How Gamers Can Protect Their Data
With the steady growth of the gaming industry in the online world, gamers are continuously being targeted by hackers and cybercriminals with various cyberthreats–these are forms of malicious attacks which aim to have unauthorized access, steal, and damage data, or disrupt services.
In this article, we want to raise awareness and educate gamers with several ways on how to protect their data and prevent them from falling victims to these cyberthreats.
Gaming is a way for us to de-stress: to be cast into a virtual world where we can explore and escape reality for a few hours; the last thing we would want is for gamers to be put into panic-inducing situations when the hackers do succeed in their act.
- Be vigilant in sharing personal information
Most online gaming platforms will ask for your personal information; try to avoid sharing your real name and linking your social media channels. Ask yourself, do you really need to give an online platform your real name, birthdate, and address? The answer is almost always no.
In fact, it is wise to have a separate email account for different platforms; in this way, if one of your accounts gets compromised, the rest of your accounts can still remain safe.
- Use password manager applications
Let’s not stop at only having separate email accounts, you should also avoid reusing your password. But let’s face it – it could be a challenge remembering all your username and password combinations. This is where a password manager application could be useful; you can store all your credentials into one place, and you only need to remember the master password to access all of them.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
2FA is an electronic authentication method which requires a user to provide two pieces of evidence to confirm their identity before being allowed access to an application. Typically, a user will be asked to enter their username and password, and if it succeeds, an additional code will be sent to a nominated device (either a mobile number or an email address) which the user then inputs into the application.
Always enable 2FA when it is available in the platform you are using. For example – Steam, the popular digital gaming distribution service by Valve, already employs this authentication method.
- Always keep your software updated
Decent game developers/companies are also doing their part to ensure gamers are protected from various cyber threats through having regular updates and patches to their software. As the end-user, it is in your best interest to install these updates as soon as they are available to keep yourself protected from identified issues that can compromise your data.
- Install Antivirus and Anti-Malware software
Hackers target gamers by sending malwares through different channels; they can trick gamers into installing malware masquerading as a game crack, or a game application. You can be protected from most of these malwares by installing Antivirus/Anti-Malware on your system.
Make sure as well to keep this software updated, as providers constantly update virus and malware definitions and ways to mitigate them.
- Encrypt your data traffic with the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN connection provides a secure connection between you and the internet; this means that all your data traffic is secured by hiding your actual IP address and by routing your data through an encrypted virtual tunnel.
This can protect gamers from common cyber threats such as DoS/DDoS attacks which, simply put, will prevent platforms from functioning properly.
- Use a dedicated/static Internet Protocol (IP) address
A dedicated or static IP address, as the name implies, is a permanent and unchanging number that is assigned to a single device which makes it easier to find the device in a network. It is assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) at an additional fee.
There are many benefits to having a dedicated IP address; in the context of data protection and privacy, it gives an additional layer of security by encrypting your data making it inaccessible to external parties without your knowledge.
We cannot emphasize enough how our data privacy and security has become paramount due to the cyberthreats that continue to plague the online world. While game developers and companies continue to find ways to help secure data in their platforms, gamers must acknowledge the importance of their data privacy and do their due diligence in protecting it — the recommendations we provided in this article will be helpful as a starting point.