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Online gamers: How to protect yourself from cybercriminals
Published on May 17, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

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Think you're safe playing online games? Guess again. Video gamers are hacked all the time. Here's how you can protect yourself from a security breach.

Online Games and Safety: How Cybercriminals Can Strike and How to Avoid It

When you're playing a game, all you want to do is think about the game and not worry about protecting your personal information. Unfortunately in this day and technological age, you can't simply assume that when you engage in activities involving the Internet that your personal and private information is safe. For this reason, it is important that you make certain that the OS (operating system) and browser of whatever device you are using to play games is up-to-date and protected with antivirus software. Also, ensure that all your accounts, from your email and player account to your bank account, are secure.

Why are gamers targeted by cybercriminals?

You might be wondering why gamers make for ideal targets. One reason is that they can make money from other gamers by stealing in-game items or virtual game currency and selling it to other players for real money. Many games offer virtual game currency, such as popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Another reason is that gamers provide cybercriminals with an easy way to obtain free products that they don't have to pay for, such as the game itself.

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For instance, in January 2015, heise Security reported that 1,800 Minecraft accounts were compromised. Usernames and passwords were stolen and the account details had been leaked online. These details allowed anyone who had them to log in as the unsuspecting original user and download the full version of the game. How the hackers managed to obtain this information was unclear, but phishing or keylogging malware were likely culprits.

Should video game developers do more to protect players?

Cyber attacks are not uncommon in the video game world and many developers and their customers have been the target of such attacks. This has led many to feel that video game developers aren't taking online security seriously enough. This doesn't only mean companies should make every effort to keep data secure, but they should also be better equipped to deal with breaches responsibly, take faster action and be open with their consumers about the breach.

However, while many developers do know that security is important, security often takes a back seat to user experience. Why? According to a survey from PlayFab, a monetization and analytics service provider for building MMO and other games, gamers value gameplay experiences and what it costs to be a part of this experience above all else.    

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With that in mind, make sure that if you are going to be providing any private information to a company or if you will be making monetary transactions ensure that the company takes your privacy and security seriously. This goes for all companies, regardless of whether you're creating a PlayStation account or betting at an online casino.

In fact, when it comes to internet gambling destinations, you should be exceptionally careful because there are frequent exchanges of private information and money. It's imperative that you protect yourself by making sure you are playing only at reputable casinos, like Betway Casino, 888 or William Hill, and to avoid scam sites that, unfortunately, are many in this niche

Identify the five major risks to your online privacy and security

As a general rule of thumb, here are five risks to avoid: phishing, viruses and malware, identify theft, social engineering scams, and webcam hacks. While all of these can be serious issues, online gamers are frequently the victim of phishing scams.

If you're not familiar with the term, phishing is a fraudulent practice that involves sending false emails pretending to be from reputable companies for the purpose of tricking the email owner into revealing personal information such as passwords, credit card number, etc. Never click any URL in an email that seems too good to be true, seems suspicious, or is informing you that there is a problem with your account, etc., even if the email appears to be coming from a reputable sender. If you're concerned that something may be wrong with your account, login directly from the site, not through a link in your email. Another good idea is to contact the support staff of the company directly. 

Finally, remember to follow these important tips to stay safe when gaming:

•    Make sure your OS and browser are up-to-date and protected with an anti-virus
•    Protect your primary email address
•    Enable two-factor authentication
•    Protect your credit card or other payment information
•    Avoid links to fake websites
•    Change your passwords on a regular basis

 
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