The Internet has made video gaming exceptionally convenient. It wasn’t too long ago when you needed to insert a floppy disk, CD, or DVD before you could start a game. Nowadays, you can simply download a game from a digital distribution platform like Steam, Origin, Battle.net, or Uplay and play whenever you’re online.
Likewise, finding the latest patch for a game could take weeks, if not months, as you waited for it to be circulated through video gaming publications. Compare that to the digital age, when the newest updates are automatically downloaded and installed while you sleep.
Of course, the Internet has been advantageous to gamers in other ways as well. Gamers can connect with others from just about any corner of the world to share their favourite shooting, sports, role-playing, or strategy adventures.
The Cost Is Your Privacy
Although the Internet has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we play video games, it has also created many security and privacy concerns. For example, your IP address can be used by trolls to commit pranks or cybercrimes.
If someone doesn’t agree with your opinions or is embarrassed by you in a video game, they may dox you. Doxing, of course, is an illegal and unethical practice where someone with bad intent publishes the private information of their target on the Internet.
Doxing can lead to harassment, identity theft, financial crimes, death threats, and more. Likewise, someone with your IP address can also find your location for a dangerous practice known as swatting.
One of the most infamous swatting attacks was in late 2017 after two online gamers were involved in a feud over Call of Duty. The perpetrator sent police to the victim’s house, claiming he was armed with hostages inside, resulting in tragedy.
Use the Right Security Tools
Protecting your online privacy as a video gamer requires several steps. It will help if you keep your computer updated to the latest version to plug security flaws that hackers can exploit. Whether you play games on Windows or Mac, ensure that your operating system automatically updates the latest version.
You must also protect your network by enabling the firewalls on your operating system and your router. Such network barriers will shield your network from malicious traffic. To truly take control of your privacy — subscribe to a state-of-the-art virtual private network (VPN) service from a top cybersecurity company. But please avoid free VPNs as they’re usually infected with malicious software that will breach your privacy. What’s more, many free VPNs are known to sell your bandwidth and even spy on you.
With a cutting-edge VPN service — you get fast internet speeds and play video games without latency issues. Such a network will also encrypt your data and mask your IP address to protect your connection from trolls, hackers, cybercriminals, and other people with malicious intent.
A good VPN shall also secure public WiFi networks so you can game on the go. In addition, a VPN allows you to bypass geo-blocks so you can play videogames censored by your government or access video game deals unavailable in your geographical location.
In the digital age, it’s critical to take your security and privacy seriously. The proper precautions and software can keep you safe without cramping your style.