Lots of online computer games pit one player against another player, or multiple players. This applies to games played on game consoles, PCs, laptops, and mobile devices including phones and tablets. Some games are also played on various platforms through social networking sites.
It’s quite normal for players to adopt pseudonyms, so the chances are that you have no idea what the real identity of your opponent is. In other words there is an element of risk involved as far as your personal security is concerned.
There is also a financial risk to be taken into consideration and this risk is now heightened by the increasing number of games that demand you purchase “in-game items” for real money.
The various types of risks you can encounter through online gaming
Any sort of gaming, and this includes games played at online casinos, contains a certain risk element. The sorts of risks you need to be aware of include:
- Being involved with large bands of potentially anonymous players in gaming, especially where those games are huge, multi-player role-play games.
- Getting involved in chats and exchanges when you might unthinkingly divulge personal information such as passwords, email addresses and your age.
- Being duped by unscrupulous individuals who pretend to offer help, but who pass on malware such as spyware, and viruses.
- Downloading or playing pirated game copies with could result in you being financially penalised.
- Being hoodwinked by cyber thieves who steal money from you by selling you fake “in-game” property.
- Throwing away old gaming consoles that still contain personal information.
- Becoming totally addicted to certain games, both role playing and gambling, and spending too much time and/or money playing them.
Genuine gaming sites, like for example sites where you can deposit and play with real money, go to great lengths to extend the best cyber security they can to keep their customers safe, but you owe it to yourself to take certain precautions too.
Self-precautions you need to take to ensure safe online gaming
The precautions that you can take as an individual are not only in respect of gaming. Some of these precautions apply to doing anything online. They include:
- Being careful when constructing usernames and passwords. Ensure they are not too obvious and give nothing away. A blend of totally randomized letters, numbers and characters are best—or even better, use a password manager like 1Password to generate random passwords.
- If you have to create a player profile for specific gaming sites or particular games, ensure that you do not divulge any personal information that could be used against you.
- Ensure that you have current anti-virus and anti-malware software, and having a strong firewall deployed is a prerequisite to any online activity.
- Only play authorized versions of games.
- Only use websites that have good cyber security certification.
- Only use websites you frequent regularly and that you trust.
- Make sure that any game software you use is up to date. Most good games and gaming sites regularly update game software each time you download it. Nonetheless, it pays to be sure.
- Keep yourself up to date with current scams and always be on the alert.
Over 700 million people are involved in online gaming, so it is no wonder that this market is attractive to cyber criminals. By being aware of the various security threats that exist and following the safety tips given above, you should be able to enjoy a secure online gaming experience time after time.