On the surface, online gaming is a completely safe activity – but there are several security threats that lurk deep below. To help prevent these threats and keep yourself safe and secure when gaming online, use the steps discussed in this guide.
As of 2023, there are 3.24 billion gamers on the planet. That’s only a billion people away from half of the global population! People play all types of online games, from first-person shooters to online casino games. The choices are pretty much endless.
It doesn’t matter which types of online games you play; you willlikely encounter potential security risks. This is why it’s incredibly important that you know how to identify, handle, and eliminate them.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Check for Official Licensing
If you’re a PC or mobile gamer who likes to play browser games, then you should always check that the websites you’re using are officially licensed and regulated. Here’s an example: online casinos. As mentioned in the introduction,playing in an online casino in the US is an incredibly popular hobby at the moment because of the fun games on offer and the fact that people get to play with real money, which adds to the excitement.
Across the internet, though, there are over 2,000 online casinos – and not all of them are officially licensed. By scrolling to the bottom of the website, you can check for the gambling commission logo and other licensing information in order to verify whether an online casino is legit or not. If you play any online game that involves real money and transactions, always check for licenses. It only takes a minute to do this, and it will help to protect you when you’re gaming online.
Step 2: Be Careful with Loot Boxes and In-Game Purchases
From mobile to console games, loot boxes and in-game purchases have now become normalized. There’s nothing wrong with loot boxes and in-game purchases. If a player wants to buy additional content, whether it’s weapon skins or map packs, then they’re more than welcome to. However, over recent years, it’s been proven that there are dangers that come with loot boxes and in-game purchases.
For example, in the FIFA Ultimate Team mode, it can be very tempting to keep purchasing card packs using FIFA points (which cost real money). The more packs you open, the more money you spend – simple. Therefore, if you’re someone who easily gets attached to loot boxes and other similar content, be very careful if your credit card is linked to your account.
Step 3: Don’t Click on Phishing Messages
Phishing messages are a big problem in the online gaming community. A phishing message is a scam designed as a genuine message. Usually, within the content, there will be a link that you’re encouraged to open. If you open this link, it can lead to all sorts of problems, from your personal details being stolen to your account being hacked or deleted.
Phishing is common on all major gaming platforms, from mobile to PC. As a gamer, you need to keep your eyes open and always be conscious of suspicious-sounding messages or emails that you receive. On most platforms (e.g., PlayStation 5), you can change your settings so that only friends can message you. This is a great strategy for preventing phishing messages from getting through to you.
Step 4: Change Your Username if It Includes Personal Details
Some gamers make the mistake of including personal details in their usernames. This creates a potential security risk, as hackers can identify people more easily from these details. So, if your username is your real name or includes personal information, make sure to change it as soon as possible.
Step 5: Game Mods Aren’t Always Safe – Check the Reviews!
Modding is a popular activity in the PC gaming community. Mods can be downloaded from the internet and then applied to the game that they’re designed for. As an example, you might download a mod for GTA V on a PC, such as one that enables your character to fly.
Usually, mods are completely safe and harmless. However, if you download one that is untested by the community and from a shady website, then you run the risk of harming your PC through viruses and malware. Before you download any mod, make sure to check the reviews and verify that they’re genuine. Once you know that a mod file is safe, you can then go ahead and download it.
Step 6: Use Strong Passwords
Across all of your online gaming accounts, make sure to use strong passwords.
A strong password should include a variety of:
- Special symbols
Additionally, don’t choose a password that’s personal to you (e.g., the name of a loved one or pet or the city you’re from). Instead, make the password entirely random so that it’s near-impossible for any hackers to correctly guess it.
Step 7: Report Any Harassment
Fortunately, it’s very easy to report any players who are harassing or bullying you online. This might be through sending abusive in-game messages or continuously spamming you with friend requests. Whatever the specific situation is, you can report it to the game publisher or the console that you’re playing on.
For instance, on PlayStation, you have the option to file a report and block a player at the same time. This is great for ensuring your online safety while also making the community a better place to be.
Step 8: Finally, Use a VPN
The last step you can take is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Using a VPN is highly recommended when you play online games on a mobile or PC. The reason for this is that a VPN hides your IP address from potential hackers and cybercriminals.Knowing this, using a VPN is a complete no-brainer. You get maximum security and anonymity while hackers can’t see you or what you’re doing.
Many VPNs can be used for free. Others require one-time purchases or monthly subscription fees. Usually, VPNs that you have to pay for provide you with more security features.