When you’re in the zone with a game, your cyber security may be the last thing on your mind. However, this article discusses why it should be at the forefront of your priorities, as well as how you can protect yourself and your information…

Research carried out by KELA, a cybersecurity company, found that there were nearly 1 million compromised accounts associated with gaming users. So, GDPR data breaches are pretty widespread, even in the gaming industry.

Other threats you need to be aware of when gaming online include DDoS attacks, malware, phishing, cyberstalking, and cyberbullying. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t game online and can’t have fun safely.

There are many reasons why a hacker might want access to your gaming account including reading your chat history or using your login details to break into other accounts you have. Hackers may also want to use your details to phish for more information, sell your details on the dark web or access your payment details and using these and laundering money.

But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom! Although these instances do occur, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from cyber security threats when gaming online and we discuss our top nine recommendations in this article.

1.  Use Strong, Unique Passwords

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from cyber security attacks is by ensuring you have a unique and strong password.

We know, you hear this from your iPhone, your Netflix account, your PayPal account and more… but people still use passwords including ‘123’, or think a strong password includes an ‘!’ at the end. It’s time to put an end to easily guessable passwords and come up with something secure.

This means, no pet names, no birthdays and not using the same password for every account you have. Seems like a lot of work, but you’ll thank us later! How can you come up with a safe password? Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols.

If you want to go even further than this, you could make it a habit to change your passwords regularly too.

2.  Never Share Personal Information

Ideally, you won’t be using your real name as your username when gaming online. Obviously, when playing with friends, family, and those you know in real life, they’ll have access to more of your personal information. But you should never disclose any personal information to people you have never met.

When creating your username, it’s best not to use any identifying factors that could come back to you. And you should also ensure that your username does not include a combination of another password you use elsewhere.

As well as reducing GDPR data breaches, these steps can also help to reduce the risk of abuse, harassment or stalking, and even identity theft and phishing attempts.

3.  Multi-Factor Authentication

Turn on multi-factor or two-factor authentication. This will make a hacker attempting to occupy your account that much harder. Multi-factor authorization means opting into an extra step when trusted websites and applications ask you to confirm you’re really who you say you are. 

As well as it being an extra step of security, you’ll also be notified if someone is trying to get into your account if your two-factor authorization links to a phone number or additional email address for a code. This could give you a heads up and means you could change your password before it’s too late.

4.  Use Up-to-date and Secure Equipment and Software

To keep your worries to a minimum, make sure you are using up-to-date and secure software and equipment. This means updating the operating system, games, and other software installed regularly. This will keep you safe, but also ensure your devices are running smoothly. Vulnerabilities created by outdated software can make it easier for attackers to infiltrate your systems.

5.  Don’t Click on Links

A simple little link has the power to create a lot of mess! So, avoid clicking any link that someone might have sent you in a gaming chat. Phishing and other link-based scams are all too common, and you never know who’s sending a link, or where it points until it’s too late. Clicking on a link could lead to malicious software being uploaded onto your software, someone stealing your information or someone locking you out of your account completely.

6.  Buy From Trusted Online Stores

If you need to shop online when gaming, you should ensure you are purchasing from well-established, trusted and well-known organizations and this will help you to reduce the risk of falling prey to scammers. For example, if you are using an X-Box, use the X-Box store, if you are using a PlayStation, then use the official PlayStation store and so on.

If you’re using another website, do some research to understand the credibility of the site for example, look for online reviews or ask around in popular game forums for some advice before making a decision to buy.

And never share card details in a chat or with another person.

7.  Use Prepaid Cards/Vouchers

And, if you are buying things online, the safest way to do this is by using prepaid cards and vouchers. Instead of everyday credit and debit cards.

8.  Use a VPN

This might sound extreme, but it’s a really great idea. A VPN will encrypt your traffic, hide your IP address and from DDoS attacks and ISP bandwidth throttling.

9.  Edit Your Privacy Settings

With online gaming, your profile is exposed to many different people. You should be alert when receiving friend requests and only accept people who you actually know. There could be a more insincere reason for someone sending you a friend request.

Are you Practicing Safe Online Gaming Habits?

This article has discussed ways that you and your family can protect themselves from online security threats. If you noticed that you aren’t currently implementing some of these best practices, it might be worth taking the time to look into them to save you from a GDPR data breach, phishing or another nasty threat.

If you have any top tips for protecting yourself online, let us know in the comments below.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from cyber security professionals. Be sure to consult a security specialist if you’re seeking advice on, online safety. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Photos by Fredrick Tendong on Unsplash, Dan Nelson on Unsplash, Tezos on Unsplash and Louis-Philippe Poitras on Unsplash.