I would like to thank Techsharing.net for publishing this article on their site. I’ve found it to be a great resource to find out new things about gadgets and electronics, and would in particular like to recommend reading this article on gaming laptops after this, for anyone interested in gaming online on the go or just curled up on the couch.
Tens of millions of people play online games, either in the form of a MMORPG or a multiplayer shooter and everything in-between. An even greater number of people casually game online when on their phones and looking for something to do. That being said, there are risks when using the internet in an environment where other people are concerned, especially if your children are the ones playing. These are avertable risks, but you should prepare yourself for what to look out for so you don’t have to worry when you should instead be enjoying yourself.
Here are a few things you should consider when gaming online:
Use Every Account Protection Possible
When you are gaming online with an account, often for an MMORPG or as part of a DRM protection for the software, how often do you change your password? How strong is your password, for that matter? Do you have your security questions filled out? What about any other type of verification process? Do you have an account PIN number, in the few games where that is an option?
As much as those features and protections are there to help the game make sure there are less bots and spammers in the virtual world, they are there to make sure you don’t lose your account. The easiest thing you can do to protect yourself is to utilize these options to their maximum potential, and to change those settings every few months or so. You might find it a little inconvenient at first, but once you get in the habit, you won’t even notice yourself putting in the extra line of info every time you log in.
Consider Using a VPN When Outside Your Home
Hackers are out there, and regardless of whether you are gaming online, or banking, or just checking your email, they are looking to steal you information so that they can sell it to the highest bidder. This can give you a big headache and be a financial burden that you can’t deal with. You are especially at risk if you use a commonly unprotected public Wi-Fi network, where your data might roam freely ready for anyone with the right equipment to catch.
You might wonder why it is so risky if you are just gaming. Your gaming account, should you play a game that uses an account system, would be the only thing at risk, right? I’m afraid this isn’t the case, because more likely than not you have your email, some personal identification, or even your credit card info linked to that account. If they get in your account, or collect the data you send making a micro-purchase, you might be in big trouble.
You can protect yourself out there with a Virtual Private Network, which will effectively create a type of virtual tunnel between your device and an outside secure server which will connect to the internet for you and send what you request. No one will be able to get into your data over public Wi-Fi, and you’ll be that much safer for it. In addition to that, it might be helpful if you’re a travelling gamer, as a VPN will often let you get around regional restrictions.
Don’t Tell People Too Much
One of the wonderful things about online gaming is the anonymity. Two people who normally wouldn’t know each other or even necessarily get along because of their different backgrounds can get together and both enjoy a game they love together over the internet. It is a beautiful thing.
Yet that beautiful thing can be broken by revealing too much personal information haphazardly. Without sounding too paranoid, you have to ask yourself whether you can trust the people you are playing with or talking to. Some you certainly can, and there are plenty of stories of people meeting in real life and becoming lifelong friends or even getting married.
However, broadcasting personal details will allow others to get more information on you that they might you to make your life miserable or steal things from you. In every game there are the sorts of people that would do that kind of thing, and some of them are very charming and personable at first meeting. Perhaps wait a while before getting too friendly.
Whatever type of game you are playing, whether it is Candy Crush or World of Warcraft, it will be the subject of scams as long as it is popular and making money. Whether it is to get your account by getting you to divulge your password or by getting you to buy in-game currency or items with real money in an unofficial capacity, you are going to have to stay vigilant about these problems in order to make sure you are properly protected.
You should first try reading some of the materials for the game to see if there are common scams that are used to attempt to trick players. Forums are often a good resource for this quick research, and players are more than happy to vent or rant about how they got scammed so others won’t have to go through the same experience. After this, just be wary of imposters and anything that sounds too good to be true.
Don’t Play Unsafe Games
Game companies are often pretty good about making sure their customer data is secure, but occasionally there is a slip or a breach and then millions of accounts are at risk (along with your credit card information and possibly your billing address). You want to avoid this whenever possible, and companies will learn safer practices if it will cost them customers to cut corners.
As hard as it may sound, if a game doesn’t look safe to you, then don’t play it yet. A lot of games released nowadays, especially for the PC, are released in early access or in an incomplete form, and many of those never get finished. Wait for the developers to release some patches for it first to close any potential security holes, and then enjoy it worry-free when you are confident about it.
Thank you for reading, and may your online gaming experiences in the future be filled with both joy and security