Do you remember Pong? Or Galaga? Games such as these are now the stuff of old-school arcades. The graphics may have been a far cry from what you’ll see today, but there’s one advantage those games had: there were no cybersecurity worries when playing them. After all, they weren’t online like today’s gaming.
Online video gaming is meant to be fun. Yet, regrettably, there are risks once you connect to the internet. Your gaming account has value to cybercriminals. They might target your account to:
- use your connected real-world money account to make in-game purchases;
- steal virtual valuables which have real-world cash value;
- trade your in-game items to their accounts;
- sell your account to others;
- scam others using your legitimate account.
These are not hypotheticals. One cybersecurity firm researching gaming found that the typical gamer has experienced an average of almost five cyberattacks. Worse, they didn’t detect it.
It doesn’t help that the games themselves make it easier for hackers. Take Fortnite. There are 100 players in one wave. Their usernames display right there on the screen when Scammer72 goes for the kill shot. In other games, bad actors might access usernames by going to the game’s high-score listings. Plus, this gives them an idea of who might have the most valuable account inventory.
Level up your gaming security
There are several steps you can take to game more safely. One is going to be familiar: use strong passwords. As with any of your online accounts, set up complex passwords or use a passphrase that’s difficult to hack.
Also, don’t reuse a password you’re using elsewhere. That amplifies the risk of account breach when another account’s credentials leak.
You can also enable multi-factor authentication. Many gaming platforms allow you to set up layers of protection. For instance, you would enter not only your username and password but also a code sent to your personal device or your email. This makes it more difficult for a hacker to get in. They need access to your physical technology or more than one of your accounts at once.
Finally, be wary of malware and phishing attempts. This could be an official-looking communication apparently from the game manufacturer or support. Or you might fall prey to a scammer via in-game messaging or chat. You might think it’s a user you know, but their account may be hacked. Or you make a new “friend” online who does not have good intentions. Keep best practices for any online activity in mind. Don’t click on links without first verifying the source.
We want you to be able to escape into video gaming for fun without worry. Ask our IT experts to review your security. We can check you’re not going to become the victim of a heist because you wanted to play Grand Theft Auto. Contact us today at (515)422-1995.