While gaming in its entirety is young compared to many other forms of entertainment, we have certainly come a long way in terms of progress. Gaming is no longer something one does with just themselves or a few friends. Gaming, as many know it, connects households and people from across the globe simultaneously. Socializing is almost as big a part of gaming as is the hardware or platform. With so many people now connected, especially through esports and online gaming, the dangers and exposure to harmful situations can grow exponentially. Hopefully, these tips can provide useful tools for better understanding how to stay safe whether playing online or looking to participate in esports.
Tips for Staying Safe When Online Gaming
First and foremost, know the risks
You don’t know what you don’t know. This is true of everyone, but that does not mean one needs to walk blindly into new situations Examining those that come before you is a great way to begin understanding the risks of a lengthy and active online presence. It may sound appealing to act a certain due to a feeling of anonymity synonymous with being represented by a username and usually a picture or avatar of your choice. Understand, above all else, this is false anonymity and there are still many ways to discover who one really is.
In early 2023, the popular e-sports platform “ArenaKing” reported a cyberattack. The hacker group, allegedly responsible, manipulated the game’s leaderboard, tarnishing the competitive integrity and causing significant reputational damage. Furthermore, users reported unauthorized in-game purchases and account takeovers. These incidents highlighted the increasing sophistication of threats in the gaming industry, emphasizing the urgency for improved online security measures. Of course, this is one extreme instance, but a great and humbling reminder that these dangers exist.
Additionally, a lot of these attacks are also targeted.
Know that you know, what do you do?
- Use strong, unique passwords – This may seem obvious, but many users still need to pay more attention to it. Using the same password across different platforms is dangerous. If one account gets compromised, all your other accounts are at risk. A strong, unique password for each gaming account is a must. Consider using a reliable password manager to help you create and manage these passwords.
- Enable Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication – Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your accounts. Even if a hacker gets your password, they would still need to bypass the second verification step. Many gaming platforms now offer 2FA, and gamers should use it fully.
- Beware and understand phishing attempts – Always be vigilant when receiving messages, especially those asking for your details or asking you to click on a link. Phishing scams are often disguised as official messages from gaming platforms. If you suspect anything, contact the gaming platform directly through their official contact channels.
- Regular Software Updates – Keeping your gaming platform and any associated software up-to-date is vital. Updates often contain patches for newly discovered vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
- Be mindful – Recently, “redirector” attacks have made headlines in gaming security discussions. This attack involves a hacker setting up a “redirector” that sends users to fraudulent websites, typically disguised as popular gaming platforms. Once there, gamers are tricked into entering their login details, which are then stolen. This is an easy trap to fall for but it is just as easy to avoid. Be mindful of where you access websites and information; many official sites warn you if you click links in their forums that you’re being directed away from official sites.
In an incident earlier this year, gamers reported unexpected redirects while playing “BattleCore”. The attackers used malicious software to redirect users to a fake login page where they harvested their credentials. This latest trend of redirector attacks indicates that gamers must be more vigilant than ever and take proactive steps to protect their accounts. So remember, always double-check the URL of the page you’re on, especially if you’ve clicked a link that appeared in an unexpected place. Remove redirector risk by being diligent about this simple step.
Importance of Antivirus
In the past, gamers often dismissed antivirus software due to its tendency to slow down gaming performance. However, with the increasing sophistication of hacking attempts, having robust antivirus software has become crucial.
Antivirus software has come a long way, and today’s offerings are far less intrusive on system resources. They protect against traditional threats like viruses and malware and are also increasingly capable of identifying and blocking newer threats like redirector attacks and ransomware.
Some antivirus software even includes a ‘gaming mode’, ensuring its protective operations don’t interfere with your game’s performance. They can safeguard your personal data, guard against unauthorized access, and scan for vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
Know your options
In response to the recent wave of attacks, gaming platforms are increasingly putting security at the forefront of their design. Many are now implementing end-to-end encryption, automatic logout features, and advanced account recovery options.
For example, PhoenixSphere provides features like biometric login options, constant monitoring for unusual account activity, and immediate notifications to users if any suspicious activity is detected.
Moreover, they’re very transparent about their security practices and ensure that their users are always kept informed about how their data is being protected. Such transparency builds trust between the platform and its users, and other platforms would do well to follow this example.
The online security landscape is always evolving, and gamers must stay informed and adapt their security practices accordingly. Subscribing to online security blogs or following cybersecurity experts on social media can help you keep up with the latest threats and solutions.
While gaming companies play a significant role in ensuring user safety, it’s ultimately up to individual gamers to ensure their personal security. By adopting robust safety measures and remaining vigilant, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to these cyber threats. Regardless of the threat landscape intimidating, remember: with the right knowledge and tools, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience.
Gaming is meant to be fun and engaging but the internet can make it a dangerous place for anyone. So be respectful, and watch out for yourself and others. Share these tips if you see someone in need of assistance. Most importantly, have fun!
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