensure that only you can verify specific requests made by your gaming profile — or any other online profile, for that matter. You can do this verification via your phone number or email address.
- Protect your personal information: Get creative when creating an online profile. Create unique usernames that portray no sensitive information. If you are a gamer that loves an interactive session with your fellow gamers, ensure that you do not share sensitive information while using your headset.
- Download games from legitimate sources: Avoid unverified sources like the plague — well, because, in a sense, they are! You should keep all third-party add-ons, pirate sources, and unverified links away from your devices.
- Keep your software up to date: Asides keeping up with the latest trends, ensure that you are always up to date with the latest versions of your favorite games. These latest versions also come with improved security to maximize your gaming experience.
- Be vigilant against phishing emails: The golden rule is not to open suspicious links or emails. Thus, not entertaining any suspicious links is a no-brainer!
The online gaming community is fraught with criminals, and while they may not look like Doctor Doom in reality, these people still wreak havoc on unsuspecting gamers. Therefore, the onus lies on you to protect yourself from these criminals.