Playing video games is so entertaining. They also come with surprising benefits, such as learning, health, and social advantages.
But it’s not all fun and games. The online world is not as safe as you may think. Even if you’re merely playing games, you could still fall victim to cybercrime.
Many criminals are exploiting the internet, particularly the online gaming community, because of its unyielding power. Its market is often unregulated. Plus, the demographics of this community are known to be more willing to spend their money on games.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent cybercrime as you enjoy playing games. Here are some tips on how you can ensure your safety online.
First things first, privacy is important. No matter what you do online, you must keep your data private as criminals can use it to collect data from you or even hack your account. And to do that, one of the ways you can do is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN can change your IP address and encrypts your connection. When this happens, no one will be able to see the websites you’re visiting. With this, it’s easier to hide both your real identity and location as you play online. Because of this, it’s also easier to play while you’re connected to a public network.
However, you must ensure that your VPN is trustworthy. You can check it here or you can ask for recommendations from your friends. This is because there are a lot of VPNs in the market and not all of them can be trusted.
Keep Your Personal Details
Your internet service provider tracks and profits from your browsing history and habits. And even if you feel like you have nothing to lose if someone pries into your data, you still need to protect it as you’ll never know what cyber attackers can do just for money.
Aside from using a VPN, you can also protect your personal details by just keeping them to yourself. One of the ways to do so is to refrain from talking to strangers about your personal information.
Remember not everyone you meet online is a friend, no matter how nice they are to you. You’ll never know their real motives as they talk to you behind the screen.
If you were to keep your personal details private, you can reduce the risk of harassment, stalking, or any abuse. This also helps keep identity theft and phishing attempts at bay.
Secure Your Accounts
These days, nearly all online games ask players to connect their gaming accounts to their other accounts, including social media profiles. This helps you save your progress in case you accidentally deleted your app or you switched to another device. On top of that, you’re usually given rewards that will help you throughout the game if you link your accounts.
It sure is a fun and convenient thing to do. However, it’s not always safe.
When you link two accounts together, this means you’re sharing it, as well as all your data in a bigger way. This makes it easier for hackers. If they can get to your Facebook profile, for instance, it will be a piece of cake for them to hack your other linked accounts.
But how can you enjoy the convenience of linking your accounts together in a safer way? One of the best things to do is to make a new username for every website and app. Also, make sure that you have long and strong passwords for each account.
Another thing to consider is to enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. This strengthens your security.
Don’t Encourage Trolls and Bad Behaviors
Truth be told, we’ve all experienced off-days when playing at some point. No matter how good we are at a game, there really are days when you’ll lose no matter how much you try your best.
And it’s sometimes frustrating when your fellow players keep throwing trash talk lines at you even when you’re trying to do your best. But regardless of what happens and what they say, always try to keep your cool and avoid encouraging bad behaviors.
In the real world, it’s okay to defend yourself if you’re offended or harassed, But in the online gaming world, it’s always best to just brush it off.
Remember, you don’t personally know who you’re playing with online. You don’t have any idea what they can do to you. Instead, report their behavior to the game’s support team, moderator, or developer. This way, fast and proper action on the incident can be taken.
Avoid Dodgy Links, Downloads, or MODs
Sometimes, we meet nice people online who help us do better in the game. Some give pieces of advice, recommendations, etc.
True enough, there really are nice people on the internet. But never let your guard down. Again, you don’t know the true colors of the people you meet online. You don’t know if they’re being real or just acting nice to exploit your kindness.
So if your “kind” fellow player recommends downloads, links, or MODs to you, decline it. You’ll never know if they’re merely using it to spy on you, hack your account, or whatnot. Or maybe they really are trustworthy, but they are clueless about the downloads or links that might be carrying malware or spyware that could hurt your account or device.
It’s also often tempting to download cheats so you can move forward in the game. However, it’s also risky. Even if you discovered it yourself, it’s still not a good idea to use cheats. Again, it could harm your account or device. The worst part is, you could get banned from the game, depending on the rules and regulations.
Buy From Trusted Stores
Sometimes, we’re so excited for a game to be released that we’ll do anything to buy it, especially when there’s only limited supply. There are also items or characters in some games that are hard to get your hands on.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons, for instance, has villagers and other items that are hard to find. Thus, many turn to online black market trading communities where players can trade without regulators.
However, things like this aren’t always safe. These places have less strict to no rules, which can put you at risk of scams and other cybercrimes.
There are still scams and other cybercrime in the online community. So never lower your guard. It’s not worth the risk.
Instead, be a little more patient and wait for the right time for your most-awaited game to be released from legitimate stores. It’s also best to just wait until you get your hands on the rare items in your game. This way, you’re guaranteed your account and your device’s safety.
If you’re unsure which store is legitimate, one of the first things to take a look at is its verification logo on their social media page. For smart devices, it’s safer to download games from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, depending on your device.
Consider an Antivirus
If you’re playing via PC, it’s also a good idea to use an antivirus, especially if you’re sharing it with other members of your family.
There are numerous forms of cyberattacks. And every minute, countless people fall victim to it. Statistics show that approximately $1.3 million is lost every minute because of cyberattacks.
Whether you use your device for business, entertainment, or whatnot, you could become one of these victims too. And it’s not just the dollars you’ll lose. Your account and game progress could get compromised too.
One of the reasons why this happens is due to the lack of antivirus. You see, cyberattacks have many forms. It could be hacking, phishing, malware, spyware, etc. And without an antivirus, your device is more prone to these.
Antivirus software has many features. Mostly, they can protect you from viruses. It scans your device, your data, your information, as well as your files to determine if everything is safe from cyberattacks. As it safeguards your device and files, you’re ensured that nothing is lurking in the dark that will affect your game or gaming experience.
Update Your Software
Admit it, sometimes, you feel too lazy to update your software. Many people do too. Often, we feel lazy updating it because we need to restart our devices after an update, which could affect our activities.
However, keeping all your software (and by “all,” we mean even your games) up to date is vital in protecting yourself from cybercrimes as you play online games too. This is because developers, as well as manufacturers, provide regular software updates to get rid of vulnerabilities. This keeps the attackers from creeping into your system to steal your data or cause damages.
Aside from that, it will benefit you as you play too. Developers also often include updates in the games that will give you a better gaming experience.
Because of everything that can happen online, it’s important to keep yourself safe even as you play games. These tips will guarantee a fun and safe gaming experience.