A Gamer’s Guide to not Getting Hacked
Online gaming is a popular and lucrative sport in the virtual world with gaming analytics firm, New Zoo, estimating the industry is worth $138 billion globally. But with the explosive growth of online games comes a dark side.
Since the games are played on a virtual network with strangers, hackers have discovered a new goldmine. Cybercriminals can easily pose as gamers and gain access to sensitive information.
More than ever if you are a gamer, it’s essential to hacker-proof your gaming account, or it’s game over for your data or worse your money. That’s we’ve compiled a detailed guide on how to avoid getting hacked if you are a gamer.
- Get yourself a Crazy Password
Common passwords like your name, date of birth, your favorite sport or game are easy to guess because they are ubiquitous. That weird password you’ve used since fifth grade is just as easy to figure out and you need to scrap it.
Long passwords that are a combination of capital letters, small letters and symbols are a great solution. Also, you can make a passphrase using several random words like gag alga birdie dwirdie, etc. Ensure you change your passwords every 90 days or when there is a potential security breach detected.
- Download Password Manager
With so many unique and complex passwords for every site you visit, it can be hard to keep track of all your login details. The more reason you need a password manager. Password managers are browser extensions or apps that keep track of passwords for you. With a password manager, you help secure your account and also create a more secure password.
You can use 1password or LastPass for your smartphone gaming apps so that instead of typing in your login details when visiting your favorite gaming site, you only use your fingerprint.
- Enable 2-Factor Authentication
2-factor authentication is an extra layer of protection for your accounts whereby the app asks you to verify your identity further. How does it work? When you try to log in to a particular site, you’ll receive a text message or email with a specific code to enable access.
It is also a good way of knowing when someone’s trying to hack your account because you’ll get a text message code. Most gaming apps enable two-factor authentication to verify your identity.
There are several gaming apps with enabled 2-factor verification including;
- Garena Online
- Epic Games
- PlayStation Network
- Guild Wars2
You can also check out twofactorauth.org to see all the services that offer 2FA. But with SIM swapping becoming more rampant, SMS-based two factor is not reliable; instead, you can opt for authentication apps that are more secure like Duo Mobile, Google Authenticator, etc.
You can also opt for a security key such as Titan Security Key or Yubi Key to connect to a computer via USB or wireless connection. It’s virtually impossible for you to receive phishing attacks when you have a security key.
- Get yourself dedicated Antivirus Software
Unless you run Windows 10 which comes with its antivirus engine known as Defender, you need to install the best antivirus. Macs generally experience less malware than windows though you still need a quality antivirus.
Antivirus software scans and stops malware and potential threats to your OS. Ensure your antivirus software is always running. If you have to switch it off because it’s slowing down your gaming experience, choose one with efficient resource management.
- Install Ad Blocker
At times all a hacker needs to access your details is to direct you to a website filled with malware. That’s why it’s crucial to use an ad blocker which will protect you from malware and viruses embedded in ads presented by shady sites.
Most popular ad blockers to check out are Ad Block Plus and UBlock Origin. If you have gaming apps on your mobile device, use an ad blocker too.
- Identify Phishing
Even with the most robust passwords to crack and two-factor verification, you are not immune to hacking. Be wary of sites offering free currency, video game skins, etc. These sites are shady especially if you receive an email that your account has been compromised and your username and password are needed. Ensure you verify the legitimacy of the sender’s address by typing it into Google.
Be wary of sites starting with HTTP:// instead of HTTPS:// since the former is a red flag. Most hackers copy the look and feel of places you frequent most to scam you easily. Do not just automatically download any files. You might be downloading corrupt files with malware and viruses.
- Opt for a VPN
A VPN is a secure encrypted channel between your computer’s server and the website you’re visiting. It exchanges your IP address with a remote VPN’s server’s IP address to create a private and secure network.
A VPN service safeguards you from a DDoS attack and unrequested inbound traffic. If you are accessing a gaming site in a shared place like a cyber cafe with strangers, the free Wifi most probably has weak or inexistent security frameworks. A VPN secures your online activity in case you have no choice but to use a free Wifi.
With tons of VPN providers in the market, it is crucial you choose the best VPN and opt for a paid one instead of a free service. You can also consider using a VPN service with your home internet connection.
- Ensure your apps are up to date
Update your gaming software to its newest version as well as your apps. Ensure you update the connected devices, firmware, and gadgets you use to access your gaming accent. Most cyber attacks are due to flaws from outdated software such as old versions of word processing tools, web browsers or PDF readers.
When you regularly update your system and apply the security updates, you have a lower chance of becoming a victim of Trojan horses, viruses and malware.
Online gaming is not only lucrative but a favorite sport or fun time activity for most people especially kids and teens. But it also poses a threat to your security and privacy since it is also a favorite minefield for hackers.
Security is like a balloon. Any tiny security breach and the results are devastating.
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