Data suggests that there are 2.7 billion gamers worldwide. Most of them play video games to have fun, socialize, and enjoy escapism by fragging enemies, chatting with friends across the globe, and getting lost in fantasy worlds. Unfortunately, there are many cyber threats that can disrupt the gaming experience.
Take the following precautions to shield yourself from the most common threats that target gamers:
- Always keep your accounts secure with long, complex passwords and multi-factor authentication to make life harder for hackers.
- Never game on unsecured public WiFi networks, or your connection will be vulnerable to hackers. If you must game on public WiFi, subscribe to a reputable Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that offers fast servers and uses the latest encryption technology.
- Ignore all temptations to engage with cyberbullies in order to avoid becoming a target of trolling, hacking, and doxing.
While common threats are easier to defend against, sneakier threats require extra precautions. Here are some of the more dangerous sneaky threats you should know about:
Video Game Malware: Malware is any malicious software such as viruses, worms, adware, spyware, stalkerware, keyloggers, etc. The wrong malware can damage your machine and clean out your financial accounts.
You should only purchase video games from authentic sources and avoid buying games from CD key stores that may sell you pirated or stolen copies. Publishers often lock games sold through unauthorized platforms. In addition, games downloaded from unconventional sources may come loaded with malware.
Moreover, some games have malware built into them. To protect yourself, download advanced antivirus software that’s light and remediates all malware threats. PC gamers should give Malwarebytes for Windows a shot because the software is known to crush malware without slowing down your machine.
You may also want to check out the mobile version of this software for Android or iOS in order to protect yourself from malware infused third-party apps and games on mobile platforms. Remember, even Google Play and the official Apple Store aren’t invulnerable to malware.
Phishing Expeditions: Phishing expeditions are one of the sneakiest threats on the Internet. To protect yourself from a phishing attack, be very cautious when reading emails, social media messages, and messages from online friends in games and chatrooms that ask for your sensitive information or offer links. While phishing may seem like a legitimate form of communication, it’s an attempt to steal your information. Before you know it, a hacker has locked you out of your gaming account or billed your credit card for thousands of dollars in in-app purchases.
Sneaky Pricing: While it’s tempting to try free games when gaming on a budget, freeware is rarely free. Usually, free games carry malware designed to send your data to third parties. Many free games also feature nearly impossible challenges that require expensive in-app purchases to overcome. Before you know it, you’ve spent five times the value of a game on microtransactions.
To stay safe from all types of cyberthreats, be sensible, and adopt all precautions. Use the latest cybersecurity tools in order to game smart and game safe.